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.

20 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Plantation Murders

  1. In the Plantation Murders we welcome back Dr Hamish Hart, Dr Rita Cartwright and surprisingly Wallace, the chef from Dunwich Asylum and his dog Red.
    Dr. Hart has started up a private Medical practice when he is called in to do an autopsy of the body of Mr. McDonald who dies after a punch to the stomach by a “Kanaka” Dr. Hart finds poison in the man’s body and along with Sergent Bellamy, Rita and Wallace, they start investigating to help save the life of Kaelo who is actually innocent.

    Another fantastic read!! Thankyou to Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read and review this awesome book.

  2. This is the third Dr Hamish Hart book I’ve read, having read the third book first. While I agree it’s definitely one that can be read alone, I also found that each subsequent book adds to the context of the characters.

    This story, the second Dr Hamish Hart mystery, adds another layer to a history of Australia I knew little about, in this case the Islander “workers”.

    It’s a very well researched story, and the relationships between characters, and their working together, helped the story flow taking it from history lesson to an entertaining engaging read.

    In this story, I really enjoyed reading about Rita and the relationship she holds with Hamish. Her perspective definitely assists in the investigation, and without her it would be a much duller story. The same is seen with Wallace and Red.

    I can’t wait to see where book 4 takes Dr Hamish Hart and what mystery lies waiting to be solved.

  3. Thank you Beauty and Lace and Karen Thurecht for the opportunity to read book 2 in the Hamish Hart series. I was fortunate enough to also read book 1 and 3 in this series and have enjoyed all of them and the characters that are presented. Book 2 explores the role that slavery had on the Queensland economy and the impacts that introduced legislation in creating fairer working conditions had on both businesses and people brought to Queensland at this time. This made for a richer exploration of the murder that Hamish and Rita have been brought in to solve, which included one of the “Kanakas”.
    Hamish and Rita are a head of their time when they explore who could have killed one of the plantation managers, and the subsequent victims. Exploring issues that are still relevant today, it is an interesting telling of a story that both fits in 1800s and 2023 in Brisbane.
    Thank you for the information and research of Brisbane at this time and how these decisions have shaped Brisbane, Queensland and Australia.

  4. Dr Hamish Hart was settling into his new life in Brisbane, setting up his house and starting his new medical practice. He is looking forward to a quiet and rewarding business life with his companion Wallace, who he returned with from Dunwich Asylum. Wallace joined him as his house person and friend, bringing with him his devoted dog Red. That would work well, if not for his unique skill set and the police’s awareness of this skill.
    Traveling from his island home to meet his promise to his father, now deceased, Kaleo made the trip in the cargo hold of a ship along with other Island people who, unlike Kaleo who chose his path, were kidnapped. Arrived in Brisbane, he is purchased for his work contract and awaited transport to a sugar cane plantation to work until he can find his fathers new wife and child.
    McDonald, an overseer, was tasked with bringing back a families new workers. But a drink before the journey to the plantation ended badly for him, a dispute resulting in his death. The police officer involved with the case enlisted Hamish’s help for the postmortem. Surprisingly, the overseer did not die from the fight but from poison.
    The investigation to find the killer, to protect the worker Kaleo and to help his plight to find his family, draws you in to find out who is truely responsible, the deaths multiplying through the tale.
    Thank you to beauty & lace for the read and author Karen Thurecht for adding to these stories, helping me escape reality.

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