Peter Corris' first novel was published in 1980 and he has been a full time writer since 1982. Peter Corris is credited with reviving the fully-fledged Australian crime novel with local settings and reference points and with a series character firmly rooted in Australian culture - Cliff Hardy. Peter Corris was born in Stawell, Victoria in 1942. When he was five his family left the country for Melbourne and he was educated at Melbourne High School and the University of Melbourne. After taking a Masters degree at Monash University and a PhD at the Australian National University (both in History), he was an academic, teaching and researching in various universities and a College of Advanced Education until 1975 when he gave up academia for journalism. He was literary editor of The National Times, 1980-81. He has travelled and lived for short periods in the Pacific, Britain, Europe and the USA. His interests are reading and writing, weight training, golf (which he plays off a very high handicap), walking the dog, swimming and films. He is married to writer Jean Bedford and they have three daughters. He lives on the Illawarra coast of NSW.
Cliff Hardy is a private detective based in Sydney, Australia. The series started in 1980 and has been going strongly ever since with the main character being put through many hard times, both personally and professionally. The books provide the reader with an extreme close up view of the city of Sydney and it's surrounding towns with plenty of insight into life in Australia. The books are most definitely hardboiled, filled with action and a tough leading man who never quits - often to his own detriment.
The first book in the Cliff Hardy series is The Dying Trade (1980) and it introduces the Sydney-based private detective as he sits in his office. He is hired by a wealthy man to investigate the source of a series of harassing phone calls and letters that his sister has been receiving.
The case gives us an opportunity to get a good feel for the way hardy operates, his penchant for confrontation over stealth and his capability for violence. We also take the opportunity to understand that he is also a very effective investigator.
Read the full review of The Dying Trade.
The second Cliff Hardy book is White Meat (1981) and it starts out as a missing person case that takes the detective firstly to La Perouse in Sydney’s south-east and then up the east coast of New South Wales to Macleay.
As with the first book, the investigation begins in one direction before it is diverted and heads off in a completely different one. It seems that when Cliff Hardy starts picking at a problem all sorts of nasty truths become uncovered.
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The third book in the Cliff Hardy series is The Marvellous Boy (1982) and it starts off as another missing person case. The story takes Hardy back at least 30 years as he tracks down the past of a barely known or remembered man.
The investigation attracts the attention of someone who would like the past to be forgotten and comes after the detective in an attempt to stop the investigation.
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The fourth book in the Cliff Hardy series is The Empty Beach (1983) and it establishes something that appears to happen in quite a lot of the Hardy investigations, he takes a lot of physical abuse. He is looking for a businessman who went for a swim at Bondi Beach one day and simply disappeared. The suggestion is that he faked his own death because of failing business interests.
The book was also turned into a motion picture that starred Bryan Brown as Cliff Hardy. This is also the book in which Hardy meets, for the first time, police detective Frank Hardy, an ally in the police force who would become a regular character throughout the series.
Read the full review of The Empty Beach.
The next book in the series, the 5th, is the first book of short stories that was released by Corris. The book is titled Heroin Annie (1984) and it contains a diverse selection of 10 short stories that provide us with some interesting cases that are quickly solved but involve more than their fair share of danger. We also get some insight into Hardy's early life when he was still married to his wife, Cyn.
These short stories are definitely worth checking out for fans of the series.
Read the full review of Heroin Annie.
The 6th entry in the Cliff Hardy series is Make Me Rich (1985) proved to be one of the fast-paced stories that starts with the troubling missing person and becomes a highly emotional chase along dangerous streets.
No one is more familiar than Hardy with the sleazy back streets and pubs of Kings Cross, and he follows a twisted trail over dangerous ground. As well as a hitman out to get him he deals with politically protected criminals and corrupt journalists - and meets the intriguing Helen Broadway for the first time.
Read the full review of Make Me Rich.