Crime fiction set in Australia

The Stella Bruno Investigates series is set in and around Adelaide, South Australia.

A few things to bear in mind when reading The Identity Thief.

Australia went metric in 1975. The units of measurements are the same ones you encounter in Europe.

Distance is expressed in kilometres (and we spell it that way too), temperature in degrees Celsius, weight in kilograms, and height in metres or centimetres.

Some older Australians still think in terms of feet, so you might come across a phrase like ‘She was five foot nothing!’ – meaning she was short, or ‘He was about six foot four.’ – meaning he was tall, in the dialogue of an Australian crime novel.

Australians don’t think it’s hot until the mercury is pushing 35C (95F) and they start to slow down when it hits 40C (104F). On the other hand, Aussies think 10C (50F) is cold, unless they live in Canberra, where it does get down to 0C and below.

In South Australia, a north wind during the summer months is hot, as it’s travelled a long way overland before it hits Adelaide where most South Australians live. In the winter months, the south wind blows in from Antarctica. It’s frigid – but nothing like the freezing north winds that sweep down across Canada into the USA from the Arctic. There’s a fair bit of ocean between Australia and Antarctica which seems to make a difference.

Although quite a few Americanism have crept into the everyday language used by Australians, there are still some peculiarly Aussie terms like bloke (a man, guy) and mate (buddy) in common use.

The infamous ‘G’Day, mate!’ is still common, and it’s used with both friends and strangers alike.

Australia is a multi-cultural society, where you’ll find a mix of people from all parts of Europe, India, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, and Oceania, especially in the cities, so it’s not unusual for a character like Stella Bruno, with an extended Italian family, to be a police officer.

While we’re thinking about police officers, Australians use that term but the ranks in our police forces mirror the ranks used in British police forces, so we have Inspectors and Chief Inspectors and not Captains and Lieutenants, and the only place you’ll find a Sheriff is in a Court.

All police officers in Australia are professional officers. There are no political positions, like Sheriff, to be elected to as you find in the USA.

Each Australian state has its own police force and there is a federal force known as the Australian Federal Police, so we don’t have to worry about county lines or city limits, and the forces work together across state borders.

Fortunately, from a crime writer’s perspective, Australians commit all those crimes you want to read about.

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