I love Cliff Hardy. I really like these books as well - they are probably the closest we have to current day "Pulp" style books - quick, short little vignettes that tell the tale and entertain hugely. Open File is one of two new Cliff Hardy's I've got to read at the moment (spoilt rotten I am). Dodging the prologue that fills in why Cliff is re-visiting a case from the late 1980's.
"1987 I was sitting in my St Peters Lane office, reading about the $100,000 compensation being paid to the members of the Ananda Marga sect for wrongful imprisonment over the Hilton hotel bombing. They'd served seven years and a quick calculation told me that amounted to a bit over fourteen thousand a year. Not princely. They'd been fed and housed, but I doubted they were grateful. The pardon didn't surprise me: the little I'd had to do with security service types suggested that most of them would have had trouble passing a true or false test where the odds where even."
How's that for an opening paragraph! Straight back to the 1980's right into the middle of the Ananda Marga compensation claims, you're instantly in both the place and the time. And there's a dig at the security services as a final flourish. Gotta love Peter Corris