by g.s. manson
fictionalises the murder by US MP's of 2 Negro
soldiers that the author had heard about as a kid in Brisbane.
Brisbane, early 1943, a town under U.S. occupation...friendly though it's supposed to be. MacArthur has set up his HQ in Queens Street and the Japs are being held up at Kokoda, but its not over yet.
Black GI's are restricted to the south side of the Brisbane River on pain of death. With their jive talk and music, it's their territory by night...as it is for Jack Munro, an ex-cop with burnt bridges, who now works as a private investigator, tracking down errant spouses on the cheap.
Munro has few friends left on the force, and no family. A returned man from the First War, he's getting old and slow, but still knows his way around the backstreets of a town wide open now to the troops and all their vices.
A woman engages him to find her husband. She's from down south, posh, and attractive. The missing man is a suspiciously sharp operator and Jack can smell many rats, but takes the case. He has an eye for the ladies and can't avoid the honey trap.
The trail takes him from the wharves of the wartime port to tin-roof brothels in the outer suburbs and reveals greed and corruption eating away at the foundations of the war effort. Unscrupulous ratbags are waxing fat while honest diggers die in the mud. The smell of murder is in the air, and the Yank MPs are covering up something that is an affront to the morals of an old soldier who did his bit when called upon.
He won't go back in his kennel when the big boys call him off. He has to do the square thing...
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© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 21 December 2004
This page last updated 21 November 2015