Three Sleuths. "Master's Mates" by Peter Corris, "Kittyhawk Down" by Garry Disher and "Something Fishy" by Shane Maloney. [review]
If we are to believe Aristotle, or the Chicago neo-Aristotelians (R.S. Crane, Richard McKeown, et al.), or even bluff old Squire Henry Fielding, then plot is the mainstay of drama, as of the novel. This has often been held to be particularly so of detective fiction. On the other hand, Raymond Chandler was notoriously cavalier about the 'what, who, and why' of narrative causation, and Edmund Wilson famously asked, 'Who cares who killed Roger Ackroyd?' It would seem that voice and character (Peter Corris’s Cliff Hardy, Gary Disher’s Detective Inspector Hal Challis, Shane Maloney's Murray Whelan, MP) are as important as plot, if not on occasion more so. Milieu is crucial: think of Hardy's Sydney, Peter Temple's Melbourne, Carl Hiassen's Florida, Elmore Leonard's Detroit and Miami. Plot Rules, OK? Not! Voice is everything.