Tucked inside a plastic sleeve affixed to the inside front cover of this handsome, large-format book is a video disc promising ‘The Best of Graham Kennedy’. Introduced by Stuart Wagstaff, the one hour of footage offers a compilation of Kennedy’s work for Channel Nine drawn from the early days of In Melbourne Tonight (1957–69) and The Graham Kennedy Show (1972–75). Most of the sketches, dance routines, advertising segments and encounters with the audience I had seen before. Rover the Wonder Dog peeing on a camera while refusing to spruik Pal dog food has become part of the collective memory of Kennedy’s contrived mayhem, revisited whenever television (especially Channel Nine) embarks on one of those moments of self-memorialisation with which it marks each milestone.
In last year’s Cat Catcher, Caroline Shaw established her detective heroine, Lenny Aaron, as one of the most original characters in recent Australian crime (Cat Catcher was runner-up for the Australian Crime Writers Association Ned Kelly Award for best first novel). Gaunt, weird looking, an obsessive compulsive with a phobia about being touched and a serious addiction to over-the-counter drug cocktails, Lennie is in the tradition of dysfunctional and damaged investigators muddling their way through recent crime fiction.