Winner of Australia’s Ned Kelly Award for Best First Novel
“Beguiling . . . wonderful.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A hymn to the wit, courage, stark beauty and the power of dreaming of a unique people. One cannot help but be enriched by it.”—Anne Perry
“Hyland excels at drawing the reader into a strange, rough world. This debut novel is filled with both poetic descriptions and a great deal of wit.”—Booklist
“Perfect for mystery fans who are craving new horizons. . . . An intriguing tale.”—Library Journal
“Beautifully written.”—Publishers Weekly
“[A] colorful setting and an in-your-face heroine fetching enough to warrant a series.”—Kirkus Reviews
Emily Tempest has been away from Australia for a long time, but now she’s returned to the Moonlight Downs “mob,” the community where she grew up, half in the Aboriginal world, half in the white. She is looking forward to a reunion with her childhood friend, Hazel, and to catching up with the rest of the group.
Within hours of her arrival, an old friend, Lincoln Flinders, the tribe’s elderly leader, is murdered and mutilated. The police suspect Blakie Japanangka, a renegade aborigine sorcerer, but Emily believes that the old man was slain for worldly reasons, and she starts asking questions.
Adrian Hyland spent many years in the Northern Territory, Australia, living and working among indigenous people. He now teaches at LaTrobe University. Moonlight Downs, published as Diamond Dove in Australia, is his first novel.
About Moonlight Downs
“Packs a real wallop. . . . An epic and ambitious mystery set against the vast backdrop of Central Australia, where indigenous and white people live side by side in an uneasy truce.”—Vogue (Australia)
“Incorporates geophysical data, race politics and aboriginal spirituality into a seamless, often hilarious stream of narrative. [It] has all the hallmarks of a first of a very successful series with the potential to forge a new sub-genre of detective fiction—that of a feisty, female indigenous sleuth whose intelligence and tenacity prove superior to force and ignorance.”—The Sydney Morning Herald
“Witty, knowing, at times downright hilarious. The plot is absorbing and Hyland’s characters are originals. . . . As Emily Tempest untangles the knot of a murder, she also comes to rediscover her past, her belonging and her self.”—Brisbane Courier Mail
Emily Tempest, a feisty part-aboriginal woman, left home to get an education and has since traveled abroad. She returns to visit the Moonlight Downs “mob,” still uncertain if she belongs in the aboriginal world or that of the whitefellers. Within hours of her arrival, an old friend is murdered and mutilated. The police suspect a rogue aborigine, but Emily starts asking questions. Emily Tempest, a modern half-aboriginal sleuth, is a welcome successor to Arthur Upfield’s classic detective.
Adrian Hyland worked with aboriginal communities in Central Australia for ten years. He now teaches at LaTrobe University in Melbourne. This is his first novel.