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OPEN FILE - Peter Corris
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Allen & Unwin
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Cliff Hardy, with his PI licence cancelled and his career in Sydney at an end, is preparing for a trip overseas. Cleaning out his office, he comes across an open file - an unresolved case from the late 1970s. He starts reading and is thrown back to his investigation of the disappearance of Justin Hampshire. At first glance it was a straightforward missing person matter, but the investigation took on twists and turns involving military history, Sydney criminals and corruption at high levels. To solve the Hampshire case Cliff had to travel from the south coast to the Blue Mountains. Thirty years later, unresolved questions about the file still prey on his mind.
I wondered where Peter Corris would take Cliff after the loss of his PI licence (which, it seems, he's unlikely to ever get back), but I didn't really expect it to be the 1970's. Once you're back in that old case with a few well chosen "commentaries" Corris places you firmly in the 1970's very adeptly - from the opening observations of the Ananda Marga compensation case; the shock and concern that early AIDS cases raised; the death of Bob Trimboli and even the simple lack of mobile telephones, there's a clear sense of the time.
OPEN FILE takes you right back through that 1970's investigation - the disappearance of Justin Hampshire - his mother and father (separated and not getting on at all), his younger sister (very troubled), the police that get themselves involved, the politician and his son and Frank and Hilde.
Does Cliff finally get to close the file? You'll have to read the book to find out. Where is Cliff going from here - I guess he's off on his travels, but then at the end of OPEN FILE he's only on his way to the airport. A lot can happen between Glebe and Sydney airport.
Submitted 10 years 3 weeks ago by
Saturday, April 5, 2008 - 3:34pm
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