The Coast Road, by Peter Corris

When millionare Frederick Farmer dies, the police rule it death by accident. But his daughter is unconvinced. How can someone who refuses to use heating at night be trapped in a burning house? She is convinced his scheming second wife is behind the death.

Enter Cliff Hardy, the detective hired to investigate the case. Hardy is a colourful private investigator, who ruffles plenty of feathers in his quest to solve his case.

Hardy sees this is a low-key case, so when he’s offered a second, he believes he can handle both. The second case is that of a teenage runaway. Her mother wants Hardy to track her down and return her to the nest. Hardy finds himself drawn to the exotic Marisha Karastky and determined to help her find her daughter.

But as the two cases proceed, Hardy wonders if he’s taken on more than he can handle. Neither case is as simple as it first appeared. He finds himself dealing with crooked cops, violent bikies and dying witnesses. He wonders if he’s being set up in Marisha’s case and if he will be killed because of his involvement in the other.

This is the 26th book in the Cliff Hardy series. Hady continues to develop as a character, and author Peter Corris as a writer. Readers are drawn into the mystery, with enough information to follow Hardy’s train of thought, but enough left out to keep them guessing.

Action packed and well-paced, The Coast Road is a gripping read.

The Coast Road, by Peter Corris
Allen & Unwin, 2004