Harry Curry: Counsel of Choice
HarperCollins, $29.99 pb, 320 pp, 9780732293420
Stuart Littlemore was the inaugural compère of ABC TV’s Media Watch, and is remembered for his acerbic wit and incisive analysis. Clearly, his long career as a Sydney silk has given him enough material to fill this first novel, Harry Curry: Counsel of Choice. I suspect there is plenty left over for more than one sequel.
With a nod to Littlemore’s parallel career in documentary film and television, Harry Curry opens with a cinematic description of a jet’s arrival at a small coastal airport. Holidaymakers are greeted by police and sniffer dogs, and two young women are arrested on suspicion of possessing prohibited drugs. Luckily, this is Ballina, not Bali. As the women are taken into custody, we are introduced to our eponymous hero as he drives along Macquarie Street, Sydney, in a battered Jag belonging to an incarcerated client. Like Shane Maloney’s Murray Whelan, Harry Mould (the ‘Mould’ is never explained) Curry is a flawed hero. He comes from a privileged family, but has chosen to stray from their traditional preference for corporate law into criminal defence. He wears the appurtenances of his profession with cynical aplomb; he is impecunious and irascible. Clients and junior court officers adore him, but he is not universally admired by his colleagues; judges find him impudent and intimidating. That Curry is ‘strikingly ugly’ augurs well for readers who prefer hard men to pretty boys.