The 6th book released in the Cliff Hardy series, we are treated to a straightforward investigation in which Hardy plays it pretty much by the book. This is the type of case that requires some standard investigation techniques and that is how it plays out. The book is notable in that Hardy has met up with Helen Broadway for a chance at some romance.
Title : Make Me Rich
Author : Peter Corris
ISBN : 9781760110192
Pages : 192
Published Date : 1985
Publisher : Allen & Unwin
Sub-Genre : Private Detective, Hardboiled
Main Characters : Cliff Hardy
Cliff Hardy is at the party to look after the paintings and throw out the drunks - gently.
But there he meets Helen Broadway, who interests him; and Paul Guthrie, who wants Hardy to look for his step-son, Ray.Hardy delves into the sleazy world of Kings Cross backstreets and lowdown pubs, following a twisting path laid by a hitman, a criminal with heavy political protection, and a seedy alcoholic member of his own profession. There's scarcely enough time for Helen Broadway, interesting though she still is.
Hardy pushes on to the final confrontation. Its rough: the guns are out, and the odds are no help...
Review of Make Me Rich
Cliff Hardy is a private investigator who works, lives and plays in Sydney, dividing his time between the mean streets of the inner city and the more friendly locales around the beaches. He’s a tough character, part of the traditional PI set who work alone out of a dingy old-fashioned office, keeps a bottle of scotch in the bottom drawer next to his Colt .45 and never gives up on a case. Make Me Rich continues the series written by Australia’s "godfather of crime" Peter Corris delivering a fairly routine story that is most notable for the development of the series regular characters.
Working at a party where his job was to ensure none of the hosts valuables went missing and that the drunks behaved themselves, Cliff Hardy meets 2 people who are about to make life much more exciting, but for vastly different reasons. He and Helen Broadway both recognise the instant spark of attraction that passes between them, but are forced to put their thoughts on hold thanks to the interruption by Paul Guthrie.
Guthrie is a wealthy man who sees in Cliff an understated capability that he can use in solving a problem that is troubling him. He’s willing to pay a lot of money to hire the private investigator and Cliff is more than willing to receive it. The job is to find Ray Guthrie, Paul’s son, who has been missing ever since the two men had had a bitter argument. The big concern for Guthrie was that Ray had been seen around town in the company of some career criminals, a couple of blokes who could only mean trouble for the young man.
As often happens, the original job for which Hardy has been hired takes a bit of a back seat as he digs his way deeper into the case. There are some heavy hitters who also have a stake in Ray Guthrie and would prefer that nosy private investigators keep out of their business.
Make Me Rich exhibits the tight, clipped prose that has distinguished the majority of Peter Corris Cliff Hardy series, reflecting the no-nonsense attitude of the protagonist as he tells it like it is. The style is brutally frank and to the point and very typical of what we have come to expect of hardboiled detective novels.
As far as the plot itself is concerned, I found it to be a fairly plodding affair as Hardy makes slow progress in his investigation. Other than a brief moment of excitement when he follows a lead to Queensland, it’s all pretty low key until the loose ends are joined together in a brief whirlwind of a finale. Even then, I had the feeling that there were quite a few unanswered questions that left I would have liked answered.
Make Me Rich heralds the start of the relationship that Cliff will enjoy on a part-time basis over the years with Helen Broadway. Its an intense and passionate start that reveals a rarely seen semi-soft side of Hardy as he finds in Helen a woman who complements his personality nicely, mainly for her independence and confidence in what she wants.
The 5th Cliff Hardy novel (6th if you count the short story collection, Heroin Annie) has now fallen into a comfortable pattern with a solid network of characters to back Hardy up in his investigation. These characters have been picked up from earlier books and give returning readers a strong sense of familiarity at their reintroduction. Although Make Me Rich is not the strongest book in the series in terms of plot development, it’s still a very enjoyable hardboiled detective story.