SHARK BAIT - Susan Geason
Shark Bait is the 3rd Syd Fish book (and sadly the last), which has been sitting in my shelves for years now, being carefully rationed because there are so few of them.
Syd Fish is an ex-political minder, turned Private Investigator - there is a touch of the Murray Whelan's and Cliff Hardy's about him no doubt about that. These books are light-hearted, funny and quick little books - the mystery is not the strongest point, the point is the entertainment - and there are some great quotes in this book - this gem probably sums up the style of the book the best:
"Sensing a stranger in his territory, a well-muscled number in white overalls and protective goggles - no earmuffs: that's for wimps - approached, holding an acetylene torch at a threatening angle. I backed off slightly. Pushing up his goggles to reveal a hard, stupid face and bad teeth, he asked me what I wanted. I'd finally met an oxymoron."
And there's plenty more where that came from.
Old Selwyn Dixon has been boring Syd Fish and other regulars at the Acropolis cafe for years with stories about his heyday as a jockey. When he goes missing, nobody notices but Val, the big-hearted waitress at the Kings Cross greasy spoon. Even Selwyn's employer, a social-climbing Sydney trainer, seems oddly uninterested in the little jockey's welfare.
When Val guilts Syd into looking for Selwyn, the clues lead to Crash Through, a panel beating shop that serves as business headquarters for a bikie gang, and ultimately to the racing world. Assisted by taciturn bouncer Luther Huck, and journalist Lizzie Darcy, Syd is catapulted into a case that includes car bombings, scheming women, a dawn motor cycle ride, an unpleasant experience at the morgue, and a shoot-out in Rushcutters Bay Park.