Quick review: Broken Bay by Margaret Hickey

Finished reading: Broken Bay by Margaret Hickey 📚

I enjoyed this novel, set in an Australian coastal town, and set around a murder mystery with a scuba diving backstory.

The storyline ‘borrowed’ some real-life elements, particularly from the world of scuba diving (particularly cave diving)—a world with which I am very familiar. In fact, some parts of the story were clearly inspired by the tragic story of my late diving friend, Agnes Milowka.

Clearly the author did a lot of research to prep for this book, and got to know the world of diving quite well. Some of the information required expert level research, fact checking and proof reading. But this actually made it more frustrating that there were some very basic facts that were simply wrong.

For example, except in some very specific and very technically advanced situations, scuba divers almost never breathe oxygen underwater. Recreational divers generally breathe air (20.9% oxygen), or some times enriched air (up to 40% oxygen). When conducting technical dives, maybe higher, but rarely pure oxygen. So when every reference to the underwater breathing gas referred to ‘oxygen’, and tanks were repeatedly called ‘oxygen tanks’, this just rankled.

Scuba divers also use ‘fins’, not ‘flippers’. Having a scuba diver proof-read would have picked these issues up.

So these things grated on me, and took away from what was otherwise a very enjoyable read.

I do recommend the book, and will be reading other novels in the series.

Des Paroz @desparoz

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