detective george overton

When George Overton retires from the Sydney police force at the end of World War II little does he realise that his life is not going to be as quiet as he expected. 

Seemingly without trying, he gets involved in nightclub fires, stolen diamonds, a communist plot and a dead accountant in a locked room.  

With the help of his mates in his local pub and the patience of his wife Margaret, he manages to sort out most of the problems, but not usually in the way the authorities would approve.

In Store Price: $27.95 
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ISBN: 978-1-921731-05-1   
Format: Paperback
Number of pages:272
Genre: Fiction


Author: Roger Wood
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2010
Language: English


About the Author

Roger Wood’s background is in television and theatre. He worked for BBC Television for 23 years in the design department before returning to Australia in 1987 to live on the Sunshine Coast.

Roger has written many plays for the theatre. This is his second collection of short stories.

Also by Roger Wood: George Overton (Retired): A collection of short detective stories, Zeus 2009.



Sydney Australia. Winter 1951



 policeman on his beat in Oxford Street just east of the city took shelter in a shop doorway and pulled the collar of his coat tight up around his neck. ‘God, that wind’s bitter,’ he thought. The streets were empty, even the homeless had found somewhere to curl up away from the cold and damp. His lonely beat was up Wentworth Street and then along Oxford Street as far as Taylor Square then back down Campbell Street. He would walk this beat four times during the night checking that doors and gates were locked and there were no suspicious persons loitering that might be up to mischief, but on a night like this even the criminals were at home. This was only his first time round and the night was young as a door opened across the road from him and yellow light shone like a searchlight out across the dark pavement, he heard voices and laughter as some people spilled out of the basement drinking club. ‘Alright for some,’ he thought with just a touch of envy as a taxi stopped to pick them up. He crossed the road and looked at the poster on the front of the building, COMEDY FESTIVAL it said in large letters and underneath, Every Thursday – Featuring Paul Durand.  “Never heard of him,” he said to himself before he walked on.

By 3.00 a.m. he was walking his beat for the third time and by now it was spitting with rain, he paused halfway down Campbell Street to check the large gates of the government depot when a breathless man wrapped in a dressing gown came running around the corner.

“Fire!” The man tried to shout but it only came out in a hoarse croak.

The constable took him by the shoulders and tried to calm him. “Where?” he asked.

The man just pointed as he gasped for air and as the constable left at a trot he managed to say, “The club — by the steps.”

By the time he reached the club, smoke was pouring out of the ground floor windows and a small crowd had gathered in doorways where they could watch and shelter from the drizzle.

“Has anyone called the fire brigade?” he asked the watchers.

A man said someone had gone to Darlinghurst police station but it was a long walk.

“Is anyone in there?” he asked but was only answered by the unknowing shaking of heads.

“There shouldn’t be, it’s usually closed by now,” said one man.

“Let’s see if we can get the door open,” said the constable. “Get me something to prise this lock.”

One of the onlookers disappeared into a doorway and came back with a large screwdriver. The constable levered at the lock until the door sprung open, smoke billowed up from inside the nightclub causing the constable to hold his handkerchief over his face to breathe. He pushed his way through a small foyer into the club proper, tripping over chairs and tables in the darkness; it seemed as if the smoke was coming from a room behind the bar. The door was open to what looked like a storeroom and flames inside lit up the whole room; some crates of drinks were stacked up in one corner and in another corner some wicker skips, full of what looked like laundry, had caught fire. The heat was already blistering the paint on the wooden window frame as he held his hand in front of his face and called through the smoke, “Is anyone in here?”

A couple of the onlookers had followed the constable and were calling out to him from the main clubroom.

“Find a bucket and get some water in here,” the constable called back as he tried to drag one of the skips away from the window.

They relayed buckets of water to the room and the fire was almost out when the fire brigade arrived, and they could leave it safely in their hands.

Outside in the street the firefighters were given welcome drinks of water by neighbours as they reported to some more senior police officers that had arrived.

“Was there anything unusual in there?” asked Detective Sergeant Tiveton from Central police station.

“Like what Sarge?” asked the constable as he wiped his streaming eyes yet again.

“Like — what started it?”

Tiveton was an overweight man of about forty, he was a plodding detective, a bit slow on the uptake and would rather have been at home in his warm bed than on duty on a cold winter’s night.

“I couldn’t see anything that would start a fire, unless someone left a smoke burning,” said the constable. “But the club closed hours ago.”

“This is the sixth club fire in a month,” said a worried looking Tiveton. “It’s becoming more than a coincidence.”


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