I've just started The Dying Trade, the first Cliff Hardy novel by Peter Corris, the "father of Australian crime fiction." Hardy, a down-on-the-heels private investigator, gets a call from a rich client just when he needs the money most. I'm guessing you've heard that all before.
At least two things make this opening stand out, though. One is what I'm coming to regard as a characteristically Australian lack of self-pity and irony on the part of the first-person narrator. The other is some fine writing on Corris' part. Here's Hardy after the fateful phone call:
I leaned back in my chair and dropped the receiver onto the handset. I traced a dollar sign with my little finger in the dust beside the dial.
That is a graceful, creative, humorous, maybe even beautiful way of making a familiar point.
© Peter Rozovsky 2006
Australian crime fiction