Murder in the Groove/Frame



When reclusive former rock-star Andrew “The Lizard” Zirk accepts an invitation to a rock and roll party in honour of Australia’s nastiest, sleaziest, crudest and most successful musician, Sydney Melbourne, he little realises he has just started a new career as Australia’s most successful crime sleuth. Before his Fender has squealed its first note in anger, Sydney is dead of an apparent drug overdose. His long-standing roadie has provided the warm-up, zapped an hour earlier by 240 volts of deadly electricity. The suspects are stacked like 45s in an old Wurlitzer.

Get down, get funky, it’s the Murder Hour, and your M.C., Andrew Zirk, is just about to find the Groove that will unmask the killer. Murder In The Groove, the first in a series of whodunnit mysteries featuring Zirk, was published in December 1998 by Pan Macmillan, Australia.

FrameIt was in 1980, while holidaying on Crete, that I read my first Agatha Christie novel. It was a good one, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. From that moment I became hooked on whodunnits with complex plots. Within a year or two I had read every Agatha Christie novel there was.

My friend David Zampatti and I then conceived of the idea of staging Murder Weekends: weekends where guests could go away and partake of a play set in the 1920s or 1930s, where there was a scripted plot acted out by a cast, but also scope for the guests’ involvement in hunting out clues. This was our original idea and was conceived either before or at the same time as British murder weekends. By this time I had stopped playing music full-time. We staged our first murder weekend in 1983 and it gave me an idea of how to structure a whodunnit.

Murder In The Groove is a temporary move away from the dark, complex, socio-crime thriller style of my first two novels. It is lighter, more satiric, and above all shorter – although the plot, I hope, is still tricky enough for my readers. My hero, Andrew Zirk, is a real departure from the usual down-at-heel, blue-collar Aussie detective. Zirk is rich and a bit of a snob. But he does have a heart. I’m hopeful the Andrew “The Lizard” Zirk series will be a popular one.