Who injected low-level informer Scungy Grime with a curare derivative and then tossed him in Inspector Scobie Malone's backyard pool? As Scobie (Pride's Harvest, 1991, etc.) and Russ Clements review the facts, another poison fatality pops up, then another, and the two officers are soon wending their way among Australian ``crims,'' specifically the now-retired Jack Aldwych, a Godfather figure; Jack Junior, his supposedly legit-businessman son; Jack's social-worker girlfriend, the steely-eyed Janis; wharf rats known as The Dwarf and Snow White; rival ganglords; and an anonymous phoner who warns Scobie to mind his own business. One more will die and another be permanently paralyzed before Scobie and Russ can pinpoint all the villains and their motives—including big-time smuggling, a marriage gone sour, a former cop with a murderous past, Bolivian drug connections, and Nazi leanings. This time out, Cleary doesn't succeed in tying up all the dangling threads, at least not in any way that makes sense. Still, there's much to admire here, including two demanding father-son relationship and the tough-minded Scobie.
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