||Year End 2003|
Interview: Robbo’s Rules
Unions: Fightback 2003
Bad Boss: Madame Lash Whips Tony
Politics: United Front
Economics: Looking Back - Looking Forward
International: Net Benefits
History: The New Guard
Poetry: What is the PM singing this Christmas?
Review: Culture That Was
The Locker Room
Backs to the Wall
Looking The Otherway At Christmas
Shane Maloney – Crime Writer
By Helen Richardson
"I have no background in the unions, the Labor Party nor in government except at the most junior level. My books, while fiction, are based on a combination of observation and information of informants," he says.
Maloney has written five comic crime novels: Stiff, The Brush-Off, Nice Try, The Big Ask and Something Fishy. They all have Murray Whelan as the sardonic detective hero.
Whelan differs from most crime heroes in being not a cop or a private eye but a political adviser and then an MP in the Labor Party Opposition during the Kennett years in Victoria.
"I wanted him to be able to move around freely from the corporate headquarters, big end of town, to the world of politics yet still be firmly rooted in the street."
"I liked the idea of a character in the Raymond Chandler tradition, who sat in a crummy office and people came in and told him lies and where those closest to him were probably stabbing him in the back."
"It seemed fairly natural then that my character should be a functionary of the Australian Labor Party."
The novels are also firmly set in the Victorian scene, although Maloney points out Melbourne has not traditionally been the setting for crime novels.
"When I first started writing these books, which is now more than ten years ago, many people thought that setting crime novels in Melbourne was a pretty unlikely proposition."
While Sydney had its 'Mr Bigs' and 'colourful racing identities' Maloney contends that such corruption was never really a factor in Melbourne.
'At least it wasn't before the Kennett Government appeared. Say what you like about Jeff Kennett but he certainly brought a sense of palpable fear to the streets of Melbourne and was second to none in helping create an atmosphere where crime fiction could plausibly thrive!"
Two of Shane Maloney's books, Stiff and The Brush Off are currently being made into feature length films for television.
David Wenham is playing Murray Whelan, John Clarke is writing the scripts and actor Sam Neill will direct The Brush-Off as his directorial debut.
While Maloney is chuffed about the dramatisation of his books he is a fiction writer first and foremost. He is currently working on the sixth instalment in the series. He won't give much away but says that Whelan is still a member of the Upper House and Jeff Kennett is still in power.
"I am just trying to get around Murray's state of mind in that situation," he says.
Fans will look forward to finding out what he does make of it. The new book is due for release in the latter part of 2004.
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