An old diary, tucked away in a historical museum since the Great Depression, provides clues as to what really happened on a farm outside Wirrim, a small Australian country town. Was it a murder/suicide, where a young mother shot herself and her three children? Or was her husband responsible? Does knowledge of the history of the time carry some weight?
A Japanese teenager and exchange student, Hiroshi Nakamura, chronically anxious and depressed, walks out of Wirrim and vanishes. Has he survived? If so, where is he? If not, is this a suicide? Or murder? Malcolm Richardson, an elderly farmer and son of a Japanese prisoner-of-war survivor, admits that he met the boy but swears that he had nothing to do with the disappearance. Truth, or lies? And where do his father’s letters to his mother from the Middle East in World War II fit in?
These are mysteries that claim the attention of historian Merran Scofield, who grew up in Wirrim but left long ago to pursue an academic career in San Francisco. When she returns for a short study trip and attends a class reunion, she little guesses that her life will never be the same, thanks to former classmates, the local police officer and, again, her knowledge of the times.
Truth, Fiction, andLies will appeal to mystery buffs; those interested in Australia, particularly its history; and armchair psychologists. It’s a fast read with a surprisingly complex plot which will keep you reading well into the night.