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  • Location: Mataura, New Zealand



Why a Booktrail?

2000s: A young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River

  • ISBN: B079YY122L
  • Genre: Crime

What you need to know before your trail

When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems.

Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast aside her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands.
To find the murderer … and clear her name

Travel Guide

BookTrail Travel To New Zealand

There was only another twenty metres of so of long grass down to the Mataura river. The surface wasn’t visible from where I stood, just a dark slash in the dim-lit landscape where it cut its path through the fields, but I could hear its gurgling song.”

The river has many secrets:

The Mataura was never straightforward to search, with banks of willows and coal benches which jutted out beneath the water and could conceal a body.

Mataura village

Mataura is a town in the Southland region of the South Island and is known for its meat processing plant. It was also the site of a large pulp and paper mill.

“Other than the scuffles of those who worked hard and played hard, life here was ordered and mudane. The country had a gentle rhythm that revolved around the milking habits of its dairy herds, and the shifts at the freezing works. Most of my time was spent in the investigation of farm equipment and vehicle theft.”

Locals here suspect townfolk and call those who move to the city as being ‘ rat-race refugees. They aren’t usually welcome here and rural paradise, but they rarely get it.

There’s even a part of the river known as Sam’s Grief…

Streetview Maps

A) New Zealand - Mataura Bridge
C) New Zealand - Mataura main street

Booktrailer Review

Susan: @thebooktrailer

An exciting new start to a new series set in New Zealand. Sam Shephard, is a young police constable in Mataura with a lot on her plate.  A young mother in the town is brutally murdered ( and it seems to be a professional job), so she is part of the team who will find the killer. But what is Sam’s past relationship with the dead woman’s husband? Oh this just got twistier and twistier as I read. Evocative and memorable are not the words. Sam is a strong character and headstrong at times. She is very headstrong and stubborn which I liked. In a small town where everyone knows everyone else, it’s going to be hard for her to get the results she needs. But that is the kind of challenge she thrives upon.

The cover of this book really made the whole reading experience more vivid. The flashes of red, the heat, the dark shadows, all wonderfully evoking time and place and mood in the novel. Bring on the next one!

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  Overkill

Destination : Mataura, New Zealand   Author/Guide: Vanda Symon  Departure Time: 2000s

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