Peter Doyle is the author of three Ned Kelly Award-winning novels – Get Rich Quick (1996), Amaze Your Friends (1998), and The Devil’s Jump (2001) – featuring Billy Glasheen, the crook-with-a-heart of – well, not quite solid, but let’s say 10-carat – gold. Doyle's books present a kind of secret history of postwar Australia, where crooks, scammers, entertainers, politicians and showbiz hangers-on all rub shoulders, chasing their various big paydays, sometimes forming unlikely alliances along the way. The fourth Billy Glasheen novel, The Big Whatever, will be published in May 2015.
In the intervening years, Doyle has become a leading curator of Sydney’s criminal past. Invited to put together an exhibition for the city’s Justice & Police Museum, he spent years ensconced in their Forensic Photography Archive. The books that emerged from that research – City of Shadows (2007) and Crooks Like Us (2009) – went global: thousands of previously unseen smoky views of Sydney streets and interiors, along with mugshots of 1920s street crims, inspired filmmakers and television producers, designers Karl Lagerfeld and Ralph Lauren, and brought record crowds to Sydney’s Justice & Police Museum. Peter is currently working on a third book, which continues his investigation of Sydney crime-scene photography, this time documenting the 50s and 60s. Suburban Noir will be published by Verse Chorus Press in late 2016.
Somewhere along the line Doyle acquired a PhD in media and musicology (he is also one of the country’s leading slide guitarists), and currently lectures in writing, film, and cultural history at Macquarie University. He has appeared in a string of TV documentaries, including the award-winning Recipe for Murder (dir. Sonia Bible, 2011), as well as Wide Open Road (Paul Clarke, 2011) and Tough Nuts (Jack Hoysted, 2009) – and at this point he’s essentially Sydney’s go-to person for all things to do with its shady past. Whether it’s pop music, murder, the drug trade, political corruption, or just local colour, Doyle knows the backstreets and byways of his hometown like no one else.