After graduating in Asian history and politics at the Australian National University, Shane Maloney had the usual assortment of ragtag jobs before turning to literature. When that didn't work either, he became a full-time writer. At various times he has been a booking agent for rock bands, the promotions manager for Melbourne public radio station 3RRR, public relations director for the Boy Scouts Association, an arts bureaucrat for state and local government, general manager of the Melbourne Comedy Festival, cultural director for Melbourne's bid to host the 1996 Olympics and, finally, a swimming pool lifeguard. Maloney, the award-winning author of the Murray Whelan series of comic thrillers, is one of Australia's most popular novelists. Shane's novels have been published in North America, Germany, Finland, UK, France, and Japan. They include Stiff, The Brush-Off, Nice Try, The Big Ask and Something Fishy. Shane lives in Melbourne. Stiff and The Brush off have been turned into television movies starring David Wenham as Murray Whelan.
Angelo Agnelli has been Minister for the Arts for twelve hours and already artists have started killing themselves. Or so it seems when Marcus Taylor's body is fished from the Arts Centre moat.
Was it really an act of protest over the state of arts funding? And what's the political damage if the suicide note becomes public?
The career of Murray Whelan, minder and general dogsbody to the hapless Agnelli, hangs by its usual slender thread. If he can put the fix in here, he might have a chance of staying employed.
But as Murray soon discovers, in the world of culture vultures they don't just sit around waiting for you to die before they start tearing the flesh off your bones.