[Reading] ➷ The Unmourned (Monsarrat #2) By Meg Keneally – Uroturk.info
Monsarrat is a special when we first meet him He s a convict who, because of a much required talent, is bestowed upon with special privileges denied his cohorts in chains Monsarrat possesses a thorough knowledge of legal matters, due to his UK background has a way with words and a fine copperplate hand in the days when that counted for something In Port Macquarie he has aspirations, but before he gets ahead of himself there are those who make sure he never forgets his all too lowly station in life even if, perhaps, they would be lost in that life without him But, all in all, his existence there isn t too bad There s Mrs Mulrooney, the camp commandant s cook, who s a good mate as well as there being, somewhere up ahead, the possibility of a ticket of leave, but only if he can continue to keep his nose clean The Soldier s Curse is supposedly the first of twelve planned novels revolving on Monsarrat s adventures sleuthing around in early Oz It s set in the first half of the Nineteenth Century And the combination of esteemed writer Tom Keneally and his daughter Meg are, with this initial one, off to a ripper start.Now I ve never been a huge fan of the senior writer I ve read a few of his output over the decades, but a new release from him is never a must have But I had perused some good notices for The Soldier s Curse and with the early years of our founding always fascinating, I decided, when the cheaper paperback version appeared, to give it a burl I knew, once I started, that I was onto something a little different for me, but it was also something that was going to keep me thoroughly engrossed for the duration I was soon out buying The Unmourned , not the least interested in waiting for a cheaper edition further down the track I am now eagerly awaiting the third in the series But back to the first.There were very few women amongst the 1500 free and not so free souls at the Port Macquarie settlement during Monsarrat s time, but of course the most prominent was the wife of the man in charge, our hero s ultimate boss But the seemingly virtuous and beauteous young woman is ailing and there s to her mysterious illness than meets the eye Of course the good seemingly and privileged felon and Mrs M are soon on the case, especially after her demise Perhaps, they discover, she wasn t so lily white after all, but why do her in There are soon a number of suspects with, of course, eventually our dynamic duo sniffing out the real culprit As a whodunnit, it s about as far away from airport fare as one could get The two investigators are also far from daringly heroic and the pace is leisurely, making it all the to savour The suspects take some sifting through Best of all though, this tome and its follow up bring to life what life must have been akin to in early colonial times for all levels of society We have vicious floggings and violent stabbings in eye sockets as well as sadistic officers These are countered by a fair share of do gooders The system, at its lower level, still provided a modicum of hope that there was a chance to better oneself in a way that wasn t possible back home in England There is of the same in The Unmourned with, as a reward for his efforts up on the northern coast, Monsarrat, along with his sidekick, returning to Sydney Now the focus switches to the plight of female convicts Just who was responsible for the aforementioned skewering of notoriously evil overseer Robert Church at the Paramatta Female Factory It all points to Grace O Leary, a sparky rabble rouser who, with her guile, has emerged as a leader of sorts amongst those in an olden days Orange is the New Black situation The authorities want her to swing as soon as possible, but they don t count on a feisty, dogged pair having other ideas.The Keneallys, in their interviews, have suggested their lead character is based on one James Tucker who, like Monsarrat, was a cut above the average transportee After successfully applying for his ticket he wrote Ralph Rashleigh in the 1840s, giving a fictionalised account of convict ordeals.I m excited that the makers of The Doctor Blake Mysteries are keen to work their magic on the product of the father daughter act for the small screen I am also excited that, at the end of The Unmourned , Monsarrat is informed that he is again being moved on Where to, you might ask Why to our very own once upon a time not so fair island. The Unmourned builds on the relationship between Hugh Montsarrat and Hannah Mulroney that formed the cornerstone of the first in The Monsarrat series The situation that leads to Montsarrat investigating the murder of Robert Church and the related mistreatment of female prisoners in the Paramatta Female factory is very interesting and builds on an appreciation of the hardships that beset prisoners and ticket of leave men and women in colonial NSW The characters of Grace O Leary and Rebecca Nelson are new to this account and both are credibly developed while the writing itself moves swiftly from situation to situation.Though the final decision to send Montsarrat and his housekeeper to Van Diemen s Land to investigate another murder seems somewhat contrived and perhaps unlikely , I look forward to the next instalment in the series as I have become invested in the characters of Hugh and Hannah. For Robert Church, Superintendent Of The Parramatta Female Factory, The Most Enjoyable Part Of His Job Is Access To Young Convict WomenInmate Grace O Leary Has Made It Her Mission To Protect The Women From His Nocturnal Visits And When Church Is Murdered With An Awl Thrust Through His Right Eye, She Becomes The Chief SuspectRecently Arrived From Port Macquarie, Ticket Of Leave Gentleman Convict Hugh Monsarrat Now Lives In Parramatta With His Ever Loyal Housekeeper Mrs Mulrooney Monsarrat, As An Unofficial Advisor On Criminal And Legal Matters To The Governor S Secretary, Is Charged With Uncovering The Truth Of Church S Murder Mrs Mulrooney Accompanies Him To The Female Factory, Where He Is Taking Depositions From Prisoners, Including Grace, And There The Housekeeper Strikes Up Friendships With Certain Women, Which Prove Most Intriguing Monsarrat And Mrs Mulrooney Both Believe That Grace Is Innocent, But In This They Are Alone, So To Exonerate Her They Must Find The Murderer Many Hated Church And Are Relieved By His Death, But Who Would Go As Far As Killing Him The second novel in the Monsarrat series, THE UNMOURNED is set in Sydney, based around the Parramatta Female Factory the epitome of appalling institutions in a line up that you d think would be hard to lead.The investigator in this series is ticket of leave recipient, gentleman convict, Hugh Monsarrat who has come from Port Macquarie to Parramatta in Sydney with his every loyal housekeeper Mrs Mulrooney Having, as yet, not had the pleasure of reading the first book in the series THE SOLDIER S CURSE or now the third, THE POWER GAME, this is something that I really need to rectify I realise that s starting to become my