Only following orders..

Peter Corris has been writing his hard-boiled “Cliff Hardy” novels for over 30 years now. There’s been some typical elasticity with Hardy’s age (heroes age more slowly than mere mortals!), but the series has legs… Here’s a clip from a short story called “Insider.” Hardy has been taken in for questioning by some cops, and is reflecting on how times have changed since the rougher and tumbler days of yore.

“Trying not to show any undue concern, I leaned back in the chair and studied them. They weren’t the old-style knuckleduster, brown paper bag cops. They were players by the rules, obeyers of orders. The trouble was the people giving the orders were often obeying orders themselves and so on along a chain that ended up with someone who didn’t give a shit about the rules. It was pretty clear that this was some kind of diversionary tactic, designed to separate me from Whitney for a period. Someone with influence was taking an interest in the matter, and that interest was hostile to mine.”
Page 200 of Peter Corris “Taking Care of Business”

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