Truth, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


THE SEQUEL TO THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER THE BROKEN SHORE, AND WINNER OF THE 2010 MILES FRANKLIN AWARD. 'This year's best thriller' Sunday Times 'A thriller of dazzling richness' Guardian 'Temple's award-winning The Broken Shore was good; this is better' Independent At the close of a long day, Inspector Stephen Villani stands in the bathroom of a luxury apartment high above the city.

In the glass bath, a young woman lies dead. Villani's job as the head of the Victoria Police Homicide Squad is bathed in blood and sorrow.

Incapable of constancy as a father and husband, damaged as a son, his life is his work.

Now, over a few sweltering summer days, as fires burn across the state and his superiors and colleagues scheme and jostle, the girl's murder will collide with what seems on the surface to be another brutal gangland slaying and expose the darkness in the city's soul. Loved Truth and The Broken Shore, and want more Peter Temple?

Then check out the first of his Jack Irish thrillers, Bad Debts.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9781847243836

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Peter Temple’s book Truth is a fake. He’s lifted a depressed jaded detective from Henning Mankell, given him an Italian name and plonked him down in Melbourne. But this isn’t the Melbourne I live in, it’s a dark and vicious city, its central business district “becoming more frightening than Johannesburg.” The police are corrupt, and they’re having shoot outs with armed criminals in public places, with terrified bystanders ducking for cover. There are no real people on the streets of Melbourne, no parks, no shops, not even trams. The quite unreal leader of the opposition is on radio, talking about medical care, “a two hour wait to see a doctor who doesn’t speak English,” and childcare, “a disgrace. It’s safer to leave your kids with junkies in a park.” Zippy dialogue, but it certainly wouldn’t come out of the mouth of a mainstream Liberal politician; these are right-wing, racist, lunatic fringe opinions. Melbourne recorded the lowest right-wing loony vote in the country. Temple’s city isn’t Melbourne. Perhaps it is Johannesburg? Temple is, after all, from South Africa. The Observer review, quoted in this copy of Truth, refers to Temple’s distinctive dialogue, “full of the mangled poetry and beautiful solecisms of ordinary speech.” Another untruth. It’s not ordinary speech; it’s overdone, and misses the laconic humour of everyday Australian speech. Because I live here, I can follow most of his elliptical references, for example the “robbers” is the armed robbery squad, which was disbanded in the eighties. It must be difficult for non-locals to understand what Temple is talking about a lot of the time, and think he’s being unnecessarily obscure.Temple’s book is a competent police procedural, and a good read. It follows the usual clichéd macho police procedural conventions, and is set in a generic, corrupt city which has little in common with Melbourne. I have no idea why it won the Miles Franklin, which “is awarded for the novel of the year which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases.” Perhaps police corruption is in vogue this year: one of the committee members has published a book on the Morans, one of Melbourne’s criminal families.

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