The Toe Tag Quintet by Matthew Condon

Posted February 2, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Crime, Short Stories / 0 Comments

The Toe Tag Quintet by Matthew CondonTitle: The Toe Tag Quintet (Goodreads)
Author: Matthew Condon
Published: Random House, Vintage, 2012
Pages: 341
Genres: Crime, Short Stories
My Copy: ARC from Netgalley

Buy: Book Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Retirement can be murder! Former Sydney detective recognises someone from his workdays in his retirement home in the Gold Coast. In his hey days, this unnamed detective had to deal with some of the most murderous criminals in Australian history. But in retirement things are so much more deadly in this collection of five novellas originally published in The Courier Mail.

This is a real joy to read but there is something that just doesn’t sit right with me. There is nothing wrong with Matthew Condon’s writing; I think he is great.  I’ve just come to the burning realisation that I’m not a fan of cosy crime. I don’t know why but I can’t seem to find what is cosy about crime.

The characters within this book are great; this old school detective is witty, strong and could have had the making of a hard-boiled character if this wasn’t a cosy crime novel. He was smart and a skilled detective but this was too cosy, I mean who says “Up yours” nowadays and then there is the censored language, it just seems weird.

There are some great elements in these novellas, the humour, the wit and the well-crafted plots. But for me I never could get past the cosiness of these crime stories. They didn’t feel realistic enough and as much as I tried I couldn’t get past this fact. I’m interested to read some more Matthew Condon, he’s skilled writer and maybe he will do better at true crime or non-fiction or the contemporary novels he wrote in the past.

0 responses to “The Toe Tag Quintet by Matthew Condon

  1. Marie

    I enjoy some cosy crime but I think it works best where the protagonist is an amateur sleuth, some member of the general public who has stumbled across a mystery almost by accident. I imagine with this it’s hard to make the cosiness fit this retired cop who has obviously encountered crimes many times before and you’d expect him to naturally take a harder line.


  2. Shelleyrae

    I enjoyed this, but then I like cozy crime. To be fair to Condon, this novella’s in this collection was originally published in a Brisbane newspaper as a Summer reading special, so they are probably a bit tamer to suit the broad audience.

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