There's increasing signs of "write what you know" in Australian crime fiction, so it's probably not at all surprising that well known QC, and media commentator Stuart Littlemore has followed exactly that path. Although, to be honest, I'm not sure I agree 100% with labelling HARRY CURRY: COUNSEL OF CHOICE as crime fiction. Whilst the idea is definitely that our hero, Harry Curry, is a criminal defence lawyer, this book is less about the crimes and a lot more about the exploits of Curry in getting all and sundry off, each and every charge thrown at them.
HARRY CURRY etc is a series of 5 short stories, during which the reader learns that Curry is one of the sharpest legal minds ever to grace the NSW bar. He's also ugly, irascible and irresistibly attractive to a young female barrister. He's exactly what you would expect from a swashbuckling, devil-may-care, legal warrior - irreverent, intolerant, touchy, absolutely and utterly assured of his own invincibility. A brilliant tactician, at loggerheads with legal seniority, Curry is no friend of the judiciary. The book opens with Curry defending himself against allegations that he's sworn at a learned judge during a case and moves onto him fostering the young, beautiful Arabella Engineer, English barrister, Indian beauty, she of the hopeless infatuation with Curry, whilst he awaits the return of his practising certificate. Acting on his own behalf, or as the tactician behind Engineer's scenes, Harry Curry is unbeatable in the court, and resistant to everything Arabella can throw at him... at least for a while.
Needless to say - we're talking, one hopes, just a little bit tongue in cheek here. Although there was a time when I wasn't sure whether that was the case - there are points where, even when you know the lawyer is always going to win the case in this book, you just wouldn't mind a little something to go slightly wrong .... just to make Curry hover down here a little closer to the heads of we mere mortals. Perhaps that's the only minor quibble - Harry Curry - scion of the establishment, class traitor - starts out with some real potential for a bit of stereotype smashing. A little dancing on the lower side if you will. But for all his supposed fall from grace, even allowing for the old Jag he's driving unknown to it's owner, banged up as he is in jail, somehow Curry doesn't really seem to have sunk that low. Maybe his home location doesn't quite telegraph a dramatic step away from the privileged background for those from other States.
Curry is undoubtedly no Rumpole, and it's unlikely that the case of The Live Dead Man will ever quite scale the heights of infamy of the Penge Bungalow Murders, but for what it is - a series of legal tall tales, HARRY CURRY: COUNSEL OF CHOICE is a gently amusing little wander around in the far end of crime process. I think I heard that a second book is in the pipeline - it will be interesting to see where Littlemore heads Harry Curry.