'Collis Raeburn, young tenor superstar of the Eureka Opera Company, is dead. Suicide? A tragic accident? Detective Inspector Carol Ashton is brought in to deal with the press and the prima donnas, and finds the opera's factions reveal more flamboyant drama than is usually seen on stage.
Meanwhile, the Raeburn family is following its own agenda - not to find the truth about Collis' death, but to scotch the rumour he was HIV positive. As Carol's instincts tell her 'murder', she finds her own carefully guarded private life is threatened. Unless she determines 'accidental death', her sexual preferences will be front page news.
Set in the dramatic world of passion and ambition, Off Key features the delightful Carol Ashton ...'
Source: Back cover (Allen & Unwin)
'In her fifth appearance, Det. Insp. Carol Ashton investigates the death of Collis Raeburn, "Australia's Pavarotti." Found in a Sydney hotel room, Collis appears to have committed suicide, but to Carol his death "looks staged." Suspects are copious: Kenneth Raeburn, Collis's father and manager, denies that his son was HIV-positive, despite evidence to the contrary. Collis's sister, Nicole, was fiercely--perhaps incestuously--devoted to him. The singer's life befitted grand opera: he had contentious relationships (on and off stage) with sopranos Alanna Brooks and Corinne Jawalski; he may have been about to bail out of a new opera composed by Graeme Welton and produced by Edward Livingston; and he doomed rival tenor Lloyd Clancy to second place. It is doubly tough for Carol to sort through Collis's life when her own is on the rocks: her lover, Sybil Quade, has moved out, and an anonymous caller is threatening to expose Carol as a lesbian.'
Source: Back cover (Bella Books)