Matter of Parihaka, The

Bohan, Edmund

  15 Reviews

The third Inspector O'Rorke novel set in colonial New Zealand. The invasion and destruction of Te Whiti's community of Parihaka in 1881, prompts an investigation into police brutality. A skillfully woven blend of fact and fiction, and an evocatively told tale of political and personal intrigue. NZ Interest. [Larger font]

Comments from Groups

We found the story complex and fascinating, with wide ranging historical perspectives, but the number of characters was difficult to follow, and rather two dimensional. Although the historical detail was impressive, some of us found it difficult to engage with. Auckland 166

We enjoyed the historical perspective of this easy-to-read 'whodunnit'. Windwhistle 001

This book had mixed reviews. We were disappointed at the lack of historical content, and felt the title led us to believe there would be more details about the Parihaka incident. Auckland 105

There were far too many characters, and the book wasn't really focused on Parihaka, which is what we'd have liked. However, as usual it generated an excellent discussion. Nelson 044

Everybody thought the book an enjoyable read. We enjoy reading books set in NZ, and particularly in the Wellington region. We expected the setting to be in Parihaka, but enjoyed the various threads connecting it with both North and South. The characters were interesting, but we felt we didn't get 'inside' O'Rorke. Carterton 001



AUCK 199
This book was very disappointing. Its historical setting could have been interesting but the treatment of the story was trite, and in places was reminiscent of Mills & Boon. One person described it as a parody of a Victorian novel. The use of different dialects was not seen to be necessary and detracted from the content. In its favour, it did give insight into that historical period.
PICT 006
Most members didn't finish it, or struggled through it. We were attracted by the prospect of learning a bit about Parihaka, but didn't learn much. Book was hard to follow. It did however make us talk about colonial N.Z. and inspire us to seek out some non-fiction.
Half of our group liked this book and half didn't, but overall a good, easy and enjoyable read that all New Zealanders should read.
TAUP 005
All members were disappointed to discover that the book's title didn't really include much information about Parihaka in depth. Most were mildly interested in the plot being a N.Z. story, however some were not murder mystery enthusiasts. History was well received.
TAUR 015
An enjoyable read. Good characters and a well paced plot.
Most of the group enjoyed an "easy read" but felt that the murder mystery was to the fore rather than in-depth exploration of the Parihaka situation.
RICH 001
We were disappointed in the content as we all thought it would be about Parihaka, especially as we had read 'The Fox Boy' earlier. But after some discussion we agreed on enjoying this book for its local content and local history. We liked reading about places we knew and the culture of that time, so we had a really good discussion.
TAUR 019
Book not enjoyed by group, we didn't like the writing style. Plot was too contrived and unrealistic in parts.
AUCK 353
We generally enjoyed the historical references, but found the number of characters a bit hard to follow. We found the relationship between O'Rourke and Rothstein a bit unbelievable. Characters could have been developed more.
TAUR 049
Interesting book. It felt as if it was written at the time rather than in 2005. Portrayal of the many factions in society at the time led to excellent discussion about the origins and attitudes of our own forbears.
AUCK 150
We found the book to be interesting but lacking in details about Parihaka, and sometimes bringing in too many characters among the police force. A good murder story, and it gave us a good insight to that time in N.Z. history.
CHCH 317
Excellent - well written and topical.
ASHB 004
Some mixed reactions. Most liked the historical perspective and the murder mystery, and the way the Christchurch and Wellington settings were linked. The social and racial views of the time were so well revealed. One or two felt the characters were not fully drawn and there were too many of them. There was a feeling too that it should have dealt more with Parihaka. Bohan described the political machinations cleverly.
The book was a bit of a surprise - we had thought that Parihaka would be more central to the novel. But it is a readable detective novel with a lot of historical interest. Bohan's understanding of the 1880s in NZ brings history to life, particularly for those who know Christchurch and Wellington well.
Surprising book about early NZ and a good mystery (or mysteries). Not all of us read it but those who did really enjoyed it.