never ending mantra , but this combination of history with a touch of mystery, great characters, good settings, and interesting storylines is worth pursuing.On the slightly mannered side of historical tellings, this second novel plays very fair with new readers, giving you than enough background on Monsarrat and Mulrooney to be able to sort out the relationship, and a fair bit of their pasts without having to work too hard, whilst keeping the focus on the current storyline The Parramatta Female Factory is one of those areas of Australian history that this reader knew a bit about, but obviously nowhere near enough, and the historical details behind the factory, it s purpose, and the way it was used and abused were informative It s told in great style with verve and a real sense of being able to be part of it instead of reading a somewhat dull, accurate and passionless historical account The murder of the superintendent Robert Church, is intriguing, but in many ways it s the history in this novel that matters a tad than the mystery When delivered as well as THE UNMOURNED does it, it s of no matter that the mystery is somewhat easy to resolve pretty early on There s still plenty of intrigue in the lives of Monsarrat, Mulrooney and everybody associated with the Parramatta Female Factory to keep the interest of readers, to say nothing of how excellent it is to have novels that finally cast some light into one of the very dark corners of early white society institutions.https www.austcrimefiction.org revi Yawn Boring. I love this series once again so easy to fall into the mystery and try and solve it recommend both of these books Meg and Tom Keneally have got a good thing going and I look forward to Mister Monsarrrat and Mrs Mulrooney solving a third and already suggested at the end of the book as he is sent to Van Dieman s Land mystery It is also educational For example 5 6 back in Sydney s penal settlement was a tall woman It describes the Parramatta Female Factory and the conditions in which the women were kept so well without being didactic at all Keep it up, Keneallys. The Unmourned is the second in the Monsarrat series I guess it is not essential to read the series in order However, if you don t you will miss many of the referrals to past characters and situations.I will not retell the plot as this has been above Monsarrat, with his ticket of leave housekeeper Mrs Mulrooney have moved to Sydney from Port Macquarie and have a new murder to investigate.The story is enjoyable enough and the writing is both engaging and descriptive But what I love most about this book is the authenticity of the setting and the characters The Keneallys have undoubtedly done their research.The book is not a deep and difficult intellectually challenging story but rather a character setting driven murder mystery, with only a little mystery I am sure you will have identified the villain early on The story takes you on a journey of discovery of the early history of New South Wales and societal relationships that existed at that time The colony was a very class and status ridden society I am not sure if many know that Government House in Parramatta was in use by the governors till 1855.The story is centred around the Parramatta Female Factory A history that could be lost if we don t fight for it I found the situation where women were brought out and displayed like cattle for a male settler to choose a wife fascinating The relationship between Monsarrat and his housekeeper is some what perplexing It seems to be a twenty first century friendship in an eighteenth century story There are a number of interesting characters, some such as the Pieman, being based on real people.Without giving too much away I can divulge the information that at the end of the story Monsarrat and the indefatigable Mrs Mulrooney.Once again the Keneallys have produced a fine Australian story that should be read and enjoyed by those professing a love of Australia, its stories and history. Another entertaining romp with Monsarrat and his housekeeper, through colonial Parramatta this time This is shaping up to be a treasure of a series.With his monetary gift from Major Shelborne, Monsarrat has purchased a small house in Parramatta and installed his friend, Mrs Mulrooney, as housekeeper He s working as a clerk again this time to the secretary for the Governor And after his absence in Port Macquarie, he s reacquainting himself with local landlady, Sophia Stark, with a view to marriage But when the Superintendent of the local Female Factory is murdered, Monsarrat and Mulrooney are sent in to investigate.This time it seemed a bit obvious whodunnit, but I still thoroughly enjoyed unravelling the mystery anyway We get to learn a lot of Hannah Mulrooney s backstory, and watch the partnership develop Looking forward to 3 in Van Diemen s Land.Highly recommended. I really enjoyed this book, my first one for 2018 It is a second in a series The Monsarrat sereis and as such we come to it with pre described main characters, but a new location.The fist in the series took place in Port Maquarie, with our leading man a convict and his best friend Mrs Mulrooney, a housekeeper for the commander s wife In this second book Monsarrat has been grated his ticket of leave, but is not exactly free He is residing in Parramatta where he is clerk to an official, Mrs Mulrooney is his housekeeper.This change of location allows the authors scope to describe and explore another site and history from Australia s past as a convict colony It is beautifully done The majority of the action takes place around the Female Factory, where a murder has occurred and the descriptions of this historical institution are fascinating, at times horrifying and completely mesmeriing They also give off the strong suggestion of exceptionally well done, extensive reasearch with the Author s note at the back itemising the sources and any deviation, however small that might have employed for the betterment of the story.And the story is delightfully fun to read, with a chilling gruesome murder that must be solved, main characters one likes and the inhabitants of the Factory to pity While the above paragraph might make it sound like a dry book it is not the characters and the plot swing along merrily and the side characters are as entertaining and believable as the main ones The events are fascinating in a way that makes the book very hard to put down.The only criticism that may be leveled against it would be that the murder mystery is a bit transparent to the reader And if I say that it is practically transparent, I can never guess endings, mostly because I don t try to, it is the process I enjoy, or as Robert Louis Stevenson said To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive It works equally well for books and travel However, for people who love the mystery to be unsolvable, the murder investigation may be unsatifing Personally I loved the slow building of characters, settings, events and crimes that built up to a solid and to me very satisfying conclusion.