Detective Inspector Carol Ashton investigates, bringing with her a formidable reputation for competence. She soon uncovers tangled relationships and motives for murder among the six teaching staff, along with a maze of malicious anonymous letters and threatening phone calls. And then there is yet another corpse.
Carol's investigation is further complicated by the flashfire attraction between herself and prime suspect Sybil Quade. Carol fights her desire, knowing its potential to compromise her investigation. Nor does Sybil welcome an "unnatural" obsession with the alluring woman who is inexorably gathering the evidence to convict her of multiple murder.'
Source: back cover (Naiad, 1988)
'Four women dead, each strangled with an orange cord, their bodies ritually arranged. Detective Inspector Carol Ashton and Detective Sergeant Mark Bourke have a serial killer on their hands.'
Source : publication summary
'Detective Inspector Carol Ashton is close to burnout, tired of hiding the fact that she is gay and, for the first time, seriously considering leaving the police force. Her colleague - the reliable Sergeant Bourke - mentions an "open and shut" case. Charlotte Darcy, the suspect, is obviously guilty of the murder of her brother. Carol is less sure. Darcy Designs has depended on Charlotte's creativity. So why is Charlotte now so zombie-like? And what else is hidden in the stylish closets of this famous family? Carol's interest in her work rekindles as she solves a mystery as intriguing as any in her long career. But even as she does so she is reminded that her personal life cannot be put on hold forever ...'
Source: Back cover (Allen & Unwin, 1991)
'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)
'Uneasy about her career choice since receiving a gunshot wound, Australian Detective Inspector Carol Ashton, an acknowledged lesbian, receives another risky and unwanted assignment: she must guard a famous visiting American feminist from dangerous enemies.'
Source: Bookseller (Sighted 22/6/2010)
'Australian top cop Carol Ashton must outsmart a fiendishly clever killer. A careless jogger plummets from a great height. A man is the victim of a fatal hit-and-run. A woman topples over a cliff while sightseeing. Tragic accidents occur everyday. When Detective Inspector Carol Ashton is called in to investigate Captain John Trelawney's fatal fall from Sydney's scenic North Head, she discovers that his brutal demise may fit into a disturbing state-wide pattern of apparently accidental deaths. Carol's suspicions are heightened when a closer look at these accidents reveals that they effectively eliminate a problem person and provide a substantial insurance payout. But before Carol can catch the killer she must prove that these seemingly unrelated deaths are, in fact, murder and very much related.'
Source: Publisher's website http://www.bellabooks.com/ (Sighted 16/6/10)
'Is Carol playing into a killer's plan? A series of random deaths suddenly fall into a pattern when reclusive, eccentric billionaire Thurmond Rule dies, leaving an immense estate, but no valid will. With no close relatives - Rule's son and only heir vanished mysteriously years before - the search begins to find more distant kin who may have a claim to the Rule billions. And there would be several more applicants vying for the money, but for the disturbing fact that many of them have recently died or been killed. Detective Inspector Carol Ashton speculates that one among the remaining would-be heirs could be responsible for thinning the field so drastically but is baffled that a killer would draw such oblivious attention to themselves. As the authorities contemplate protecting anyone with a blood link to Thurmond Rule, Carol fears she may be unwittingly shielding a killer and playing into a deadly plan ...'
Source: Publisher's website http://www.bellabooks.com/ (Sighted 22/6/10)