Famous for her Phryne Fisher series of historical mystery novels, she is also notable for her Corinna Chapman, Delphic Women, and Stormbringer books, as well as for such standalone titles as The Broken Wheel (1996), Cave Rats (1997), and Feral (1998).
She earned bachelor's degrees in English and Law from the University of Melbourne and worked as a defense attorney before publishing her debut novel, Cocaine Blues, in 1989.
Her young adult novel The Three-Pronged Dagger (2002) won the Davitt Award. Her other honors include the Aurealis Award (for The Broken Wheel) and the Ned Kelly Award for lifetime contribution to the crime writing genre.
She was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, and is the long-term partner of David Greagg.
She is a contemporary of fellow Australian crime fiction writer and young adult author Jennifer Rowe.