Book Review: The High Commissioner

Jon Creasy
223 pages

Jon Creasy was a prolific Australian writer. Among his many books was a series about a Sydney police detective, Scobie Malone. The first book in the series, the High Commissioner, opens famously –

“We want you to go to London,” said the Premier, “and arrest the High Commissioner for murder”
He sat back, one clawed finger stroking the beak of his nose, a bald-headed old eaglehawk who had made this office his eyrie for twenty-five years. He ran his tongue round his thin dry lips, as if tasting the shock that showed on Scobie Malone’s face. He was seventy years old and fifty years of his hectic brawling life had been spent in politics. He knew and relished the value of shock.
Page 7

So off Malone goes to London (this is the mid 60s). The High Commissioner is a crucial player in international negotiations around the Vietnam War. He agrees to come back with Malone to face the charge, but begs for a few days to tie up a conference. Malone agrees. Not everyone however, wants the conference to succeed, and there’s danger from all sides.

I don’t suppose this book would pass political correctness tests these days (there’s the inscrutable orientals, buffoonish Africans), but it’s a damn fine read, and I suspect that Creasy knew what he was doing and was taking the piss of the conventions. Malone went on to appear in a further 20 or so books, which I intend to read in sequence.


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