Panther, London, 1967
The blurb on the back:
‘Mr Stephen Quigley?’
Those sleeve notes leave out a crucial aspect of the story: it’s told by the guy making the phone calls, the Persecutor himself. And, in a twist designed to appeal to me specifically, he’s a DJ working the overnight shift on a Sydney radio station in the mid-1960s. Which means we get to check out what music was making Australia swing in the days when Richard 'Oz' Neville, Clive 'Smug' James and Germaine ‘No Knickers’ Greer were busy getting the hell out of the place: Johnny Mathis, Nina Simone, Dave Brubeck, Shirley Bassey – not too bad, I’d have thought. There’s also, for you nostalgic types, a brief mention of the youth cults of the period:
Of course, all this is entirely incidental to the real meat of the story, which concerns a murder some years previously for which an innocent man went to gaol, where he hanged himself. Our hero, the DJ, links up with the innocent man’s sister to try to uncover the true murderer.
For much of the book, it hangs together quite nicely, but the last 30 pages or so get bogged down in dull chase sequences and pointless revelations. While it’s working, though, it’s quite neat, and it is genuinely nice to see a DJ acting as a tough guy investigator.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 3/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 2/5
Fuel Injected Dreams