It’s always a pleasure to see a good new crime novelist appear in the Australian ranks. Caroline de Costa is a professor in the School of Medicine on the Cairns campus of James Cook University, and both her tropical address and her medical knowledge have provided some excellent background material for her debut novel, which is the tale of a French woman found dead in the rainforest in the wake of Cyclone Yasi. De Costa’s detective and main character, of whom I hope we will see more, is DSC Cass Diamond, a fit and funny 34-year-old Aboriginal martial arts practitioner, widow, and mother of a teenage son. She is called to the scene of the crime when it’s revealed that the body in the forest is tied to a tree with expensive French silk scarves. This is a police procedural of the “messy heads” kind: complex, lively, and engaging.