Corris, Peter 1942–

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Corris, Peter 1942–


Born May 8, 1942, in Stawell, Victoria, Australia; son of Thomas (a salesman) and Joan (a clerk) Corris; married Jean Bedford (a writer); three daughters. Education: Received B.A. from University of Melbourne; received M.A. from Monash University; received Ph.D. from Australian National University. Politics: "Center left reformist."


Agent—Sophie Hambley, Cameron's Management, 7th Fl., 61 Marlborough St. (Locked Bag 848), Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia.


Writer. Instructor and researcher in various universities until 1975. National Times, literary editor, 1980-81.


High commendation, National Press Club, 1981, for sports feature journalism; World Boxing Council Award, 1982, for Lords of the Ring: A History of Prize Fighting in Australia; Lifetime Achievement Award from the Australian Crime Writers Association, 2002.



Aborigines and Europeans in Western Victoria, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (Canberra, Australia), 1968.

Passage, Port, and Plantation: A History of Solomon Islands Labour Migration, 1870-1914, Melbourne University (Carlton, Australia), 1973.

(Editor and author of introduction) William T. Wawn, The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade, Australian National University Press (Canberra, Australia), 1973

(Editor, with Jim Allen) The Journal of John Sweatman: A Nineteenth Century Surveying Voyage in North Australia and Torres Strait, University of Queensland (St. Lucia, Australia), 1977.

(Editor) J.D. Melvin, The Cruise of the Helena: A Labour-Recruiting Voyage to the Solomon Islands, Hawthorn Press (Melbourne, Australia), 1977.

Lords of the Ring: A History of Prize Fighting in Australia, Cassell (Sydney, Australia), 1980. (With Roger M. Keesing) Lightning Meets the West Wind: The Malaita Massacre, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1980.

Fred Hollows: An Autobiography with Peter Corris, John Kerr Publishing (Balmain, Australia), 1991.

(With John Sinclair) Fighting for Fraser Island: A Man and an Island, Kerr (Alexandria, Australia), 1994.

(With Ray Barrett) Ray Barrett: An Autobiography, Random House Australia (Milsons Point, Australia), 1995.

(Editor, with Jamie Grant) The Picador Book of Golf, Picador (Sydney, Australia), 1995.

(Editor, with Barry Parish) Ringside: A Knockout Collection of Fights & Fighters: The Winners, the Losers, the Legends, Random House (Milsons Point, Australia), 1996.

(With Ken Blyth) Petro-Pirates: The Hijacking of the Petro Ranger, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, Australia), 2000.

Sweet and Sour: A Diabetic Life (autobiography), Southern Cross University Press (Lismore, Australia), 2000.


The Dying Trade, McGraw-Hill (Sydney, Australia), 1980, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1987.

White Meat, Pan Books (Sydney, Australia), 1981, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1987.

The Marvellous Boy, Pan Books (Sydney, Australia), 1982, published as The Marvelous Boy, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1987.

The Empty Beach, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, Australia), 1983, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1987.

Heroin Annie and Other Cliff Hardy Stories, Allen & Unwin (Boston, MA), 1984.

Make Me Rich, Allen & Unwin (Boston, MA), 1985.

The Big Drop and Other Cliff Hardy Stories, Allen & Unwin (Boston, MA), 1985.

The Greenwich Apartments, Allen & Unwin (Boston, MA), 1986.

Deal Me Out, Allen & Unwin (Boston, MA), 1986.

The January Zone, Allen & Unwin (Boston, MA), 1987.

Man in the Shadows: Cliff Hardy Cases, Allen & Unwin, 1988.

O'Fear, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Wet Graves, Bantam Books (Sydney, Australia), 1991, Dell (New York, NY), 1995.

Aftershock, Bantam Books (Sydney, Australia), 1992.

Beware of the Dog, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1992.

Burn and Other Stories, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1993.

Matrimonial Causes, Bantam Books (Sydney, Australia), 1993.

Casino, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1994.

The Washington Club, Bantam Books (Moorebank, Australia), 1997.

The Reward, Bantam Books (Sydney, Australia), 1997.

Forget Me if You Can: Cliff Hardy Stories, Bantam Books (Sydney, Australia), 1997.

The Black Prince, Bantam Books (Sydney, Australia), 1997.

The Other Side of Sorrow, Random House Australia (Sydney, Australia), 1997.

Lugarno, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Salt and Blood, Bantam Books (Sydney, Australia), 2002.

