Shortlisted for Best First Book for the Commonwealth Writers' Price for 2011
Meet Rowland Sinclair, gentleman and artist living in 1931 Sydney. Friend of the Left, son of the Right, he paints in a superbly tailored, three-piece suit and houses friends who include a poet, a painter, and a feminist sculptress whom he has painted nude and hung it in the drawing room. Is he perhaps in love with Edna? If so, she isn't having any.
Sinclair's fortune and his indifference to politics shelter him from the mounting tensions of the Great Depression roiling Australia and taking it near the brink of revolution.
One day in December 1931 comes terrible news: Uncle Rowly has been murdered in his home by unknown assailants. The murder prompts Roland to infiltrate the echelons of the old and new guard. Among them are a few right thinking men, a cadre of conservatives who became convinced of a Communist takeover and have formed a movement to combat it. In time, Rowland's investigation exposes an extraordinary conspiracy with direct personal consequences.