Flush: A Robin MacFarland Mystery
a novel by Sky Curtis

978-1-77133-373-3
312 Pages
May 24, 2017
New Fiction All Titles Novel

$22.95

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Flush: A Robin MacFarland Mystery a novel by Sky Curtis

Robin MacFarland is a somewhat eccentric and highly intelligent journalist for the Home and Garden section of a Toronto paper, who at age fifty-five 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.

“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. C.S. Sr. Program Analyst, Ministry of Children and Youth  Services, Government of Ontario (retired)

“Watching Robin come into her own was both heartwarming and hilarious as she solves the story of a lifetime. I really enjoyed this book.”

—Tania McCabe  BscN Registered Nurse

“Sky Curtis has written an absorbing mystery that is achingly funny and poignant too. She seamlessly combines the intimate lives of her characters with socially relevant concerns and environmental destruction. One of the best mysteries I've read in many years and one of my top recommendations for this year.”

—Dr. Caroline Meyer ND, Faculty at Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

Flush: An Environmental Mystery

Sky Curtis was born in Toronto, Canada and has lived in England as well as the Canadian maritimes, travelling to both places frequently. Sky has worked as an editor, author, software designer, magazine writer, scriptwriter, poet, teacher, and children’s writer. She has published over a dozen books. Passionate about literacy and involved with youth, her entertaining syndicated children’s column appeared in weeklies across the country for almost ten years. Her poetry has appeared in several literary journals, including The Antigonish Review, Canadian Forum, and This Magazine. Currently living in mostly in Toronto with her family and pets, Sky writes adult fiction and non-fiction.

     I was such a failure. As I sat on the edge of the cold tub
I heard the word over and over. Fail-ure. Both syllables
of the word blew through my brain like the melancholic
whistle of a passing train.
     I took a deep breath and counted on my five fingers,
bending them backwards as I said each word. “Old. Fat.
Alcoholic. Alone. Failure.” I looked at my open palm.
“Good job, Robin. Well done, ol’ girl. What a high five.”
     I shuddered another deep breath. I had hit rock bottom,
the lowest of the low. I shook my head, gritted my
teeth, and said “Shit” about thirty times as I slapped the
side of my thigh. I watched in horrified amazement as it
undulated like the waves on a beach. Shit shit shit and
just shit. Something in me snapped.
     I was so fucking done with myself I couldn’t bear it.
     I heaved myself off the tub, swiped some eye shadow
across my red rims, and lumbered off to my bedroom.
On the way down the hall I pounded the wall with my
fist, muttering like a mad monkey. Shit, shit, shit. For
good measure I kicked the baseboard. I would Vim off
the scuff mark later. When I could bend over. I flung open
my drawers and dug through the chaos of clothing until
I came across a T-shirt and lycra shorts. I shoehorned
myself into them, put on my running shoes, thundered
down the stairs, and slammed the front door behind me.
     I, Robin MacFarland, was going jogging. I didn’t care
if I should be heading off to work. I had had enough. I
was going to rebuild my life. Yes, I was. No more old,
fat, alkie, alone, failure for me. No sirree. I would start
today. I was going to lose weight. No more cheesies, no
more ice cream, no more chips. Not a nibble. I would
drink water and eat sliced grilled chicken breasts on salad.
I would run. Well, sort of.

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