That Empty Feeling
Cliff Hardy #41
Allen & Unwin
An unexpected obituary takes Cliff Hardy on a trip down memory lane to a case he’s been trying to forget for twenty years: oil, fraud, boxing, racing – and murder.
One case still haunts Hardy
Legendary PI Cliff Hardy has reached an age when the obituaries have become part of his reading, and one triggers his memory of a case in the late 1980s. Back then Sydney was awash with colourful characters, and Cliff is reminded of a case involving ‘Ten-Pound Pom’ Barry Bartlett and racing identity and investor Sir Keith Mountjoy.
Bartlett, a former rugby league player and boxing manager, then a prosperous property developer, had hired Hardy to check on the bona fides of young Ronny Saunders, newly arrived from England, and claiming to be Bartlett’s son from an early failed marriage. The job brought Hardy into contact with Richard Keppler, head of the no-rules Botany Security Systems, Bronwen Marr, an undercover AFP operative, and sworn adversary Des O’Malley.
At a time when corporate capitalism was running riot, an embattled Hardy searched for leads – was Ronny Saunders a pawn in a game involving big oil and fraud on an international scale? Two murders raise the stakes and with the sinister figure of Lady Betty Lee Mountjoy pulling the strings, it was odds against a happy outcome.
I am feeling very comfortable with this writer and his protagonist Cliff Hardy despite the fact that I have only read a few of the forty one books in the series. There is something about the writing style that invites the reader into the narrative and carries you along until the final chapter has been read and the narrative has reached its destined conclusion.
I like Cliff Hardy. I like his involvement and dedication to the cases he works on. I like the story telling – rich, character based and set in Australian locations. This particular story had a miasma of sadness and regret that infiltrates the pages, the source only fully revealed at the end. Poor Cliff.
This is a series I will continue to follow and enjoy!