Review: Live and Let Fry by Sue Williams

Erich Mayer

Cass joins the ranks of fictional detectives as a feisty woman in early middle-age with the gift of the gab.
Review: Live and Let Fry by Sue Williams

Book cover art for Sue Williams' Live and Let Fry.

Live and Let Fry is the third (and aptly titled) book by Sue Williams that features Cass Tuplin, owner and sole employee of the Rusty Bore Takeaway.

Cass joins the ranks of fictional detectives as a feisty woman in early middle-age with the gift of the gab and a lugubrious turn of phrase: ‘It’s illegal to carry pepper spray in Victoria, of course. We can’t have women defending themselves.’ Cass comes across as a likeable down-to-earth person you would be glad to have as a friend.

The 147 residents of the remote village of Rusty Bore also have great faith in Cass. Not only does she provide the best, if only, fast food for miles around, but she is respected as the Mallee’s answer to James Bond, according to the local newspaper, the Hustle Post. ‘Always reliable for its hyperbole,’ comments Cass, ‘but you have to appreciate the loyalty’. 

In spite of her reputation Cass is modest about her crime-solving abilities. When she is once again called upon by a friend to help, she is reluctant to get involved and reminds everyone she is not a licensed detective. But once started, she shows courage and persistence and the occasional insight, and eventually she stumbles upon success. Her methods take the reader on a roller-coaster ride in pursuit of the villains of this story, suspected to be unscrupulous developers who will stop at nothing to gain their ends.

Williams lets Cass tell her story in an entertaining tongue-in-cheek style. There are minor sub-plots involving Cass’ two adult sons, some ferrets and her mostly absent lover that contribute to the story. There is some amusing dialogue, particularly with an old man who has not yet lost all his marbles but might do so at any time. There are some exciting and interesting encounters with suspects and some moments of great danger, well described. The atmosphere of small outback communities form a realistic background. Unfortunately all of that is not quite enough to compensate for a plot that is overly complicated and lacks plausibility. 

There is no doubt about the value of escapist literature in a world fraught with so many seemingly intractable problems. This book unashamedly belongs to that escapist genre. There can scarcely be better therapy than to immerse oneself for a time in a world where good triumphs over evil and where there is the prospect of a happy ending.

Rating: 3 stars ★★★

Live and Let Fry: A Rusty Bore Mystery

The Rusty Bore Mysteries, Book Three
By Sue Williams
Published by The Text Publishing Company
Extent: 304pp
Format: Paperback
Text publication date: 30 April 2018
ISBN: 9781925603514

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Erich Mayer is a retired company director and former organic walnut farmer. He now edits the blog