Mystery and crime books from Australia. News, views, reviews, releases and author appearances - crime fiction in Australia. Crime novels, mystery novels, detective stories, police procedural books, thrillers and soft-boiled mysteries

Friday, June 15, 2007

Spotlight Australian Male Private Investigators

Continuing my spotlight series of some of the broader categories of Australian crime I have moved on to Australian Male Private Investigators. After the long list of female P.I.'s I was expecting a formidable list of male detectives to feature. But the list is surprisingly short which leads me to believe that I have a lot still to read or a lot that I have missed.

So if you notice any glaring omissions let me know and I'll add them (it would also be handy to pick up some recommendations myself).

And away we go...

Author : Peter Corris P.I. : Cliff Hardy

Recognised as the godfather of Australian crime Peter Corris epitomises the essence of Australian crime writing. With 31 books in the Cliff Hardy series he has cemented himself at the forefront of hardboiled fiction in Australia. Cliff Hardy has seen it all. He's been knocked out at least once per book, suffered through a succession of failed relationships, been shot at, blown up and generally abused in more ways than one can imagine. If it's tough, lean crime writing you're after then you should start with The Dying Trade and work your way through to the just released Appeal Denied.

Visit the official Peter Corris website for more on Cliff Hardy.

Author : Kel Richards P.I. : Benjamin Bartholomew

Here is a most innovative idea for a detective series. Set in Jerusalem at around 33A.D. but with all the mod-cons of the 20th century, Bartholomew investigates some of the most important mysteries mentioned in the bible. And the first is the disappearance of the body of Jesus Davidson, a man who was executed but whose body mysteriously disappeared 3 days later. These books are very clever filled with irony and a just a hint of theological philosophy.

Titles : The Case of the Vanishing Corpse, The Case of the Secret Assassin, The Second Death, The Case of the Damascus Dagger

Author : Susan Geason P.I. : Syd Fish

Fish is a Sydney-based private detective who features in 3 books - the first, Shaved Fish a book of short stories. His realm is in and around the inner-Sydney hotspot of Kings Cross. He has a dry wit that is in abundant display while he calls in favours from near and far. a big drawing factor of the series is the vivid descriptions of the local Sydney scenes.

Titles : Shaved Fish, Dogfish, Shark Bait

Author : Steve Wright P.I. : Barry Donovan

Another series of only 3 books written in the early 1990s, they introduce Barry Donovan who was doing it particularly tough in London before relocating to Sydney. Donovan has the daunting task of adjusting to life in Australia while trying to fit in as a private detective. In evidence is a superb wit (something that most of these series share), but also many of the traditional features of hardboiled PI's - the drinking, the introspection, the loneliness, the tendancy to get beaten around the head.

Titles : Love Avalon, A Drop In the Ocean, A Break In the Traffic

Author : Scott Bywater P.I. : Sam Chauvel

Although Bywater and Chauvel have already been covered in my Comic Novels post, I'll quickly mention the series again. Sam Chauvel is a wannabe private investigator just starting out on the job with a lot to learn. More blundering than effective, there are 2 books to enjoy filled with good-natured crime fighting fun.

Titles : Captain Zooba To the Rescue, Love Is In the Air-Conditioning

We can also move back to the pulp era and include the vast Larry Kent series, and Carter Brown's Rick Holman books, Robert Dudgeon wrote Max Strong books. There are surely many others from this era who also may or may not have been Australian authors.

As I said earlier there must be heaps of P.I. series I've missed so I'll be more than happy to be reminded of them.

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