South West author shifts into new gear with country thriller

South West author Lily Malone will release her first crime novel, The Waterhole, at the Cowaramup Christmas Fair.
South West author Lily Malone will release her first crime novel, The Waterhole, at the Cowaramup Christmas Fair.

Hot on the heels of her best-selling rural romance series, Cowaramup author Lily Malone is stepping into the mystery-crime genre with her latest title, set in her hometown.

Malone turns a new leaf with this cold-case mystery/drama set in small-town Cowaramup in the WA's South West.

With a premise based upon a true story, the novel kicks off when a backyard dare to discover a fabled waterhole uncovers human bones.

Called to investigate the cold case, Detective Marley West and his partner Brigit Winger start to sift through layers of small-town scandals that date back to the 1950s. The deeper they dig, the less people want to talk.

Malone said locals would be particularly interested to hear that the story was inspired by real life events.

Lily Malone is the author of the best-selling rural romances and stories set in country locations.

Lily Malone is the author of the best-selling rural romances and stories set in country locations.

"The Waterhole concept comes from a true story," she explained.

"At the back of Parkwater subdivision in Cowaramup, there was an old waterhole that got filled when Parkwater got created.

"My husband and I at various times have talked with our mates and neighbours about trying to see if we could locate that old waterhole and hook up our garden bores and hoses somehow to get free water for the vegie patch."

While plans to locate a water source remain purely hypothetical, the friends began to ponder on the waterhole's history.

"One day during the discussions I thought to myself: imagine if we started digging, and the excavator dug up human bones... and so this story was born," Malone said.

Readers of The Waterhole are swept back into life at the height of the Vietnam War, when cultural intolerance ran high and the Saturday night barn-dance was the highlight of every country town's social calendar.

The new book will be on sale at the Cowaramup Christmas Fair on Saturday November 21 at Pioneer Park, Cowaramup.

With a rush expected on first release, Malone is encouraging fans to place pre-orders to avoid disappointment.

To pre-order a copy, email lilymalone@mail.com.