The New Zealand Novel 1860-1965
Timber and Topdressing
Timber and Topdressing. The mystery yarn with a realistic contemporary base has begun to have some importance. Arthur Manning followed up his first venture with Tainted Money, 1963, in which the teller, with stolen money in his care, is involved as both page 116 pursuer and pursued. Effective use is made of professional flying in aerial topdressing work. J. S. Tullett also uses this as the mainspring for a story, Red Abbott, 1964. Bulldozers, chainsaws, logging trucks and union bosses make the plot in White Pine, 1965, though unfortunately there is also a tapu tree and a tohunga. Yellow Streak, 1963, deals with prospecting at the present day in Nelson. These novels are well informed and competently made. Tullett has also published Tar White, 1962, historical fiction very adequately spun from events at the Te Awaiti whaling settlements of 1837. C. Merton Wentworth also discovered useful technical material in Mill Town, 1963, but handled it only at the level of horrific journalese. Unusual matter mishandled is also to be found in Michael Burgess's prison shocker, Mister, 1964.