Cliff Hardy is back at it again in the 31st book of the series, Appeal Denied (pub. Allen & Unwin), although this time his livelihood is on the morphine drip (as Vince Van Patten likes to say during WPT tournaments).
He doesn't mince any words right from the get go with the first paragraph summing up his predicament:
Following my last major case, I was given a suspended sentence for various offences. This, together with an earlier serious infringement and a brief prison spell, caused the enquiry agents to scrub me for life.
In describing the Glebe police station, the description is so vivid it gets your nostrils twitching:
I've been in the Glebe police station quite a few times but never for drinks and nibbles. it's been tarted up more than once over the years, but something of its essence always comes back - a look, smel and feel that speak of long hours, tiredness, loss, anger, frustration and take away food.
Then we get a rare glimpse into Cliff Hardy's childhood:
The emptiness was making me think back further than I cared to go. Filling in the spaces. It'd been a strange household to grow up in, requiring deception and negotiation between the parents every step of the way. Perhaps it had stood me in good stead for my profession.
Almost without fail Cliff Hardy loses consciousness at least once per book, so I thought I would capture the crucial moment for you in Cliff's words:
A strong arm wrapped around my neck and expert fingers felt for the carotid artery. I blacked out, floated, and didn't feel anything when I hit the ground.
Here's a bit of insight into the way Cliff likes to operate - how he perceives a P.I. should go about things:
Talking to key-tappers and tapping keys is all very well, but it doesn't feel like real work. I didn't want to just sit around waiting for people to get back to me with information that might or might not be useful. I felt I (had to) do something.
And that, right there, is one of the main reasons that so many crime fiction fans love reading Peter Corris' Cliff Hardy books. Cliff does stuff!
I can assure you that even though Cliff has lost his licence, it doesn't stop him from doing what he does best. He's a stirrer, a smart-arse and a highly effective private enquiry agent.