Bibliophile | Olivia Grace returns in Lisa Walker’s ‘Trouble Is My Business’

Trouble Is My Business
by Lisa Walker
Wakefield Press

Lisa Walker, who lives, surfs and writes young adult coming-of-age novels on the north coast of New South Wales, introduced Olivia Grace and her detective skills in The Girl with the Gold Bikini. Eighteen year-old Olivia Grace spent a gap year at a friend Rocco’s detective agency but she is now struggling to get through the first year of a law degree.

The last time Olivia and her best friend Abbey Watson had spoken, Olivia had stormed off after Abbey had accused Olivia of putting her dreams on hold to go to university to study law. It was true that she wanted to be the Nancy Drew of the Gold Coast but her parents had insisted that an education was the key to a good life and a degree would open doors.

While her parents talk about education “as if it is the elixir of life”, they are actually in Nepal, trekking and finding themselves for an indeterminate amount of time, while she is living with her Nan and 7 year-old sister Jacq near Surfers Paradise in Queensland. Nan seems to spend most of her time at ukulele gatherings with her new boyfriend and Olivia’s heart is not into the piles of reading she needs to do to satisfy the scary lecturers.

So, when Abbey’s mother calls her with news that Abbey has disappeared while night surfing with her surf board being found on a remote beach two days later, Olivia jumps into her car to go to Byron Bay to investigate. She does not accept that Abbey would deliberately take her own life, even though a note left behind at her house seems to indicate that.

While her parents Skye words of wisdom from the other side of the world (Sherlock Holmes quotes from her father and Buddhist quotes from her mother), she disguises herself as hippie-chick Nansea, as the Tarot card reader had advised her to transform herself and let go of outworn ways of living.

This brings her in direct conflict with her previous boss and friend Rosco who has been hired to try to find Abbey. Olivia wades through the seedier side of Byron Bay and gets herself into much more trouble than she bargained for as she draws up a list of possible people responsible for her friend’s disappearance.

Lezly Herbert

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