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Finalist, 2018 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Crime Novel.
Robin MacFarland is a somewhat eccentric and highly intelligent journalist for the Home and Garden section of a Toronto paper, who at age 55 looks aghast in the mirror and pronounces herself, “Old. Fat. Alcoholic. Alone. Failure.” She resolves to lose weight, quit drinking, and try online dating, although not perhaps in quite that order. The intrigue begins when Robin chooses to cover a water-cooling-system conference where she thinks there will be a lot of men. By coincidence, her first online date is with the owner of the water company who is found dead after they have coffee. Dauntless, Robin wades into what is now a murder investigation, under the supervision of her new editor, and with the help of her best friend, Cindy, a crime reporter. The novel is framed around a plot to steal Canada’s fresh water, but it hinges on Robin’s hilarious journey through the middle portion of her life, a serious social issue, and a highly ironic murder weapon.
What the critics say
“Here is a Toronto mystery that should be on everyone’s must-read list. Meet fifty-five year old journalist Robin MacFarland: a widow, mother of four, socialist, feminist, and Unitarian Buddhist who drinks too much, weighs too much, and has a wicked sense of humour. When her first date in six years lands her in the middle of a murder inquiry, we learn how smart Robin is, how resourceful, and how humane. A truly wonderful and engaging character, the delicious scandals and politics of a newsroom, and a clever plot of environmental intrigue: the combination is as irresistible as red wine and chocolate.” (Jan Rehner, previous winner of the Arthur Ellis award for Best New Mystery with Just Murder)
“Flush is an endearing, engaging, well-plotted, feel-good treat. I devoured it in one sitting! Robin MacFarland is a gutsy yet vulnerable heroine; she’s a mother, a daughter, a good friend, and a more successful career woman than she gives herself credit for. Her sexual musings are hilarious, as are her self-observations and honesty. This gripping whodunnit does justice to various Toronto neighbourhoods and is a thoroughly enjoyable read. I hope there will be many more MacFarland adventures to come!” (Lisa de Nikolits, author of The Nearly Girl and No Fury Like That)
“It is easy to relate to Robin MacFarland, the self-deprecating and funny middle-aged journalist as she engages in her own course of self improvement while wracking her brain to uncover a plot. Sky Curtis has deftly woven together a long-standing social justice issue with a recent environmental concern to create a fast paced and entertaining mystery novel. Hilarious and moving, this book is beautifully written and highly recommended.” (Kate Greco, BA, Dip. CS, senior program analyst, Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Government of Ontario (retired))