The Greenwich Apartments

The Greenwich Apartments ABC Radio Drama is a little something I picked up in a second hand shop. The packaging was cracked and knocked about, but this almost seems appropriate for a Cliff Hardy story, based on the novel by Peter Corris.

Firstly, let me explain that this is not an audio book – and not to be confused with the various Corris titles that Bolinda Audio has released over the years – as read by Peter Hosking. This is an ABC (Aust. Broadcasting Commission) radio play, with actors playing the various characters. Unfortunately, the twin cassette pack does not have the cast listed. I must admit I’d be very curious to know who played Cliff Hardy.

The Greenwich Apartments was the 9th Cliff Hardy book, and it was released in 1986, however this adaptation – apparently done by Corris himself – was either broadcast, or released on cassette in 1992. I am not too sure of the details here, as information is hard to come by. The cassettes have 1992 on them, but of course, the radio drama could have been broadcast several years before.

In this investigation, Cliff Hardy is hired by a wealthy businessman named Leo Wise, to look into the death of his daughter, Carmel. She was shot ten days prior, outside the Greenwich Apartments in Sydney’s Kings Cross. Carmel was a film-maker, having directed an award winning feature called Bermagui. She also had an enormous collection of video-tapes (remember this story was written before the advent of DVDs and Blu-Ray disks). As far as the police are concerned, Carmel Wise was working on porn films, and probably got involved with some shady underworld characters – and that’s how she met her demise. But everybody who knew Carmel, knows that is not true.

The Greenwich Apartments are owned by Leo Wise, and when Carmel’s ever metastasizing video collection outgrew where she was living, she asked her father if she store some of her collection in one of the vacant apartments. He agrees, and allows her to use Apartment One. The thing is, Apartment One, while nobody lives there, is in fact already let – and Leo Wise receives the rental payments without fail, every month.

When Hardy investigates, he discovers two suitcases (under piles of video tapes) which belong to the tenants of the Apartment. He ascertains the identity of one of the tenants as Tania Hester Bourke, but he doesn’t know who the man is. It’s a start, and his enquiries branch out from there.

As is the nature of this style of detective story, Hardy over the course of his investigation has to deal with a shady nightclub owner, ignorant and abusive cops, and underworld thugs brandishing weapons. And of course, the story serves up more than its share of red herrings too. At the end, Hardy is battered and bruised (and almost loses an eye), but has seen the case through.

Obviously, to fit in the two hour running time, much of the story has been condensed from the novel, but it is still remarkably faithful, and keeps the integrity of the story intact. And it’s entertaining too. At the start I thought that the actor who played Hardy sounded a bit young, and his voice didn’t have a ‘lived in’ quality. But as the drama progressed, I really warmed to his portrayal of Hardy – as I said earlier, I’d really like to know who the actor was.

The Greenwich Apartments is a punchy little drama, and an interesting side project for Peter Corris, the ‘Godfather of Australian Crime Fiction’. Coupled with the film version of The Empty Beach, it shows that Cliff Hardy was (and still is) bigger than the printed page – and one of Australia’s most durable pop culture heroes.

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The Greenwich Apartments

7 thoughts on “The Greenwich Apartments

  1. Moodster says:

    Hey there…love the blog…being a avid reader of detective fiction myself…I have this audio version of The Greenwich Apartments bought new from the ABC shop when released…mine comes in a long plastic hard case about the width of a tape, three tapes sitting in a snap in casing, the cover opening up like a book…I’m sure the lead is played by Robert Hughes…

  2. Moodster says:

    I seem to remember reading it somewhere – it may have been in the Green Guide supplement that came with The Age back then…in the Radio listings…and I’ve always thought the voices sounded the same…distinctive…a bit like Hosking’s & I remember him as Sgt Blair in The Fast Lane….I’ll check my set as well for broadcast date (it’s been living in my car for a while)…I recall it might have 1987 on the cassettes…I’ll get back to you on that…also what I’d like to know is if the ABC commissioned any more dramatisations of the novels (like the BBC did with Chandler)…?

  3. Moodster says:

    Oh…just came to mind…I’m also very sure the policeman – Drew – in the dramatisation is played by Simon Chilvers (who portrayed Doc Evatt in The True Believers on ABC TV)…

  4. DavidF says:

    Thanks Moodster. That date would tie it in with the release of the book. Now all I need is to track down a few episodes of Corris’ ‘Pokerface’ TV series which screened on the ABC in the 1980s.

  5. Moodster says:

    I do remember ‘Pokerface’….but it was one series I didn’t record for whatever reason (probably being in my teens back then probably had to do with not having enough pocket money to buy VHS blanks!)…although my collection does run to ‘Call Me Mister’ with Steve Bisley as ex Aussie copper turned London PI ( loved that series) & ‘The Fast Lane’ with Terry Bader, Richard Healy, Debra Lawrance & Peter Hosking…created and written by John Clarke…a brilliant and funny take on bumbling PIs set in gritty Melbourne…that debacle of a series by Channel Nine ‘Willing and Abel’ was nothing but a blatant ripoff (though the characters were handymen…even at the time I recalled how similar they & the scenarios were…)

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