What would Australian crime writing be like if Peter Corris hadn't given us Cliff Hardy? If Peter Corris hadn't persisted for four years to get the first Cliff Hardy novel (The Dying Trade) published?
Over more than three decades and forty two Hardy novels later, the crime fiction scene in Australia has changed, but it would not perhaps be as strong as it is without the hard-bitten private investigator and his creator. Indeed, Corris was often described as the godfather of Australian crime, and when you think about it, there is no other person who could wear that description so aptly.
Hardy is the quintessential larrikin, with a quick eye and a colourful turn of phrase. His method of solving crime was not straight-forward; often it seemed as if he was pouring petrol on a fire to force the perpetrators into giving themselves away. One of the pleasures in reading the novels he featured in, was not just the recognisable 'Australianess' but also the recognisable 'Sydney-ness.' Over the years the city and its society changed, but there was Cliff, with his cigarettes and booze and talent for attracting trouble, observing it all and reflecting back to the reader a gritty moll of a city with its corrupt and undeniable beauty.
Abbey's customers have always been loyal devotees of Hardy, and each new title was greeted with delight and anticipation - what was Hardy getting up to now? We have generally stocked an extensive range of Hardy novels, and they are consistent sellers - once discovered by a new reader, the vivid descriptions and twisty storylines prove addictive!
Vale Peter Corris; your fans will mourn you but be forever grateful you turned your vast talents to creating such a marvellous character and in doing so, changing the landscape of Australian crime writing.
Former Manager at Abbey’s, Ann Leahy shared her anecdote of Peter:
“We asked him to come to the opening of Hunter St Books in Newcastle and he came. The audience begged him to set a Cliff Hardy novel in Newcastle. He did. What a legend and a lovely man.”
Peter was also a regular columnist for The Newtown Review of Books, which Abbey's has a long association with, run by Peter's wife, Jean Bedford, and Linda Funnell. Everyone at Abbey's sends their well wishes for Jean and her family.
- The Dying Trade (1980)
- White Meat (1981)
- The Marvellous Boy (1982)
- The Empty Beach (1983)
- Heroin Annie: Cliff Hardy cases (1984)
- Make Me Rich (1985)
- The Big Drop: Cliff Hardy cases (1985)
- The Greenwich Apartments (1986)
- Deal Me Out (1986)
- The January Zone (1987)
- Man in the Shadows: Cliff Hardy cases (1988)
- O'Fear (1990)
- Wet Graves (1991)
- Aftershock (1992)
- Beware of the Dog (1992)
- Burn: Cliff Hardy cases (1993)
- Matrimonial Causes (1993)
- Casino (1994)
- The Washington Club (1997)
- Forget Me if You Can: Cliff Hardy cases (1997)
- The Reward (1997)
- The Black Prince (1998)
- The Other Side of Sorrow (1999)
- Lugarno (2001)
- Salt & Blood (2002)
- Master's Mates (2003)
- The Coast Road (2004)
- Taking Care of Business: Cliff Hardy cases (2004)
- Saving Bille (2005)
- The Undertow (2006)
- Appeal Denied (2007)
- The Big Score: Cliff Hardy cases (2007)
- Open File (2008)
- Deep Water (2009)
- Torn Apart (2010)
- Follow the Money (2011)
- Comeback (2012)
- The Dunbar Case (2013)
- Silent Kill (2014)
- Gun Control (2015)
- That Empty Feeling (2015)
- Win, Lose or Draw (2017)
Plus the audiobooks are also great to listen to:
And in closing, you might like to read this entertaining and candid interview with Peter, on the Pulp Curry blog, titled:
A sit down with the Godfather: an interview with Peter Corris.
What point did you think Cliff Hardy went from imitative to unique?
"The Empty Beach."
And that was made into a movie.
"That’s the one. Ratshit movie. Terrible film. But the money enabled me to put a deposit on a house. My stand-up comedy line is that I much preferred the house to the film."
Since 1968 ~ Abbey's 131 York Street Sydney ~ An Aladdin's cave for readers