Tuesday, April 12, 2011

N is for Neil Giles' A CASE OF IMMUNITY

For my second go around at the Crime Fiction Alphabet (read my 2010 posts here), I've set myself the challenging task of focusing not only just on New Zealand-themed posts, but just on Kiwi crime fiction books (ie I won't do any author profiles etc this time around) - although sometimes it may be the author's name that is relevant to the letter of the week.

This week I’ve decided to feature another one of the many Kiwi crime novels that came out from smaller publishers in the 1990s and early 2000s, but are largely forgotten or unknown; Neil Giles’s A CASE OF IMMUNITY. Published in 1995 by Christchurch’s Hazard Press (which was a strong promoter of New Zealand ‘popular fiction’, eg crime, fantasy, adventure, thriller etc, before it later went into liquidation), A CASE OF IMMUNITY was Giles’s debut novel, although the Australian-born author and practising astrologer had previously written a number of stage, radio and television plays both in Australia and New Zealand.

In A CASE OF IMMUNITY, Larry Lane is a private investigator and he’s looking for someone. That isn’t unusual - missing persons are his speciality. This time he’s looking for A-Chem International, a giant manufacturer of industrial chemicals. A-Chem mislaid a staff member. That isn’t unusual either. They’re careless with anything worth less than a billion dollars. So Larry Lane is looking for someone called Hedley Drake, tidying up loose ends for a big corporation. If it sounds easy, it isn’t. And now, everyone’s looking for Larry Lane - the police, the mayor, the media, and a gang called Brain Damage. In a future of arrogant wealth and desperate poverty, immunity comes at too high a price.

The back cover states that A CASE OF IMMUNITY is written “in the racy, gripping, humourous and self-aware style of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, this novel joins the growing list of popular detective fiction now being published in New Zealand”.

Sounds intriguing, although it would have to be pretty terrific to match up to the Chandler and Hammett stylistic reference. I acquired a copy of A CASE OF IMMUNITY via an online auction website, and I’ve also seen it occasionally in second-hand stores. I am looking forward to reading it, and seeing what kind of adventures Giles and Larry Lane take me on.

Are you participating in the crime fiction alphabet? Have you been enjoying learning about some lesser-known crime fiction, both here on Crime Watch and at some of the other terrific blog sites that are participating? Do you enjoy finding older, out-of-print books in second-hand stores, auction sites, or libraries, and giving them a go?


  1. Craig - This does sound intriguing, although I must say I agree that it would have to go a long way to match up to greats like Chandler. And I love to find little-known books like that; I look fotward to your review of this one.

  2. Craig - I like poking around in used book stores but find myself reluctant to pick up an unknown older book without a recommendation. I find myself less interested as I grow older in just trying to read a book without having an idea from someone how they liked the book.

  3. A miscellaneous question for you: Are there any published mysteries by Indigenous NZ writers? Or any Australians either?

  4. This sounds interesting!

    Here is my N post!

  5. One of the delights of CFA is learning about "new" authors and books Craig. Almost overwhelming when there are a dozen or so of them each week though. Thanks for taking part.