Master's Mates, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, Australia), 2003.

Taking Care of Business: Cliff Hardy Cases, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, Australia), 2004.

The Coast Road, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, Australia), 2004.

Saving Billie, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, Australia), 2005.

The Undertow, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, Australia), 2006.


Pokerface, Penguin Books (Camberwell, Australia), 1985.

The Baltic Business, Penguin Books (Camberwell, Australia), 1987.

The Kimberley Killing, Penguin Books (Camberwell, Australia), 1988.

The Cargo Club, Penguin Books (Camberwell, Australia), 1990.

The Azanian Action, Angus & Robertson (North Ryde, Australia), 1991.

The Japanese Job, Angus & Robertson (Pymble, Australia), 1992.

The Time Trap, HarperCollins Australia (Sydney, Australia), 1994

The Vietnam Volunteer, Southern Cross University Press (Lismore, Australia), 2000.


"Box Office" Browning: From Tapes among the Papers of Richard "Box Office" Browning, Viking (Camberwell, Australia), 1987.

"Beverly Hills" Browning, Penguin Books (Camberwell, Australia), 1988.

Browning on the Wing, Penguin Books (Camberwell, Australia), 1989.

Browning in Buckskin, Penguin Books (Camberwell, Australia), 1991.

Browning, P.I., Angus & Robertson (Pymble, Australia), 1992.

Browning Battles On, Angus & Robertson (Pymble, Australia), 1993.

Browning Sahib, HarperCollins Australia (Sydney, Australia), 1994.

Browning without a Cause, Imprint (Sydney, Australia), 1995.


Set Up, Pan Books (Sydney, Australia), 1992.

Cross Off, Pan Books (Sydney, Australia), 1993.

Get Even, Pan Books (Sydney, Australia), 1994.


The Winning Side, Allen & Unwin (Crows Next, Australia), 1985.

The Gulliver Fortune, Bantam Books (Sydney, Australia), 1990.

Naismith's Dominion, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1991.

The Brothers Craft, Bantam Books (Sydney, Australia), 1992.

Wimmera Gold, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1994.

A Round of Golf: Eighteen Holes with Peter Corris, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, Australia), 1998.

The Journal of Fletcher Christian: Together with the History of Henry Corkill, Vintage (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor of short stories to magazines. Writer, with Bill Garner, of television series Pokerface, 1986.


The Empty Beach was adapted as a feature film, with screenplay by Keith Dewhurst, directed by Chris Thomson, and starring Bryan Brown as Cliff Hardy, released in 1985.


Peter Corris, who has been called the godfather of Australian crime fiction, has actually produced a wide-ranging body of work, from crime novels to historical novels, short stories, teleplays, and nonfiction works. His most enduring creation, however, has been private detective Cliff Hardy, who does his work primarily in Sydney, Australia. Corris adopts standard features of the American crime novel, including a central detective who is tough and wise. According to a contributor to Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers: "One of the more interesting aspects of Corris's novels is how well he has managed to transplant the archetypal American/California P.I. genre to a foreign context without undue jarring effect." This type of story in an Australian setting was unheard of until the publication of Corris's Hardy books, noted Stuart Coupe in a 2003 profile of Corris for the Australian newspaper the Age. "Corris remains a pivotal figure in Australian crime fiction," Coupe wrote. "He was the first writer to transpose the Raymond Chandler-Ross Macdonald style of American crime fiction to an Australian locale." Those two writers and Dashiell Hammett were among Corris's early influences, the author told Clive Moore in an interview for Clues: A Journal of Detection. "I think I have evolved my own voice and style to some extent," Corris added to Moore.

Corris introduced Hardy in The Dying Trade, with the detective investigating the disappearance of a real-estate heir's twin sister. Many other missing-persons and murder cases have kept Hardy busy since then, and the clients and suspects he has encountered include rock stars, athletes, politicians, corrupt police, racketeers, and socialites. The Empty Beach, published in 1983, "marks the point at which I developed away from the pastiche of the early books and found my own voice within the genre," Corris told Moore. This novel has Hardy dealing with a variety of underworld types while investigating a drowning.

Corris brought Hardy into the twenty-first century with such novels as Master's Mates and The Coast Road, and the short-story collection Taking Care of Business: Cliff Hardy Cases. The first of these titles sees Hardy hired by a beautiful, wealthy woman to find out who framed her husband on a drug charge. Several reviewers said the novel shows why the character has appealed to readers for so long. The "tough, smart, properly noirish" Hardy "shines brightly enough to make his longevity understandable," commented a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Rex E. Klett, writing in the Library Journal, praised Corris's "breezy but focused prose" and "attractive hero." In Booklist, David Pitt added: "This series could go on another quarter century, easy."

