BOOK CLUB: Murder at Frog’s Hollow

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Murder at Frog’s Hollow by Karen Thurecht is a mystery, crime fiction story set in 1886 in Brisbane.

This is the third Book of the Dr. Hamish Hart Mysteries but each book stands alone.

Dr. Hamish Hart is asked to examine the body of a Chinese businessman found murdered.

Hamish recognises the man as Ah Chit, the uncle of his childhood friend. Hamish feels he owes it to Ah Tay, his friend, to find the person responsible.

However, the police would prefer Hamish not to be involved with their investigation.

The investigation takes Hamish into Frog’s Hollow, a seedy part of the city. Frog’s Hollow has many secrets, gambling houses, opium dens, prostitution, and poverty.

Hamish discovers that the Chinese secret society, The Sheathed Sword, is involved. There is no way they want an investigation into their activities.

Hamish finds himself in danger and unprepared for where the investigation takes him.

It doesn’t end there because this book is also Kate’s story.

During the investigation Hamish meets Daisy and Kate, prostitutes working in a gambling house run by Ah Chit, they are both addicted to opium. They live in poverty in Frog’s Hollow. Kate dreams of a better life.

Rita, Hamish’s friend and also a doctor, has a strong interest in the plight of women. She has a boarding house where women can seek refuge from domestic violence or get help to change their lives for the better. Rita offers Kate a chance to escape from Frog’s Hollow.

Each chapter of the book is introduced by an article from a newspaper of the time, giving the reader an insightful account of early Australian history. I found them quite fascinating – from the Contagious Diseases Act, to the Chinese customs and the food they introduced to Australia.

The history in the book is well-researched and the characters bring it to life.

Hamish, Rita, and Wallace, his long time friends, his little dog Red, plus Sergeant Bellamy who always needs Hamish’s help are great characters.

The Hamish Hart series is really enjoyable and I thoroughly recommend this book. It is full of suspense, twists and turns, and an unexpected ending.

I can’t wait for Hamish’s next adventure.

Thank you to Shawline Publishing Group and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this excellent book.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading Murder at Frog’s Hollow. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

15 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Murder at Frog’s Hollow

  1. This is Book three in the Dr Hamish Hart mysteries but can be read as a stand alone title.
    It is 1866 and Dr Hart of the Royal Brisbane Hospital has been requested to undertake an autopsy on a Chinese businessman whom he recognises from his childhood days in Ballarat. The man, Ah Chit, is uncle to a childhood friend Ah Tay.
    Dr Hart involves himself in the investigation of the murder but there is danger as the investigation takes the Dr to Frog’s Hollow an undesirable area in Brisbane. The gambling houses, brothels, drug dens and poverty abound in the area as well as a secret Chinese society who do not want to be investigated.
    Each Chapter of the book begins with a newspaper clipping/article setting the scene and providing background to the history of the time. I really enjoyed this style of writing a the clippings/articles were really interesting.
    The book is obviously well researched and I particularly enjoyed the focus on women’s issues that Dr Hart’s friend Kate bought to the book.
    There is mystery, lots of suspense and wonderful characters to hold your interest. A great weekend read.

  2. Thank you for your review Karyn. It’s exciting to hear from readers that they enjoy reading about the social issues of the late Victorian times. I love learning about the history of Queensland as I do the research for this series and it warms my heart to know people enjoy the stories and the history as well.

  3. Thankyou Beautyandlace and The Shawline Publishing Group for the chance to read ‘Murder at Frog’s Hollow’ by Karen Thurecht.
    This is Book three in the series and now I am eager to read the earllier two books!
    The book is historical, (1886) it’s very interesting, as there are many facts about early events and issues of the times. I particularly enjoyed the newspaper articles at the commencement of each chapter.
    Dr Hamish Hart is requested to examine the murdered body of Ah Chit, part of the Chinese community and as it turns out someone previously known to Hamish. Hamish having been good friends with his nephew Ah Tay.
    This was in Ballarat where Hamish spent his youth and now surprising to Hamish they were residing now in Brisbane.
    Hamish soon finds himself involved in the murder mystery and is helped by his friends Rita and Wallace.
    The search for the killer leads to a poor area in Brisbane, Frog’s Hollow where vice is rife. Two women Daisy and her daughter are drug addicted and are prostitutes in the area. Smallpox is another issue in these times.
    It seems everyone is in danger, then there is the secret Chinese Society ‘The Sheathed Sword’ to add to the suspense.

    I was very interested to read that even in those times there were refuges for women. There is so much interesting history in this book which make it a must read, especially, if you, like myself like historical novels.

  4. Thank you, so much Beauty and Lace and Shawline Publishing Group for my copy of
    “Murder at Frog’s Hollow” by Karen Thurecht to read and review.

    I really enjoyed reading this book, the level of research that Karen has uncovered shows Karen definitely has a keen interest in the early history of Chinese influence in Brisbane and surrounding areas.

    Karen’s enjoyable style of storytelling coupled with the relevant newspaper stories of the day opening each chapter, is unique and I was totally immersed, as I’m sure Karen was during her exhaustive research and the numerous rabbit holes she would have ventured down.

