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Nancy Business by R.W.R McDonald

Title: Nancy Business

Author: R.W.R McDonald

Genre: Crime, Mystery

Publisher: Allen and Unwin

Published: 1st June 2022

Format: Paperback

Pages: 368

Price: $29.99

Synopsis: Tippy, Uncle Pike and Devon are back for another camp cosy crime mystery from the award-winning author of The Nancys.

The gripping, heart-warming and hilarious sequel to R.W.R. McDonald’s smash hit The Nancys, winner of the 2020 Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel.

It’s been four months since Tippy, Uncle Pike and Devon were together for Christmas. Now back for the first anniversary of Tippy’s father’s death, the Nancys are reformed when Riverstone is rocked by an early morning explosion that kills three people and destroys the town hall.

A new case is born. Is the accused bomber really guilty? Is there a second bomber? And if so, does that mean a threat to destroy Riverstone Bridge is real? And is asparagus a colour? Once again, it is up to the Nancys to go against the flow and ignore police orders to get to the truth.

It’s great to be back in Nancy business again, but this time it’s all different. Uncle Pike and Devon can’t agree on anything and Tippy is learning hard truths about the world and the people she loves the most. Can the Nancys stay together to do their best work and save the town? Or will the killer strike again? When everyone is right, does that make you wrong? And can Tippy ever trust anyone again?

~*~

Tippy and her family are marking one year since her father died – but their peace is destroyed when the town of Riverstone is rocked by an explosion at the town hall. Three people die and others are injured, and Tippy’s life is thrown into turmoil. She convinces Uncle Pike and his partner Devon to investigate it. She’s convinced she knows who bombed the town hall and killed three people, yet she can’t keep Uncle Pike and Devon on task – they can’t agree on anything. And Tippy starts to find out more about her family and her father’s death – can she trust anyone again, and can the Nancy’s reunite and solve the case? Or will everything and everyone Tippy loves fall to pieces?

The second in the Nancy’s series starts with a bang and from there, we’re given a rollicking adventure, with equal parts darkness, humour, and fabulously diverse characters that dance off the pages and bring the world of Riverstone to life. They’re diverse in so many ways – race, gender, sexuality just to name a few – and it makes the story relatable for many readers as they can see themselves in the book in some way. As the mystery goes on, Tippy has to try and help her uncle and Devon reconnect, whilst trying to find out who would want to blow up the town hall and why. But as Tippy investigates, lots of red herrings come up and she makes some mistakes – but the beauty about Tippy is that she owns up to them and does what she can to apologise and make sure things are okay.

Uncle Pike and Devon are fantastic characters – they bring a beautiful joy to the series, and I love their creativity and ability to make a day unique from clothes to make-up to hair styles and everything in between, and they’re great support for Tippy – even if her mother sees the way they approach things as a little unconventionally at times. This gives the series an awesome sense of self and character as they give LGBTQIA+ people representation – and a presence on the page, showing one way of being gay, and reinforcing that there are many ways to be yourself. They are constantly telling Tippy to be herself, and I loved that, because they love Tippy just as she is, and in turn, they realise that is what is the most important thing for everyone.

The crime formed the background to the story, yet led to a lot of personal conflict for some characters, and revelations that made Tippy question who she could trust – which looks as though it will lead into a third book, and that will be a fun mystery to solve. I thoroughly enjoyed this offering from Rob, as it allowed the characters to shine and was gritty and didn’t shy away from the realities of death, conflict, and relationship breakdown, and puberty throughout the book. I loved the way all the characters interacted, and the world of Riverstone is not a quiet one at all – it is one where all kinds of things happen and it’s always going to be up to the Nancy’s to find out what is happening.

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