Port Vila Blues, Challis and Destry titles

The central baddie in Port Vila Blues, the crooked judge De Lisle, is a suitably loathsome piece of work, and the corrupt cops seem professional enough on the surface, but they have their fatal flaws while good cop Liz Redding ends up on the other side, suspended for failure to follow S.O.P.

There's a lengthy chronological break between The Fallout and Wyatt, and in the interim Wyatt has done rather well for himself, acquiring, among other things, a couple of units in a development on Melbourne's Southbank. The proceeds of his last job are, however, running low when his old friend  Eddie Oberin comes up with a lucrative jewellery heist, thanks to his ex-wife Lydia.

Predictably, Eddie has his own agenda and things aren't quite as they seem on the other side of the operation. The target are the Furneaux brothers, whose cousin, international courier  Alain Le Page is intent on feathering his own nest once his connections with the Russian mafia are severed.

While the robbery works out more or less as planned, the proceeds turn out to be international bonds, interesting pieces of paper rather than jewels that would be much easier to dispose of and Le Page, predictably wants them back.

Challis and Destry Novels:

  • The Dragon Man, the first title in the series set on the Mornington Peninsula, where a serial killer is on the loose, taunting the investigating police with anonymous letters, which find their way onto the front page of the local paper, which is edited by Challis' emerging love interest Tessa Kane. As media attention grows, the investigation goes nowhere as the regular side issues and distractions kick in, though Disher manipulates them cleverly, tweaking predictable responses and tying the ends together with an impressive flurry at the end. Will be watching for others.
  • Kittyhawk Down comes in about a year later with multiple fatalities that may or may not be related and, where related may not be the work of the obvious suspect. Challis is still on with the newspaper editor, though one doubts whether that’ll last, is still under pressure from his incarcerated wife and spends his spare time restoring his 1935 Dragon Rapide while trying to identify has a corpse fished from the sea. Ellen Destry has plenty on her own plate, with missing toddlers, disgruntled citizenry and other diversions to be sorted out before Challis’s friend, Kittyhawk-flying aerial photographer Janet Casement is murdered. 
  • Snapshot, reviewed here.
  • Chain of Evidence, reviewed here.
  • Blood Moon, reviewed here.
  • Whispering Death, reviewed here

Standalone titles

  • Bitter Wash Road, reviewed here

Investigate availability of


Kickback (1991)

Crosskill (1994)

Literary/General Novels for Adults

Steal Away (1987)

The Stencil Man (1988)

The Sunken Road (1996)

Past the Headlands (2001)

Play Abandoned (2011)

© Ian Hughes 2012