A Scobie Malone Story.
Had there been only one murder at the Hotel Southern Savoy, Detective Scobie Malone would not have been called in. But there were two killings that night. The first seemed an open-and-shut case - a cleaner who beat his wife once too often and paid the price. The second case, too, seemed run-of-the-mill, until it transpired that the victim was not a prostitute but the wife of the American Ambassador.
With the FBI, CIA and the federal authorities all on his back, Scobie anticipates a rough time ahead. It is the past, however, that holds the real threat. For while investigating a woman who has succeeded in erasing her imperfect past, Malone is confronted with a former girlfriend intent on rewriting history and turning a long-forgotten affair into something that could destroy his marriage.
Proving that cops don't have to be dysfunctional to command a place in crime fiction, Cleary has created in Scobie Malone an ordinary bloke doing an extraordinary job. Whether negotiating the twists and turns of a complex investigation, or the more treacherous minefield that separates the sexes, Malone provides the perfect device for Cleary to apply his dry wit and at the same time deal with contemporary Australian issues.