Peter Corris was born in Stawell, Victoria in 1942. When he was five his family left the country for Melbourne and he was educated at Melbourne High School and the University of Melbourne. After taking a Master's degree at Monash University and a PhD at the Australian National University (both in History), he was an academic, teaching and researching in various universities and a College of Advanced Education until 1975 when he gave up academia for journalism. He was literary editor of The National Times, 1980-81. He has travelled and lived for short periods in the Pacific, Britain, Europe and the USA.
When rich, attractive Lorraine Master hires Cliff Hardy to investigate the circumstances surrounding her husband's conviction for smuggling heroin from New Caledonia, Hardy welcomes the assignment. A week on generous expenses sniffing about under the tropical sky, escape from a cold, dry spell in Sydney - just the job. But Stewart Master's mates in Noumea prove to be a difficult and dangerous bunch.
The danger follows Hardy back to Sydney where he and his client become targets when an intricate conspiracy goes seriously wrong. Hardy deals with a tricky lawyer, a man on the run and Sydney's most corrupt ex-cop. He has allies as well, but in the end his survival will depend on his own guts, experience and savvy.