In The Coast Road, a university professor asks Hardy to investigate her father's supposedly accidental death in a fire. She is suspicious partly because her stepmother stands to receive a large inheritance. Hardy juggles this with another case, trying to find a missing teenager, but both cases become more complicated than they first appeared. Some critics considered this another worthwhile entry in the series. Pitt deemed it "sharply written," while Sally Murphy, writing for Aussie, pronounced it "a gripping read." Corris's short-story collections about Hardy have won favor with reviewers as well. Discussing Taking Care of Business, Pitt found Corris to be "as proficient with the short form" as with novels.

Trained as a historian, Corris has also written nonfiction histories (Aborigines and Europeans in Western Victoria and Passage, Port, and Plantation: A History of Solomon Islands Labour Migration, 1870-1914) and historical novels (The Journal of Fletcher Christian: Together with the History of Henry Corkill and the "Richard Browning" series of comic historical novels). Another Corris interest is sports; he has written several books about boxing and golf, including the award-winning Lords of the Ring: A History of Prize Fighting in Australia. Other titles include as-told-to books about famous Australians, such as eye doctor Fred Hollows and actor Ray Barrett, and Corris's story of his own life, Sweet and Sour: A Diabetic Life. The Hardy series is outnumbered by his other works, but it has brought him his greatest fame. "I still enjoy writing the books, speaking in the voice of the character, and have no plans to stop," he told Moore in 2000. "I have created three other series characters but they were not very successful and are now defunct. Only Hardy survives."

Corris once told CA: "I write to give myself and others pleasure and to earn a living. I believe that my only talent is as a storyteller. This was exercised in my academic and journalistic career, but only fully since becoming a professional fiction writer in 1982. I produce light fiction quickly and easily and do very little rewriting. Much of my work derives from, I hope, good models. I am suspicious of experimental writing and originality. Various personal concerns, such as a dislike of religion and conservative politics and an interest in sports and literature, surface in my books, but I try to amuse, not instruct."



Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers, 3rd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1991.


Age, August 30, 2003, Stuart Coupe, "Crime and the Corris Factor," p. 3.

Booklist, May 15, 2005, David Pitt, reviews of Master's Mates and The Coast Road, p. 1639; October 15, 2006, David Pitt, reviews of Saving Billie and Taking Care of Business: Cliff Hardy Cases, p. 30.

Bulletin with Newsweek, August 13, 2002, "The Cliff Edge," p. 14; January 25, 2005, Robin Wallace-Crabbe, review of Taking Care of Business, p. 68; October 4, 2005, "Bounty Hunter," p. 68; February 14, 2006, Barry Oakley, review of Saving Billie, p. 68; December 19, 2006, Peter Pierce, review of The Undertow, p. 157.

Clues: A Journal of Detection, September 22, 2000, Clive Moore, "Writing for Fun: Interview with Peter Corris, Author of the Cliff Hardy Detective Novels," p. 57.

Far Eastern Economic Review, July 28, 1988, "A Private Eye's View of a City Where Crime Pays," p. 40.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2005, review of The Coast Road, p. 511.

Library Journal, October 1, 1991, Rex E. Klett, review of O'Fear, p. 144; June 1, 2005, Rex E. Klett, review of Master's Mates, p. 104.

New York Times Book Review, May 3, 1987, Newgate Callendar, review of The Empty Beach, p. 46.

Publishers Weekly, March 27, 1987, John Mutter, review of Make Me Rich, p. 43; September 6, 1991, review of O'Fear, p. 97.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), November 3, 1991, review of O'Fear, p. 6.

Wilson Library Bulletin, May, 1987, Kathleen Maio, review of The Empty Beach, p. 53.


Aussie, (January 7, 2008), Sally Murphy, reviews of The Empty Beach and The Coast Road.

Fantastic Fiction, (January 7, 2008), brief biography and bibliography.

Peter Corris Home Page, (January 7, 2008).

Reviewer's Choice, (December, 2005), Sunnie Gill, review of Saving Billie; (January, 2007), Sunnie Gill, review of The Undertow.

Thrilling Detective, (January 7, 2008), information on Hardy books.