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Rowland Sinclair, gentleman, artist, and amateur sleuth.
What is the Rowland Sinclair series about?
Coming from the Australian author Sulari Gentill, also known under the pen name of S.D. Gentill, the Rowland Sinclair series is set in the 1930s offers historical mysteries.
Rowland Sinclair is a gentleman and an artist living in 1931 Sydney. Friend of the Left, son of the Right, he paints in a superbly tailored, three-piece suit and houses friends who include Clyde, a fellow painter; Milton, a plagiarising poet; and Edna, the beautiful, emancipated sculptress who is both his muse and the (unacknowledged) love of his life.
Sinclair’s fortune and his indifference to politics shelter him from the mounting tensions of the Great Depression roiling Australia and taking it near the brink of revolution.
How to read the Rowland Sinclair Books In Order?
Every book in the Rowland Sinclair series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
Prequel short stories to the Rowland Sinclair series
- The Company of Rats (short story)
- The Prodigal Son (novella) – Set in 1928 it covers the period when Rowland Sinclair first returned to Sydney and met his louche entourage.
The Rowland Sinclair Series
- A Few Right Thinking Men (2010)
- A Decline in Prophets (2011)
- Miles Off Course (2012)
- Paving the New Road (2012)
- Gentlemen Formerly Dressed (2013)
- A Murder Unmentioned (2014)
- Give the Devil His Due (2015)
- A Dangerous Language (2017)
- Shanghai Secrets (2020)
- Where There’s a Will (2020)
What is the plot of the Rowland Sinclair novels?
For more information about the books in the Rowland Sinclair series by Sulari Gentill, you’ll find below the official synopsis for all the books:
A Few Right Thinking Men – One day in December 1931 comes terrible news: Uncle Rowly has been murdered in his home by unknown assailants. The murder prompts Roland Sinclair to infiltrate the echelons of the old and new guard. Among them are a few “right thinking men,” a cadre of conservatives who became convinced of a Communist takeover and have formed a movement to combat it. In time, Rowland’s investigation exposes an extraordinary conspiracy with direct personal consequences.
A Decline in Prophets – Direct threats from Australia’s warring Right and the Left having quieted, so wealthy Rowland Sinclair and his group of bohemian friends are their way home to Sydney via New York after a lengthy stay in Europe. On board are some members of the Theosophical Society, as well as an aggressively conservative Irish Catholic Bishop and his cohorts. Their clash ups the tensions in first class and presents the liner’s captain with a tricky situation when bodies start to drop. It is Sinclair’s bad luck that he becomes a suspect in the first death, that of the Bishop’s beautiful young niece.
Miles Off Course – Rowland, try as he might to lead the boho life in Sydney in the family mansion or in a luxury spa, can’t dismiss the responsibilities of being a Sinclair. Most of them rest upon his conservative elder brother, Wilfred. And Wil now makes two claims on Rowly. One is to appear at an important upcoming board meeting of a firm where Rowly, pressured by Wil, serves as a director. And the other is to hustle up into the high country where a longtime family stockman appears to have gone missing―and find him.
Paving the New Road – New Guard leader Eric Campbell, the man who would be Australia’s Führer, is currently in Britain “consorting with Sir Oswald Mosley,” the leading British Fascist, making connections over cocktails in aid of bringing European Fascism to Australia. Campbell will soon be moving on to Germany to meet members of the Reichstag and, he hopes, Hitler. The Australian way of life is not undefended. Old enemies have united to undermine Campbell’s ambitions. Senator Charles Hardy, now a leading member of this unofficial Old Guard, brings Rowly a proposal. Their man in Munich, who was to keep an eye on Campbell, has been killed. Rowly’s mission is to investigate Bothwell’s death and, while at it, do his best to derail Campbell.
Gentlemen Formerly Dressed – Having barely escaped 1933 Germany, Rowland doesn’t really know what he is doing, or what should be done, but he is consumed with a notion that something should be done. Plus he needs to recuperate. And so Rowly and his friends make for England, where a British aristocrat is soon found murdered in his club, dressed in a negligée impaled by a sword. It’s too bizarre a death for a gentleman. His murder, and the suspicion falling on his young niece, quickly plunge the Australians into a world of trouble.
A Murder Unmentioned – Ever since the death of their wealthy, land-owning father a decade prior, Rowland Sinclair and his elder brother, Wil, have avoided any discussion of the event ever since―keeping secret that Sinclair senior was murdered… And the possible involvement of the teenage Rowly and his brother’s intervention. But now the finger of blame is pointing squarely at Rowly. So he and the trio of artist friends avail themselves of a racing green Gypsy Moth plane and a yellow Mercedes sports car to arrive in New South Wales’ Southern Tablelands, bent on clearing Rowly’s name.
Give the Devil His Due – Wealthy Rowland Sinclair, an artist with leftist friends and a free-wheeling lifestyle, reluctantly agrees to a charity race. He’ll drive his beloved yellow Mercedes on the Maroubra Speedway, renamed the Killer Track for the lives it has claimed. His teammates are a young Errol Flynn and the well-known driver Joan Richmond. It’s all good fun. But then people start to die…
A Dangerous Language – When Rowland Sinclair offers to fly internationally renowned Czech novelist and peace advocate Egon Kisch to Melbourne to kick off a speaking tour, he has no clue that the government has charged the Attorney General with preventing Kisch from stepping foot on Australian soil. Then Jim Kelly, a known Communist, is ruthlessly murdered on the Parliament House steps. It’s soon evident that an extreme fascist group is also intent on keeping Kisch’s words from ever reaching their countrymen’s ears—even if they have to kill him, or anyone helping him gain entry.
Shanghai Secrets – Shanghai, 1935. Rowland Sinclair arrives with his bohemian housemates from Sydney, Australia to explore a new city and take the name Sinclair international with a new class of negotiations. A novice to global commerce, Rowland is under strict instructions from his brother to keep a low profile…but that soon becomes next to impossible. A beautiful Russian taxi girl—who once claimed to be the Princess Anastasia and who danced in Rowly’s arms the night before—is found slain in his suite.
Where There’s a Will – American millionaire Daniel Cartwright has been shot dead: three times in the chest, and once in the head. Australian Rowland Sinclair, his mate from Oxford and longtime friend, is named executor of the will, to his great surprise—and that of Danny’s family. Events turn downright ugly when the will all but disinherits Danny’s siblings in favor of one Otis Norcross, whom no one knows or is able to locate. Amidst assault, kidnapping, and threats of slander, Rowly struggles to understand Danny’s motives, find the missing heir, and identify his friend’s killer before the clock—and his luck—run out.
What should you read if you like the Rowland Sinclair novels?
If you like reading Sulari Gentill’s Rowland Sinclair stories, you may be interested in the Maisie Dobbs novels, the Mary Russell series, or the Charles Lenox series.