As with many of the best murder mysteries, Jane Harper has interwoven sub plots and relationships to create a realistic story in The Lost Man. We are introduced to the Australian desert in outback Queensland. The descriptions of the arid, scorched land with the unrelenting sun have been powerfully told. Some people may have difficulty in comprehending the vastness and dangerous nature of the area, but the author presents this truly.
Two brothers meet up at a local monument called the Stockman’s Headstone. It is in the middle of their lands and surrounded by desert. The younger brother Bub has come across his older brother, Cameron, who lies dead at the base of the headstone. The middle brother, Nathan has also arrived, and the police and doctor are on their way. How did Cameron get here? Where is his car? How could such an experienced cattleman who had lived here all his life die of exposure?
With the gradual unravelling of the story, we learn about Nathan and his past. All the family live in the area; Nathan’s father divided the land in his will. The original homestead houses his mother Liz, Cameron’s wife and two girls, Uncle Harry and two backpackers who teach the children. Bub is also living there.
Realistically there can be no one else involved in Cameron’s death. The mystery though, is whether Cameron deliberately left his car or was lured to the headstone and left. We learn about each of the characters but no one in the family has an obvious motive.
The Lost Man is a genuinely puzzling story which murder mystery fans will relish. Good luck if you think you can solve this one.
|Publisher||Pan Macmillan Australia|