The Bookclub met on Monday 23rd July 2018 to discuss our latest book and then we had another extra catch up for some members that couldn’t make it a week later! Any excuse for a get-together!

Here’s what our members had to say (about the book)…

‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper

A small town hides big secrets in this atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by an award-winning new author.

After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.

Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.

352 pages (Kindle Edition) – 9 hours and 37 minutes (Audio)

Published 31 May 2016 by Macmillan Australia

Available in local bookshops, on Kindle, Audible and from Southwark Libraries


Whilst it is difficult to collate all of the opinions given and write a review of a book where everyone has plenty to say and there were loads of issues to discuss (see our review of Dorothy Hodgkin: A Life), it might actually be harder to write a comprehensive review where we all loved it! And loved it we did – to the point where both Sue and Chloe read the next in the series (Force of Nature) by the time the Bookclub met!

As a Bookclub we have historically not often all agreed on the greatness of thrillers. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware which we read in 2017 was extremely divisive. Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster was downright awful and to the best of our knowledge, no members have gone on to read the next 6 novels in that series (6!). Chloe continues to wholeheartedly apologise for having included it in her choices list. But The Dry was different.

Most members admitted to having read it in only a couple of days and the phrase ‘page-turner’ was bandied around in abundance. Both Lissa and our newest member Nicole did admit to initially struggling with the first half of the book but on further discussion this appeared to potentially be due to reading in 10 minute bursts before bed or on the train – never a recipe to truly ‘get into’ a book. The second half was devoured at speed by both so perhaps not damning at all.

On reflection the reason the book was overall so enjoyable was that no one figured out who-dunnit until the final reveal. There were a few red herrings along the way which some members did spot long before the protagonist did, but ultimately, even those did not give away the ending. In fact, there were two mysteries to solve in the book, one from the federal agent’s past and the one that he had returned to his hometown to investigate. This provided a nice additional mystery to solve with the added bonus of trying to work out if the two strands of the story were connected.

Some discussion was had about the setting which being in small-town rural Australia was a nice change from London, LA or small-town America. Unfortunately Margaret; our resident Aussie wasn’t at the event so we couldn’t get her opinion on the accuracy but we agreed that the setting was refreshing and lent itself to the attitudes, gossip-mongering and grudge-holding of such a community.  Chloe and Sue both preferred The Dry to it’s follow up and the change in setting certainly seemed to be a large part of that.

We clutched at straws to find some negatives and considered that the local police allowed the unknown federal agent into a formal investigation perhaps a little too quickly and that there appeared to be rather too few repercussions when some locals vandalise his vehicle. We otherwise struggled to have much bad to say!

The Verdict

The Dry is a great thriller. Perhaps not a literary classic but a good solid crime book with good characterisation and a gripping story.  We all finished it (rarer that you might imagine) and we all enjoyed it (rarer than hen’s teeth).  We would definitely recommend The Dry, even to thriller naysayers.

Overall Rating

8.5 Out of 10

About Bookclub

To find out more including how to become a member , please visit the Our Clubs page. Details of our latest and previous books are available here.

Importantly we’re not a scary intellectual Bookclub!

We read a wide range of different books including chick lit, biographies and other non-fiction, thrillers and the occasional classic. We do obviously chat about the books; what we liked, what we didn’t and sometimes segway into issues raised in the book. We don’t generally come armed with lists of high-brow questions! We also share recommendations of other books we’ve read and occasionally gather at someone’s house to watch a film or TV adaptation of something we’ve liked.

Overall we have a great time socialising and a bit of a discussion about the book. We all occasionally fail to actually read or finish the book but that’s no problem either, we still tend to turn up and find out what we’ve missed (or not as the case may be!) Most of all Book Club is a great opportunity to get to know a smaller, more intimate group of the East Dulwich WI.

How It Works

Each month one member brings a shortlist of books. We narrow down the books democratically using two round of voting. We generally select books at least 2 months in advance to give us ample opportunity to read them around our schedules.


Jaflong Tandoori
42 East Dulwich Road, London, SE22 9AX

There is absolutely no requirement to buy food or drink although most of us find we can’t resist the temptation! They do however cater easily for veggie, vegan and gluten free diets.


New Readers Welcome

For details please email Kirsten or Chloe. 

EDWI Bookclub Review – “The Dry” by Jane Harper

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