    The coincidental re-acquaintance of childhood friends Hamish and Ah Tay is intriguing and Ah Tay’s ability to materialise silently beside Hamish on multiple occasions is as unsettling to Hamish as is the exact role Ah Tay’s uncle Ah Chit played within the Sheathed Sword a Chinese Secret Society that was actively operating in Brisbane. Although Hamish’s role initially was only to examine Ah Chit’s body, Hamish can’t help himself and becomes totally absorbed, and strives to help solve the murder.

    This book had everything, from the squalor, the prostitution, the opium addiction, the infectious diseases, the violence perpetuated towards women, to the care and concern shown to both Daisy and Kate, even to the spoils showered on Red, Hamish’s pampered pooch.

    Having always been a lover of print books, I actually loved the way this book felt in my hands, this style of book covering, along with the cover photograph and style of font really suits the story-line and time-frame.

    I am definitely a fan of Karen Thurecht’s “Murder at Frog’s Hollow” and absolutely loved the description of the bumptiousness of youth that characterised the Australia of the times.
    I can’t wait to read Karen’s other adventures of Dr Hamish Hart in both
    “Murder at the Dunwich Asylum” and “Plantation Murders.”

  5. Murder at Frogs Hollow by Karen Thurecht.
    Thankyou Beauty and Lace for picking me to review this great little story based in the period 1886 in Brisbane Australia.
    The story begins with a murder of a Chinese factory merchant were furniture was made by his workers ,were Now Doctor Hamish Hart works as a doctor he is called up by the police to do a medical examination of the murdered body .
    Unfortunately for Hamish he recognises the dead Chinese man as Ah Chit he was the uncle of his best friend who worked for Hamishs father back in the mines in Ballarat when Hamish was a boy .
    Ah Chit purchased his own mine once Hamish and his dad left and returned to Melbourne. Ah Chit became wealthy .
    Ah Tay was Hamish’s best friend he was a couple of years older then him he was Ah Chits nephew they played together as kids.
    Ah Tay comes to Brisbane to find out what happened to his uncle when Hamish finally catches up with him after all those years apart .
    Both of them collaborate to find out what happened to Ah Tays uncle and why he was murdered but they must do it without involving the police as the Chinese will only lie .
    The investigation finds out what kind of world Ah Chit was involved in and the secrets which follow .
    What a great mystery / murder story i will have to read Karen’s other books One and Two as I found this a very interesting story and took me back into the past .

  6. An interesting and insightful look into Brisbane in the 1800s and opium – I had no idea. I enjoyed that each chapter starts with a newspaper article from the time. It really adds depth to the story.

    Even though it’s the third book in the series you wouldn’t know, I haven’t read the others books and it was fine.

  7. Murder at Frog’s Hollow is the third story in the Dr Hamish Hart series. Set in Brisbane in the 1880s, Karen Thurect was able to capture what life would and could have looked like during a bustling and growing city and the tensions that were present amongst various community groups.
    I have read the first book in this series but not the second and this did not detract from being able to pick up the relationships between different characters.
    Commencing each chapter with a contemporary article of the time, added to the history and uncovering various wvents taking place at the time.
    I loved the writing and the obvious effort to tell an accurate and sympathetic story.
    Thank you Shawline Publishers, Beauty and Lace and Karen Thurect for this wonderful story.

  8. Murder at Frog’s Hollow, while the third in the Dr Hamish Hart Mysteries, was easily read as a stand alone story, which was lucky for me as it was my first time reading of his adventures.

    I really enjoyed the story, and even better, learnt a lot on the way. I was really appreciative of the author note as it showed how much research and authenticity went into the stories creation.

    Beginning each chapter with an extract from a newspaper article was a great way to set the scene and give an idea of the time. They also made me realise how much of Australia’s history I wasn’t aware of.

    I enjoyed the characters, with the roles they played in each other lives helping add to the story as well as solve the mystery. Their character showed in their interactions, and I’m keen to read the previous books as I’m guessing more of their backstories will be built there.

    This was a really enjoyable read and I’m now searching for the first two books in the series.

  9. Murder at Frog’s Hollow is the 3rd in a series but you don’t have to have read to the others to follow each book which is great even though Dr Hamish Hart the main character has to put himself in danger in order to solve the death of a friend. Really good book but I suggest getting all 3 books

  10. Murder at Frog’s Hollow by Karen Thurecht (Shawline Publishing Group) is the third book in the Dr Hamish Hart Mysteries series. It is set in Brisbane CBD, in the 1880s, in a red-light district—or slum, as the media called it, where brothels, bars, gambling houses and opium dens were common, many of which were run by Chinese immigrants.

    Dr Hamish is called upon to undertake an autopsy of one such Chinese businessman – a man he recognises as Ah Chit, the uncle of his childhood friend Ah Tay. Hamish has fond memories of his childhood friendship with Ah Tay on the Victorian goldfields and feels compelled to help solve the mystery of how his Uncle Ah Chit came to be murdered.

    This is a thoroughly researched and well written story which really captures the feel of the times – using extracts from newspaper articles helps set the scene and highlights many of the social issues and prejudices of the time – racism, poverty, disease prevention, prostitution, the plight of women. It also provides a colourful and informative backdrop to the mystery of who killed Ah Chit and why.

    As with all the Dr Hamish Hart stories to date, this is a fascinating read as much as for its glimpse into a bygone time as it is for the mystery itself! Thoroughly recommended.

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