Nimblefoot by Robert Drewe [6/10]

A jaunty tale with oodles of atmosphere, “Nimblefoot” entertains without captivating. Robert Drewe is a distinctive stylist, infusing every page with atmosphere, but I found the storyline (based on a true story, wherein may lie the problem), about a child prodigy athlete and Melbourne Cup winner on the run from corrupt cops and private detectives, to rush onward without grabbing. Similarly, the central character, while alive enough on the page, feels underdone in some subtle way. The interesting aspects of the novel lie in its portrayal of a number of cities or towns in late nineteenth century Australia; the author brings every place to vivid life. If you are a Drewe fan (and I a few such fans) or are drawn to the historical background, Nimblefoot would make for a stylish, enjoyable read.

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