Two novellas, connected by PI Jack Munro, COORPAROO BLUES and THE IRISH FANDANGO are an interesting historical hard-boiled combination of PI, mean streets, fallen women, drinking and the whole nine yards.
The first story, COORPAROO BLUES, introduces Jack, war veteran, ex-cop, nose for trouble, attractor of a simply staggering number of women, PI that you turn to when things are going to get nasty.
The second story, set a few months later, sees the US troop angle switched for political refugees and Communists around every corner, and a suicide that isn't.
So we're not exactly talking scenarios and a counter-hero of a type that we've not seen before. Albeit that Munro comes with a hefty dose of Australian colloquial language (so much so that they've included a glossary at the back of the book for those less used to the way that the common language can divide). He's also walking the seamier side of Brisbane at a period in history that not a lot of dark and noir current day fiction addresses. And it's done very well - the setting feels authentic, right down to the sense of heat and grime that comes with a Brisbane summer. We're also talking, mercifully a couple of intricate plots that were clever and well formed and resolved in two such short novellas.
The thing with this sort of crime fiction is always that there's a sense that attitudes of the time must be clear cut, all women are either whores or saints, all men gangsters or heroes. Even though Munro is a fair bit more nuanced than like hero's of the type, he is, a good bloke to have on your side in a tight spot and a man seemingly irresistible to any female within range. Definitely one for fans of noir, particularly as it's been a long time since Australia's mean streets have been explored in this way.