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It takes a lot to rattle Jack Irish but, as Melbourne descends into a cold, wet winter, his mood is on the same trajectory. The woman in Jack's life has reconnected with an old flame. He has gambled and lost massively and seen a champion horse put down. It's not surprising that Jack's mind is not fully on the job he's being paid to do: find Robbie Colburne, occasional barman. But when Jack does get serious, he finds the freelance drink-dispenser is of great interest to some powerful people, people with very bad habits and a distinct lack of respect for the criminal justice system...Any lapse in concentration could prove fatal.