Created by Garrick Jones
“… to be brutally honest, I couldn’t be fucked playing the game.”
— Clyde on why he left the Sydney police department
In The Cricketer’s Arms (2019), the first in a proposed series by Garrick Jones, it’s 1956 Sydney, Australia where we meet CLYDE SMITH, an ex-cop and current freelance restaurant reviewer (having served time in an Italian POW camp during WWII, he developed a taste for Italian cuisine).
I know, I know — not exactly your typical background (or current occupation) for a hard-boiled P.I., but soon enough a popular football player is stabbed through the heart and laid out naked in the middle of the Sydney Cricket Ground for all to see, the victim of a possible hate crime (he was gay).
When a note is found among the evidence with his initials on it, Clyde, who’s also gay, is called in by his former colleagues for questioning, and reluctantly gets drawn into the case. But it will take all of the former Detective Sergeant’s deductive skills to get to the bottom of a complex case that involves Sydney’s gay communiity, homophobia, a corrupt police force, a possible sports fixing scam, and (of course) a criminal drug cartel.
And, of course, it turns out Clyde hasn’t lost any of his considerable chops as a detective — he’s dogged and determined, and gruff and rough enough to follow the evidence wherever it may lead. As for his sexuality, well, it’s complicated…
Mind you, it’s 1956 Australia. It would be.
All pinned against that vividly captured backdrop, and narrated by Clyde in suitably brusque and hard-boiled fashion, this debut shows real promise. I’m hoping we’ll see Clyde again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Garrick Jones is a former professional opera singer and lecturer in music at the Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music, and grew up “between the bush and the beaches of the Eastern suburbs.” Now retired and living in the tropics, he spends his time gardening and writing. “I write mostly historical gay fiction in two distinct styles,” he says, “books that are erotic and those that leave things up to the reader’s imagination. The stories are always about relationships and the inner workings of men; sometimes my fellas get down to the nitty-gritty, sometimes it’s up to you, the reader, to fill in the blanks. Every book is story driven; spies, detectives, murders, epic dramas, there’s something for everyone. I also love to write about my country and the things that make us Aussies and our history different from the rest of the world. I’m research driven. I always try to do my best to give the reader a sense of what life was like for my main characters in the world they live in.”