BOOK CLUB: Plantation Murders

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Plantation Murders by Karen Thurecht is the second book in the Dr Hamish Hart mystery series. It is
a historical, crime, murder mystery set in Queensland in 1885.

This book is as good as the first! With twists and turns that keep you engrossed and guessing to the
very end.

The boat “Helena” was sailing through the Pacific Islands with government agents luring Islanders
aboard for labour in the sugar fields.

What the Islanders didn’t understand was they would be contracted for 3 years and the work would
be hard.

plantation murders

Kaelo understood what was expected of him, as his father had been taken to Queensland before.
Kaelo made a promise to find his dying father’s second wife, as well as his stepbrother.

On arrival he is recruited to William Daniels, wealthy owner of Cloverton Sugar Plantation, 20 miles
south of Brisbane.

Unfortunately, Kaelo is involved in a bar fight. Jacko McDonald, the plantation manager is dead.
Kaelo’s one punch to Jacko’s stomach really wasn’t hard enough to kill him, but Kaelo is arrested.
An autopsy is required and Dr Hamish Hart is called.

Hamish had set up a general practice, hoping for a quieter life than he had endured during his visit to
Stradbroke Island (Book 1). It seems that this will not be the case.

The autopsy shows complications and evidence of poisoning. Hamish is convinced the blow to the
stomach did not kill Jacko. The problem is, how to prove it?

Rita Cartwright is keen to help him investigate this murder. Time is against them, as the public are calling for Kaelo to be hanged.

While visiting the Cloverton Plantation another suspicious murder occurs. It is a race against time to
unravel the Daniels’s family secrets and find the murderer before they strike again.
Hamish and Rita make a fantastic team.

Karen Thurecht acknowledges in the front of the book “the many Queensland citizens of South Sea Island descent who have contributed to building the strong diverse economy of our home.”

Her research into the history of the time is impressive. The author’s note at the end of the book is
something everyone should read. This story takes us on a fascinating journey of Australian historical
events that little is known about.

Totally recommend this book! I can’t wait for the next!

ISBN: 9781922594693
Copy courtesy of Shawline Publishing Group

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Plantation Murders by Karen Thurecht. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

15 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Plantation Murders

  1. I also enjoyed Plantation Murders by Karen Karen Thurecht. This is the second episode of Dr Hamish Hart murder series. It was as good as the first book. Hamish and Rita are a great team and manage to solve another mystery.
    I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

  2. Plantation Murders by Karen Thurecht, (Shawline Publishing) is another well researched, historical mystery by the author of Murder at The Dunwich Asylum.

    Once again set in Queensland, and particularly around the Brisbane to Logan areas, the story of Plantation Murders centers around an Islander called Kaelo. Newly arrived in Queensland, Kaelo gets caught up in a bar fight resulting in the sudden death of a plantation manager. Kaelo is imprisoned for his murder.

    Dr Hamish Hart (and his friend and colleague Dr Rita) is called upon to conduct an autopsy and becomes caught up in uncovering the circumstances surrounding the plantation manager’s death.

    What happens to Kaelo, highlights the plight of the Islanders who were brought to Australia to provide cheap labour for the sugar industry. The Islanders were a particularly vulnerable group as there were no laws to protect them, and they were basically tricked into a life of slavery on the plantations. They were forcibly abducted, lied to and exploited.

    A well researched and interesting read by an author with a talent for bringing history to life.

  3. Dr Hamish to the rescue again! The second book in the Dr Hamish Heart Mysteries series, The Plantation Murders, by Karen Thurecht did not disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed witnessing Dr Hamish and his trusty sidekick, Rita, use their heads, not all the new technology we have these days, to solve the crime. Thank you Beauty and Lace for letting me review this book >:o)

    1. Hi Simone, it makes me pause all the time when I’m writing, reflecting on how little detectives in that time had to go on for evidence! Thanks for taking the time to review the book.

  4. Plantation Murders is the second book featuring Dr Hamish Hart and Rita Cartwright, Set in Queensland the readers are once again trying to solve the murders along side Hamish and Rita, This series of books is brilliant looking forward to the next book by this author

  5. This historical mystery is a fantastic read.
    Written by Karen Thurecht, Plantation Murders is the second book focusing on Dr Hamish Hart and his offsider, Rita who are thoroughly delightful characters.

    There’s lot to like about this book – set in a familiar location for me but an unfamiliar time in history – you really get a glimpse into times gone by.

    Like any good murder it keeps you guessing throughout. I really like the style of writing and would recommend to anyone who enjoys historical or mystery stories.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this great novel.

  6. I honestly selected this book not realising that it was the sequel to the last book I read, so it was an amazing surprise when I saw the names of the same characters and it being set in Brisbane. The death of a man by a single punch to the abdomen is the mystery Hamish and Rita are set to unravel. At page 35 it seemed like a replica of the first book … fortunately, the incredible imagery and endearing characters introduced early on encouraged me to continue reading. The cause of a death on the main setting, a sugar cane farm, is the mystery to be unravelled. A scene of a fire at the mill after a storm had limited depth of characters and an over abundance of action. Despite my feelings of repetitiveness of the first novel by the same author, I was endeared by the local setting and references. Moreover, it was interesting to hear of the Rational Dress Society and “melancholy” being the original term for what we now refer to as “depression”.

  7. I haven`t read the first book and am happy to say it didn`t matter and I didn`t even realise as it was a great story that had me immersed in the past and trying to figure out who was the actual murderer. I can say I guessed wrong a few times so it is not predictable, which I like. Great description of characters too as it had me imagining how they looked, what they wore and their surroundings. It did have me on tender hooks as I didn`t know if they were going to be able to prove Kaelo innocent or not and set him free to be able to carry out what he was going there to do.
    Fabulous read thankyou and a first book I have read by Karen so I would highly recommend.

    1. Hi Luisa,
      I still think about the Rational Dress Society every time I climb into my baggy shorts here on Straddy! Thanks for reading Plantation Murders and commenting!

    2. Hi Cindy,

      I’m excited to hear that you had a few guesses at the murderer in this book. It makes me so happy to read your comments. Thank you for reading Plantation Murders!

  8. I really enjoyed this novel and had no idea it was the second in a series. The books starts with the death of a man by a single punch to the abdomen and Dr Hamish Hart and the talented Rita Cartwright must investigate.

    The familiarity of the story’s location being set in Logan in the 1800s is fascinating and I love the historical perspective that is so well developed in the book. A lot of research has gone into this novel and the well developed characters make this an engrossing and enjoyable read.

    Looking forward to reading more from this author. Thank you Beauty and Lace.

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