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
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 a straightforward missing person matter, the investigation took on twists and turns involving military history, Sydney criminals and corruption at high levels. The Hampshire case took Cliff from the south coast to the Blue Mountains and posed some unresolved questions which have preyed on his mind for 20 years . . .