7 /10

Murder in the Telephone Exchange

by June Wright

Snappy Review

Written in the time, for the time (1948), a fascinating insight and great Australian murder mystery.

Book Synopsis

When an unpopular colleague at Melbourne Central is murdered – her head bashed in with a buttinsky, a piece of equipment used to listen in on phone calls – Maggie resolves to turn sleuth. Some of her co-workers are acting strangely, and Maggie is convinced she has a better chance of figuring out the killer’s identity than the stodgy police team assigned to the case, who seem to think she herself might have had something to do with it. But then one of her friends is murdered too, and it looks like Maggie is next in line.

Narrated with verve and wit, this is a mystery in the classic tradition, by turns entertaining and suspenseful, and building to a gripping climax. It also offers an evocative account of Melbourne in the early postwar years, as young women like Maggie flocked to the big city, leaving behind small-town family life for jobs, boarding houses and independence.