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.
Semi-retired. De-licensed. But Cliff Hardy is once again fighting for justice and tracking down evil when his cousin is brutally murdered - did the shotgun blast find its target, or was it meant for Hardy?
Hardy has never been much of a family man, so when he meets his second cousin Patrick Malloy it's like being hit with a left hook to the solar plexus - Malloy is his double. Cliff and his cousin become friends and travel to attend a gathering of the Irish Travell - the gypsy-like folk from whom they are descended. On their return, Malloy is brutally murdered - but was the shotgun blast intended for him or for Hardy? Hardy is de-licensed, semi-retired ... but this investigation is personal.
The plot becomes still more personal when Malloy's ex-wife, Sheila, comes onto the scene. Hardy has his own enemies and Malloy's to consider as he searches for the killer. Clues point in many directions - to Sheila's motives, to Malloy's suspect business dealings, to his time as a mercenary in Angola.
The search takes Hardy north to a para-military training camp and south to a meeting of Traveller descendants in Kangaroo Valley. Other players have other interests and their playing style is ruthless.