Lindy Cameron – Golden Relic

Clan Destine Press, Victoria, Australia, 2007
First published by Harper Collins Australia 1998
Lindy Cameron will appear at the Terror Australia Festival in Cygnet 1-3 November 2019

I do not know how the readers of the original version of this story waited a month for each chapter. Golden Relic was commissioned by Museum Victoria and written for the International Council of Museums 1998. Lindy Cameron was selected from four crime writers to write a murder mystery by instalments to publicise the conference – the brief was to promote the city of Melbourne, the museum and the event.

Bsrbie talks to Lindy Cameron

The notion of doing this through a murder mystery was at first considered bizarre but soon embraced and so the novel was born, with the additional requirement to incorporate the conference theme of Museums and Cultural Diversity – Ancient Cultures, New Worlds.

When the original was serialised on the ICOM ’98 website it was indeed a very different world. Harper Collins then chose to publish it as a paperback, Lindy Cameron’s first published book, and the 2017 edition gives it to a new generation in a new world where the web rules supreme in communiaction.

Murder and mayhem in the museum are just the starting point for Lindy Cameron’s ripping yarn with heroine Sam Diamond, a detective working for the federal agency, the Australian Crime Bureau. In pursuit of the murderer of Professor Lloyd Marsden, Sam teams up with the redoubtable Dr Maggie Tremaine and their travels to Egypt and Peru quickly reveal a much larger story of international squabbles and plots and trade in stolen artefacts.

Other lesser luminaries circle around these two including the crusty cop Rigby, Sam’s work partner Ben and the cast of museum and archaeological characters, on whom suspicion falls and clears and falls again.

One very satisfying aspect of Sam Diamond is that she has a rather ditsy sister, ditsy though not lacking in perception when it comes to Sam and her confrères. So many fictional detectives float in a vacuum when it comes to family and that Sam does not makes her otherwise remarkable strength, tenacity and professional prowess even more admirable to the earth-bound reader.

Golden Relic will have those interested in archaeology and ancient cultures dashing out to research aspects of Lindy Cameron’s fiction, if not to book on a Peruvian jungle trek. Sam and Maggie both seem to have a wonderful capacity to dance with danger, get filthy and wounded and then to bounce back in clean white shirts – this really is what I want in my fiction heroines and heroes.

I never for a minute doubt that Sam will live to outwit and arrest another baddie and so this book can be dropped into the cosy crime box despite the gruesome murders, dastardly intrigues and tough strong-arms encountered along the way. Thank goodness, for we do want more Sam Diamond and her ilk in the cyber age when communication will be so much easier for her.