Jon Stephen Cleary

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Jon Stephen Cleary (1917 –2010) was an Australian writer and novelist. He wrote numerous books, including The Sundowners (1951), a portrait of a rural family in the 1920s as they move from one job to the next, and The High Commissioner (1966), the first of a long series of popular detective fiction works featuring Sydney Police Inspector Scobie Malone. A number of Cleary’s works have been the subject of film and television adaptations. The success of The Sundowners, which would sell over three million copies, enabled Cleary to write full-time. He lived in Italy for a year then returned home to Australia in 1953 after seven years away. However, he continued to live abroad for long stints, notably in Spain and London. His novels became increasingly set in countries other than Australia, with Cleary travelling extensively for the purposes of research. During his lifetime, Cleary was one of the most popular Australian authors of all time. According to Murray Waldren, “his own assessment was that he lacked a poetic eye but had an eye for colour and composition and was strong on narrative and dialogue. And he took pride in the research underpinning his works” (“The Australian”, 22 July 2010).