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This Novella introduces Clem 'Lofty' Hills.
A former reasonably successful Jockey who suffered several falls one after the other that shook him to the core and took away his love of riding at speed on a galloping one tonne mass of muscle. His Mentor, Trainer and pseudo father-figure, Clive Montgomery of Montgomery Stables offered a future to the shattered man as a Private Investigator whose main source of income became oversighting the security role at large provincial and metropolitan Meets. Mingling with the Punters keeping an eye out for Pick-pockets, Betting Stub felons and rowdy drunken punters who had won too much, too soon!
Clem Hills' 'Office' was also his place of residence. A 3rd Floor former Cleaners' Room. At least it had running water and two windows that looked out on a dinghy, enclosed air-space.
A knock at his door was a promising start one morning. Offering that rare customer requiring his services. The estranged daughter, Suzie Sapphire, of Sydney's Number One Crime Lord, Jason Macready..…until she is shot to death in the corridor down from his drab Office. The same morning, he is hired to find the killer by Suzie Sapphire's boyfriend, Baron Labinski who moments later is arrested by Detective Inspector John Church for the crime.
Our hero feels a moral obligation to find the real killer of Suzie Sapphire, which leads him also to find his late father's murderer and takes him into the shady lanes of Kings Cross with its Bikie gangs and shady figures.
Things were getting a little desperate.
I didn't have enough credit on my plastic to replace the almost empty bottle of Scotch in my drink cabinet which was the top drawer of my desk. And the second top drawer. And the bottom drawer.
I was down to drops.
I was thinking of putting cold tea into one of the empty bottles so that people wouldn't get the wrong impression. That I was a drinker. A full bottle of amber fluid regardless of its veracity as a 'good scotch' would at least give the impression that I was not a habitual tippler; wouldn't it?
Not that there were lines of people snaking through my office.
All would-be clients.
Or connoisseurs of the fine fluid for that matter. Unscrewing caps to sniff the contents to assess my degree of 'good taste' in Scotch!
I was trying to make the errant spring of my office sofa come bed leave my private parts when there was a light knock at the door.
It couldn't have been the Cleaner for he had by-passed my office for several weeks now due to a small amount owing. By me. To me it was chicken feed; to him a princely sum as he had a wife and five kids to feed.
When I say, it was chicken feed, it is all relative I guess. In talking to the Cleaner about it, I described it as chicken feed. When I think about my financial situation it may have been thousands of dollars. I didn't have enough to cover it if it was a thousand or a measly fifty. Consequently, it could be chicken feed or a king's ransom depending on your stance.
I still didn't have enough to feed chickens, but that perhaps was about to change.
Hope is a mighty strong motivator.
So is hunger and a thirst unsated for a good Scotch!
I bolted upright from the couch as though the errant spring had nipped my privates.
I picked the several occasional pillows up off the floor and flung them back onto the sofa hoping that my aim was true with a few hiding the bulge of the wayward spring.
I straightened my tie but didn't tighten it. The macho look of a loosened tie appealed to me and it gave the impression that I was hard at work; or so I thought.
I wrestled into my thread-bare suit coat.
The coat didn’t match the jeans that I had on.
For the fourth day in a row.
They were just starting to get comfortable. The jeans that is!
But it was a look considered ‘in’ by the ’in’ people of latte coffee habits.
I'd read somewhere that you should never wash your Jeans for the life of them. Some Big Jerk of a Jeans Manufacturer had said this as gospel, much the same way that the first Chapter of the Bible describes that the Earth was created in six days straight. If that is gospel, then the Top dog in Jeans must also be right!
Anyhow, it saves me heaps at the Laundromat for the life of my Jeans!
I was half way across the room heading for the door, hope springing eternal that a big paying client was on the other side.
With raised voice, I invited whom-ever lurked behind the Office outer door and the operator of the light knock, to enter.
Hoping.... no wishing painfully that it was a paying customer as I needed to re-stock my drink drawer and I was down to my last pack of cigarettes.
You can guess how desperate I was by the number of times that I have repeated and described my situation.
I yelled out again.
This I knew was not a good practise for several reasons.
The main one being that I am an ex-jockey and as every-one knows jockeys usually have a voice one or two octaves above masculine and macho. But if you have ever ridden a horse at full gallop for quite a few races than you will understand. I know that I am small of stature and rake thin but that used to be of enormous benefit in my previous occupation.
It is often more of a hindrance as a Private Detective
Clem 'Lofty' Hills Series:
Murder Squad Series: