Tightly plotted, funny and briskly paced, this first Murray Whelan mystery leaves the reader with the hugely enjoyable prospect of more to come. When a disgruntled artist is found dead in the moat surrounding the Melbourne public arts building, Murray Whelan, political advisor and artless lover, has to investigate the case to make sure that there will be no negative political impact on his boss. In the process, he stumbles upon widespread misuse of government funds, begins to suspect a forgery scam, and tangles with two beautiful women. Meanwhile, Whelan's childhood nemesis lurks menacingly on the edge of the action, and people are dropping like flies. When you dabble with death, there's nothing abstract about a loaded gun.
Shane Maloney is deputy director of the Brunswick Institute. The Brush-Off was awarded the 1996 Ned Kelly Prize for Best Crime Novel, and short-listed for the 1996 Vance Palmer Prize for fiction. Shane Maloney is also the author of Stiff, Nice Try and The Big Ask.