A plethora of felonies and misdemeanors plague stolid Inspector Challis’s district in southern Australia.
The Peninsula is a “coastal comma” just southeast of Melbourne where DI Hal Challis is patiently fielding calls from his ex-wife Angela, jailed for attempting to kill him, while negotiating a tricky relationship with Tessa Kane, editor of the local tabloid. Workaholic Challis and his small force of constables have their hands full with a variety of cases. A washed-up and unidentified corpse Tessa has dubbed the “Flinders Floater” may be the work of an aspiring serial killer. Tessa also alerts Challis to a potential drug-trafficking operation. When Sgt. Ellen Destry and three other officers stake out the lovers’ lane, they nail a dangerous rapist named Dwayne Venn who plans revenge. On the home front, Ellen begins an escalating war of words with her unfriendly neighbor Carl Lister, whose teenaged son Skip has become a drunken nuisance despite his friendship with Ellen’s daughter Larrayne. Uniformed partners John Tankard and Pam Murphy investigate an alleged assault on a police officer who may be overreacting, only to see the case escalate. The Meddler, an inveterate letter writer, strains department resources even further. Death threats against intrepid aerial shutterbug Kitty Casement trigger inordinately personal attention from Challis; Tessa beware.
Disher (The Dragon Man, 2004) overstuffs the plot but provides terrific characters and believable cases against a unique backdrop.