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By Peter Corris

Hardy's 6th nail-biting case

Cliff Hardy is on the get together to appear after the work and throw out the drunks—gently. yet there he meets Helen Broadway, who pursuits him; and Paul Guthrie, who desires Hardy to appear for his stepson, Ray. Hardy delves into the sleazy international of Kings move backstreets and lowdown pubs, following a twisting direction laid via a hitman, a legal with heavy political security, and a seedy, alcoholic member of his personal career. there is scarcely sufficient time for Helen Broadway, fascinating even though she nonetheless is. Hardy pushes directly to the ultimate war of words. it is tough: the weapons are out, and the chances aren't any help.

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I worked like a dog at it. Blew a marriage to pieces in the process. I got married again ten years ago. She’s twenty years younger than me, and had two sons from her first marriage. They were about eight and nine at the time. I didn’t have any kids, and I helped to raise those two. ’ The value of sentiments like that depends on the speaker. I rated Guthrie pretty high: he wasn’t big-noting himself about his business success, just filling me in. And he’d put it down to work rather than brilliance—always a sign that the person is a realist.

He sucked his can dry and put it down carefully on the deck. He went into the saloon and came out with a big cheque book and a gold pen. ‘I can’t bear to think of that boy ruining his life. I can’t do anything directly about it myself—too old. I don’t trust the police, not in this instance anyway. ’ ‘Before you write it’, I said, ‘you have to ask yourself a few questions you might not like the answers to. Why’s he hanging around with Catchpole and company? What’s his trouble? If you hire me, that’s what you’re going to find out, maybe.

I took another sip. ’ ‘Not for killing, Mr Hardy. ’ * * * * 2 P AUL Guthrie was exaggerating, of course; people usually do when they want something from you. But his problem was real enough. He was, he told me, sixty-two years old, a businessman with interests in sporting and leisure activities. He owned a couple of marinas in Sydney, leased game fishing boats to the rich and had controlling shares in a ski lodge and a dude ranch. He used that expression with obvious distaste, which lifted his stocks with me.

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