Born in Sydney in 1917, Jon Stephen Cleary, left school at 14 and worked at a variety of jobs before joining the Army in 1940. He served in the Middle East and New Guinea, during which time he started to write seriously, and by the war's end he had published several short stories in magazines. His first novel, You Can't See Round Corners, was published in 1947, and won the second prize in The Sydney Morning Herald's novel contest. It was later made into a television serial and then into a feature film. Cleary worked as a journalist in London and New York from 1948-1951. It was in 1951 that his most well known book, The Sundowners, was published. It was later made into a successful movie. Cleary has been a prolific writer, having published more than 50 books. The first Inspector Scobie Malone novel appeared in 1966, and there are now 20 books in the series. Degrees of Connection won the 2004 Ned Kelly Award for Best Novel and is the final in the Scobie Malone series. In 1995 Cleary was awarded the Inaugural Ned Kelly Award for his lifetime contribution to crime fiction in Australia.
When local solicitor Will Rockne is found in his car by his wife - shot through the head - it seems a baffling and motiveless murder. However, Scobie Malone, newly assigned to the case, has his suspicions. Despite his daughter Claire's shy romance with young Jason Rockne, Scobie and his wife Lisa's encounters with Will and Olive Rockne at school functions have always been a little disconcerting...Will had been determined to convince them that he was more than just a suburban lawyer. But when a huge amount of cash is found in a safe in Rockne's office, Scobie discovers that he wasn't just boasting; he would seem to have been caught up in something big - big enough to involve Bernie Bezrow, Sydney's largest bookmaker, the mysterious Shahriver offshore bank, and an elusive, undoubtedly dangerous Russian.
Somewhere in this labyrinth lies the key to a ruthless murder, and Scobie is determined to pursue it to the end...until his investigation is thwarted by an unexpected source and he is met with a wall of deceit and evasiveness. To break it down will demand all of his skills and experience and will put the lives of young Claire and Jason in terrible danger. Bleak Spring contains all the hallmarks of Jon Cleary's masterful novels: a gripping murder story, wonderfully shrewd observations on the dark underside of contemporary world events, and a remarkably vivid portrait of modern Australian society.