Soho, 2002, 12.00, 190 pp.
In the Australian Outback, once the fire was put out the mystery began as the body of a drifter is found amidst the ashes. The victim did not die from the fire, but instead appears to have been murdered. The last person known to speak to this “swagger” is Nurse Linda Condrick, who recently arrived to care for the Leumeah Valley Sheep Station's aging matriarch, Ella Forst. Those residing at the station including the extended Forst family believe Linda killed the victim.
Ella's grandson Gregory chooses Linda to be his wife. However, not long after his announcement, Ella dies with her grandson inheriting everything; other family members are penniless though this obsequious lot lived off the charity of the deceased. Already under suspicion for killing the stranger, the Forst family feels that Linda also murdered Ella. That is everyone except an apparent besotted Gregory and orphaned teenager Rowena Searle. Inspector Quince investigates using Rowena to help him learn the truth about Linda including whether she is the culprit in either or both deaths?
WHO ARE YOU, LINDA CONDRICK was first published over forty years ago; yet in spite of technological advances especially in identification and forensics, the murder mystery remains fresh as the audience reads from start to finish in one sitting to obtain the answer to that title question. The story line effortlessly moves the reader back and forth between no reasonable doubts that Linda is a killer to total belief in her innocence. The entire ensemble come across as real and in turn enables the audience to understand life on an Outback Sheep Station while enhancing the terrific who-done-it.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner