Classic 1980's private detective fiction: lone male - hard drinker and smoker - who likes the women and solves crimes as much by brawn as by brain. Enjoyable read. Australian author.
From the cover:
Portrait of a P.I.:
Name: Cliff Hardy
Habitat: Sydney, Australia
Attire: Beat-up leather jacket and jeans
Lady Friends: From time to time
Clientele: The rich and the desperate
It's no secret that the people who hire Hardy have nowhere else to turn.
Take Lady Catherine Chatterton, widow of the eminent judge. She's desperate to hand down the mantel of her husband's legal reign (not to mention the money) to someone more deserving than her boozy daughter Bettina.
So she hires Hardy to find her missing grandson - a tall order considering the only evidence of the young man's existence came two years earlier from an aging drunk. Funny thing - when Hardy finds that drunk there is a helpful photograph . . . and within the hour, the drunk is dead. Now Hardy's on a murder case.