Jon Stephen Cleary
(22 November 1917 _ 19 July 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.
Cleary was born in Erskineville, Sydney and educated at Marist Brothers College, Randwick. Cleary enlisted in the Australian army on 27 May 1940 and served in the Middle East before being transferred to the Military History Unit. Cleary began writing short stories regularly in the army, selling his first story in 1940.
Cleary's first novel was the 1947 work, You Can't See 'Round Corners, which dwelt on the life of an army deserter wanted for the sensational murder of his girlfriend in wartime Sydney.
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.
Writing the Scobie Malone series of novels enabled him to tell Australian stories which appealed to an international audience, and he remained popular with readers throughout his career. His last novel was published in 2007.
He was a regular churchgoer, attending Mass every Sunday. For the last three years of his life, he was in ill-health, attended by a full-time carer, and in and out of hospital with heart problems. He died on 19 July 2010, aged 92.
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