The first Murray Whelan adventure, with an introduction by Lindsay Tanner.
The fiddle at the Pacific Pastoral meat-packing works was a nice little earner for all concerned until Herb Gardiner reported finding a body in number 3 chiller. An accident, of course, but just the excuse a devious political operator might grab to stir up trouble with the unions.
Enter Murray Whelan, minder, fixer and general dogsbody for the Minister of Industry. Between playing of party factions and pursuing the kohl-eyed Ayisha, it’s all in a day’s work for Murray to hose down the situation at Pacific Pastoral. Then the lairy V8 turns up. And after that, it gets personal.
Because don’t you just hate it when somebody tries to kill you and you don’t know who or why?
Shane Maloney is one of Australia’s most popular novelists. His award-winning and much-loved Murray Whelan series has been published around the world. In 1996 The Brush-Off won the Ned Kelly Prize for Crime Fiction. In 2004 Stiff and The Brush-Off were made into telemovies, starring David Wenham as Murray Whelan. In 2009 Shane Maloney was presented with the Crime Writers’ Association of Australia Lifetime Achievement Award.
Lindsay Tanner is a former federal Finance Minister and author of several books who has been a member of the Victorian branch of the Labor Party for over thirty-five years and lived to tell the tale.
‘Hilarious…witty, controversial, intelligent.' Herald Sun
‘Fast-paced, fresh, unerringly funny.’ Houston Chronicle
‘Read it, you’ll love it.’ Courier-Mail
‘Funny and gripping.’ Rolling Stone
The Brush-Off, featuring Melbourne political fixer Murray Whelan, won Australia's Ned Kelly Prize and critical attention when it was published here, in 1998. This prequel, which first appeared Down Under in 1994, is a worthy but not sterling followup. It's 1984, and Murray is working as electorate officer (read: troubleshooter) for Charlene Wills, Australia's minister for industry. Despite his cynicism about politics, Whelan admires the 50ish Wills: "She was loyal, conscientious, devoted to her constituents, and I loved her like a mother, which was convenient as I no longer had one of my own. Her colostomy bag you couldn't notice, even if you were one of the very few who knew about it." When Angelo Agnelli, Wills's ministerial adviser (who rises to become minister for arts and Murray's boss in The Brush-Off), asks Whelan to look into the suspicious death of a Turkish meat packer, Murray stirs up a mess of corruption that threatens Wills and the Labour Party. Malone tosses in plenty of colorful detail about Melbourne's ethnic mix, and some touching scenes where Murray struggles to be a good father to his young son while his estranged wife is off tending her own, much more successful political career. The entire novel is narrated by Murray in a wry, tough voice as flavorful of Australia as kangaroo stew.