Deep Beyond the Reef: A True Story of Madness and Murder in the South Pacific
The brutal double murder of Fiji Red Cross director John Scott and his partner Greg Scrivener in 2001 shocked several nations and attracted a huge amount of media attention, partly because of John Scott's role as go-between in the hostage crisis during the George Speight-led coup in 2000.
Drawn back to Fiji from his new home in England by the tragedy, Owen Scott embarks on a quest for the truth - not only about the then unsolved crime and the whirlwind of rumour and innuendo it created, but also about his own life as the son of a prominent, charismatic but domineering father, and the darkness at the centre of an outwardly idyllic tropical childhood.
From the fading colonial splendour of plantation life to the violent political coups and ruthless media exploitation of the modern era, this is a true and remarkable story of love, death and memory set against the backdrop of a troubled Pacific paradise. “It’s a marvellous book, full of strange characters and bizarre behaviour, its narrative obviously fuelled by great passion.” The Listener 2nd April 2005 “A fascinating read.” Kim Hill, National Radio 5th Feb 2005 “Gripping … an intriguing page-turner full of sights, colours and smells of Suva … A sad story brilliantly told.” North and South Magazine April 2005 “Sharp-edged … a deftly written story of a colonial childhood … in a class of its own.” The Christchurch Press 26th Feb 2005 “It reminded me of Truman Capote’s classic, ‘In Cold Blood’ … yes, it is that good.” Otago Daily Times 2nd April 2005 “The writing is clear, precise and detailed … small incidents shine like unexpected gems, illustrating the author’s ability to translate the mundane to the meaningful.” New Zealand Herald 19th March 2005 “This book is well written and very hard to put down.” Bay of Plenty Times 5th March 2005 “A fascinating story … very easy to read … hard to put down.” Marlborough Express 22nd Feb 2005 “A gripping story … multi-layered … a winning mix.” Metro Magazine March 2005 “Much more than a murder mystery … the family history almost steals the show.” Air New Zealand In-flight Magazine March 2005 “An intriguing account of life during the last days of colonial Fiji … part family history, part whodunit, wholly compassionate and humane in its tone, ‘Deep Beyond the Reef’ is a wonderfully readable book with many layers.” Nelson Mail 18 May 2005 “A gripping story … the writer has the ability to express the essence of a person, giving reality to them … a good read.” Wanganui Chronicle 30 April 2005 “There is something for everyone here … no doubt this is an emotionally moving and well-crafted piece of writing with a definite ring of truth.” Canta (Canterbury University Magazine) 11 May 2005 “A well written, valuable log … an intimate and revealing narrative.” Daily Post, Rotorua 26th Feb 2005 “An extremely personal and moving account.” Real Groove Magazine March 2005 “Owen Scott tells his story with great charm and openness.” Herald on Sunday 27th March 2005 “Enthralling … as a social history of what it is like to be white and privileged in professional circles in Fiji during the 20th Century I can commend this book.” Law Talk July 2005 “This book is a must read for anyone who travels or intends to travel to Fiji … never before had I read a book that brought back such childhood memories.” Hawkes Bay Today 25 June 2005 “Tears hit the pages more than once … this story acts as a reminder not to forget what is most important in life.” Craccum (Auckland University Magazine) May 2005 “Owen Scott generously allows readers to enter part of his life … an interesting part of South Pacific history … certainly not grim. The anecdotes of life in Fiji from the days of Scott’s Grandfather until now are presented with a convincing humour along the lines of Gerald Durrell’s ‘My Family and Other Animals’.” Salient (Victoria University Magazine) July 2005
Actor and writer Owen Scott is the younger brother of John Scott, one of the murder victims, and the son of a high-ranking pre-independence barrister and diplomat, Maurice Scott CBE, later to become Speaker of Fiji's Legislative Council. As a fourth generation white Fijian Owen has a deep knowledge of local custom, culture, politics and protocol; all of which play a part in this story.