Full name Sidney Hobson Courtier (28 Jan 1904-1974), born in Kangaroo Flat, Victoria. Australian teacher/principal; President P.E.N. (Melbourne branch) who has written 22 mystery/detective novels with series characters Inspector "Digger" Haig and Inspector (later Superintendent) Ambrose Mahon (often ingenious, sometimes in bizarre physical settings)
The scene of this novel is the remote interior desert of Australia; the characters' assorted anthropologists, interested dilettantes and hangers-on, and local denizens of both sexes. The problem isn't how, when the scientific expedition was supposed to uncover aboriginal remains, did a twenty-five-year-old skeleton of a modern white man turn up? At first, the finding of the skeleton seemed sheer coincidence, but very soon one member of the expedition, watching the reaction of the other members, began to wonder how much was coincidence and how much design. Moreover, the unexpected appearance in that remote place of Police Superintendent Ambrose Marion, hard on the heels of the discovery, was stretching coincidence too far. Superintendent Marion's attempts to solve the tragedy stirred up trouble all round, from the natives to the members of the expedition. It was no easy task to follow a trail twenty-five years old, but Superintendent Mahon was tough, and thorough, and did not give up until the mystery was solved. A fascinating background, a fine, fresh atmosphere, and much native lore, spice up this fast tale of murder and blackmail.