I’m the author of eight published novels, including a trio of crime novels set in Canberra. The first of my crime series, The Trojan Dog, was joint winner ACT Book of the Year, and the Age gave it their ‘Best of 2000’ in the crime section. It was published in Australia by Wakefield Press and in the United States by St Martin’s Press. The second, The White Tower, was also published in Australia and North America, and the third, Eden, appeared in 2007. All three feature the cyber-sleuth Sandra Mahoney and her partner, Ivan Semyonov, along with Detective Sergeant Brook, of the ACT police. With Eden, I returned to the subject of prostitution, which has long interested me and provided inspiration. My first novel, Tunnel Vision, is set in a Melbourne massage parlour. One of my literary novels, The House at Number 10, imagines Canberra from a sex-worker’s point of view. I’ve also published non-fiction pieces on the subject, including A Script With No Words. Two of my literary novels, One for the Master and Ruth, have been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin award. Maralinga My Love is set during the time of the atomic bomb tests at Maralinga, in South Australia. I’ve had numerous short stories published in magazines and Anthologies. I’ve completed an historical novel, Children of Ghosts and a novella, Ashes from the Headland. I’m currently working on a sea-change mystery series, set at the home of ‘Sea-change’, the TV series, on the south coast of Victoria. The first of these is called Through a Camel’s Eye. I’m also putting together a collection of my prostitution stories, Nine Pieces on Prostitution, which span my writing career from its beginnings in the early1980s to the present. I regularly review fiction for the Sydney Morning Herald. I’ve been a guest speaker at the Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, and Salamanca festivals, at the Canberra Word Festival, and both Australian Sisters in Crime conferences. Overseas invitations have included the Salzburg seminar on contemporary fiction, and residencies at Ledig House, International Writers Colony, New York and Lavigny in Switzerland. I’m a founding member of the influential ‘7 Writers’ group, which began meeting in Canberra in the early 1980s, and continued as a writers’ workshop and discussion group for almost twenty years. The seven are: Margaret Barbalet, Sara Dowse, Marian Eldridge, Suzanne Edgar, Marion Halligan, Dorothy Horsfield and myself. The other subject which continues to fascinate me from a literary point of view is Canberra, Australia’s national capital, where I lived for thirty years before returning to Victoria. Canberra features often in my fiction, and my feelings about the city are summed up in my essay, Disturbing Undertones. One for the Master, The Trojan Dog, The White Tower, The House at Number 10 and Eden can be bought directly from Wakefield Press.
When the body of young female environmental activist and science student, Laila Fanshaw, is found floating in Lake Burley Griffin, private investigator Sandra Mahoney's life is turned upside down, not least because her partner, Ivan, was in love with Laila. Ivan is a suspect and has no alibi for the time of death.
A further strain is put on the relationship when another suspect, who worked in the Federal Environment Department, wants to hire Sandra to help him clear his name.
Sandra has to weigh up her desire to learn the truth against her children's needs. Only six-year-old Katya is Ivan's natural child; adolescent Peter has a different father. But both children are deeply affected by Laila's death and Ivan's reaction to it. Added to this, Sandra's friend in the Federal Police, Detective Sergeant Brook, is absolutely against her involvement in the case.
It takes all of Sandra's ingenuity and courage to steer herself, and her family, through the dangers that lead to an eventual unmasking of the truth.