This is a book outlining the various stages of writing a crime novel with different contributors providing a chapter / topic each.
Allen & Unwin
It is the start of a long, hot summer and Madalena Grimaldi has disappeared. Claudia is hired to find the missing schoolgirl but she's already working on a case - the death of Guy Valentine, her father.
As Claudia searches the streets, looking for the ghost of her derelict father and for the mysterious man who can lead her to Madalena, she finds herself sinking into a world where, for many, rock bottom is only the beginning.
And so Mark Bannister, writing the bestseller of the century, is found dead at his computer - the victim of a murder so perfect that someone smells a rat ... and wants it caught.
The chase leads into the murky underworld beneath Sydney's respectable facades. Claudia Valentine, hard-polied private investigator, must play a deadly high-tech game of cat and mouse with those who control the city's cancerous network of crime and corruption.
Being a minder for Dolores Delgado was no trouble at all for Claudia. Dolores slept all morning, shopped all afternoon and danced all night. Hanging out with this exotic and beautiful creature was fun as much as work.
Then, things got complicated. Dolores dropped dead. On stage. With barely a mark on her perfect body. Claudia has never lost a client before. Let alone one who was also a friend. This was not going to be good for business.
1988 started with a bang in Sydney's Chinatown and it wasn't just the fireworks. While the rest of the country was celebrating, the biggest bank job in Australia's history was taking place.
"The Great Chinese Take-Away" the press tagged it, and in those missing safety deposit boxes were items infinitely more valuable than money.
A gold key with a dragon on it: why did the Chen family want it back so badly?
A beautiful man, and all she can do is tinker with his prose.
For Cassandra, an editor, books are easy. It's real life that's the challenge: it doesn't sit quietly and let itself be fixed. Right now Cassandra's life seems far too heavy on the suspense, while the romance is distinctly unconvincing.
But that was before the murders started. And before she suspected that her own name was on the killer's hit list.
Murder, match-making and the dark arts of book editing: The Apricot Colonel is Halligan at her light-hearted best.
Tom Caxton, foreign correspondent, gets involved in the poppy industry in the Golden Triangle of Thailand and finds himself swept up into a rich and dangerous life.
Tom Caxton is an investigative journalist - and a poker player.
A tough man who values good food, wine, music, friendship and sex. Caxton, and Sergeant Harry Metaxas of the NSW police, have been co-opted into an elite federal task force. They are to find out what lies behind the activities of Sir Viktor Tiburzi, Albanian-Australian millionaire businessman and crook, whose corrupting influence may be poisoning the highest levels of government.
All is not as it seems in the calm, well-ordered streets of the nation's capital. After the turbulence of their courtship, Cassandra and the colonel have settled into wedded bliss - only to have it shattered by a death far too close to home. A friend's daughter is found dead from a drug overdose - a tragic suicide. But when her unfinished manuscript turns up containing an explosive expose of the local child prostitution scene, suicide turns to murder.
When the sun lowers itself into the bay and leaves the sky over St Kilda a dark crimson, it's beautiful and threatening at the same time. But the tourists don't see it that way. They only see the pretty colours and the calm water, the restaurants and the palm trees. They don't see the stabbings and the fights, the brawls and the rapes ...