Unlike a lot of Europe, dogs are not welcome at all eating venues around Australia. The select ones that do welcome dogs, were so few a decade ago that I started a social media group to identify and share information about their location. It now has almost 9000 members. That is a lot of folks wanting to take their doggy with them to eat/have coffee.
Mostly the allocated dog friendly space at an Australian Dog Friendly Cafe is outdoors, without a fixed roof, if the venue is serving any kind of food. I do understand that dogs are unpredictable and can bark or become a nuisance. If this is the sort of dog you have, you probably would hang out at a park instead of a cafe.
Bearing this in mind, it was with much excitement that I attended Dalgety Public House located on the riverside fringe of the CBD. Not only did this Gastropub welcome dogs, they offered wide range of events, lunchs dinners, and weekend breakfasts. The meal we had was scrumptious and the Barista was a talented coffee artist who decorated our coffee crema with our own pet or animal of choice.
Here is some of her creations. Guess which one is my pup?
Quite unusually, I’ve been reading a book that has no dead bodies contained within its pages.
(See my book review page here for the lists of crime fiction novels I usually read).
Biographies of interesting people, are also on my book shelf, but the title of this book, given to me by a work colleague, did not give me any clue as to the intensity of the story within.
Horse boy is the story of one family’s journey to heal their severely autistic son. Conventional western therapies were yielding little success and their son’s tantrums and neurological trauma appeared to be increasing, exponentially. Spurred on by an accidental discovery that Rowan had a special gift with horses, the family embarks on a monumental adventure that takes them to the outer regions of Mongolia.
This novel is the fourth in the Norwegian series with Johanne Vik and Adam Stubø as the husband and wife team, with Adam being the ‘gentle giant’ detective and Johanne, his wife who is an ex profiler with a nose for investigative leads.
Very soon in the novel, we are introduced to several different story threads:
Johanne´s vulnerable daughter, Kristiane, gets lost when the family participates in a wedding in Oslo, and if a mysterious stranger had not saved her, she might have been killed in front of the tram.
Bishop Eva Karin Lysgaard is found murdered on Christmas Eve in Bergen. She is a popular person, well known for her struggle to keep the church united despite the question of marriage of homosexuals.
The body of a seventeen-year-old asylum seeker is found in the harbour of Oslo. The young man was a prostitute, and soon after a homosexual woman disappears from a happy relationship.
Marcus Koll, affluent businessman, lives together with his partner Rolf and his son, Little Marcus. Beautiful and safe on the facade, but apparently Marcus fears he will be the next victim.
What do the crimes have in common? Are old family secrets behind all these crimes, or is the common denominator homosexuality? Johanne Vik is engaged in researching hate crime, and via her research she can point out the connection among the seemingly isolated events to the police.
There are many things to like in this series, but it seems to me that Holt has this tendency to involve Johanne and her children every time. Exciting for the characters, and fundamental to the storyline perhaps, but not very credible. But then it is fiction, isn’t it? So why quibble?
I guess that whilst I enjoyed this Anne Holt story, it does lack a little of the intensity I feel when I read the Hanne Wilhemson’s series. Perhaps I feel more for the character of Hanne, for her keen detective sense and her stoic, rigid and sometimes arrogant manner, than I do for Johanne Vik and Adam Stubo who seem to be awfully familiar to another couple in a similar detective series written by a Swedish crime writer.
If you are a Nordic crime fiction fan, you won’t be disappointed, but the bar is getting ever higherin the realms of Mordic crime fiction with many more excellent writers, emerging from the colder regions of the world, each year.