Sometimes it seemed Australian writer W. Glenn Duncan’s Texas P.I. Rafferty had a rule for everything, but the fact remains that most of those rules were surprisingly elastic. Mind you, “Rafferty’s Rules” is an Australian football term for “no rules at all.”
So, without any further adieu, here are Rafferty’s Rules, as compiled from the six highly enjoyable paperback originals they originally appeared in (the book they appeared in originally is listed in brackets, if I happened to have noted it at the time), all numbered for your convenience. Or at least that was the game plan. Unfortunately, numbers apparently aren’t Rafferty’s strong suit — he skips some numbers and sometimes assigns the same number to two or more different rules (he’s particularly fond of #34, it seems). But hey, he’s a P.I., not an accountant.
And he’s a damn good P.I.
2) Be lucky. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)
3) If you’re going to be stupid, see rule number two. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)
3) When all else fails, sit on your duff and await good news…
5) If a client can afford it, he — or she — pays top dollar.
6) Don’t forget the money.
7) Anxious clients who smile too much are usually trouble.
8) The client has to say out loud what he wants me to do. (Rafferty’s Rules)
8) When in doubt, raise hell and see who complains about the noise. (Last Seen Alive)
9) Dull won’t balance the checkbook.
11) Don’t worry about what’s right, worry about what’s possible.
11) To feel really dumb, be a smart ass once too often. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)
12) Selling people is antisocial.
13) Get the money up front.
16) When you can’t tell the bad guys from the good guys, it’s time to get the hell out. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)
17) Never take a client at face value.
18) Ribs should be eaten naked.
19) When you can’t tell the bad guys from the good guys, it’s time to get the hell out. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)
20) Any hunch so strong that it hurts just has to be right. (Cannon’s Mouth)
21) Grow up and grow old.
22) Don’t skulk. You can get away with anything if you act like you’re supposed to be doing it.
23) You show me a man who always “fights fair” and I’ll show you a man who loses too often.
27) In one way or another, every client lies. (Even Rafferty isn’t sure if this is #27 or not.)
28) Hot coffee and nudity don’t mix. If you spill, it hurts.
33) Always obey your friend, the police man.
34) Sometimes good luck accomplishes more than hard work. (Rafferty’s Rules)
34) When in doubt, dodge. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)
34) Clients always hold back something back. (Last Seen Alive)
35) If a client appears to be telling you everything, see rule #34. (Last Seen Alive)
39) Smiting the wicked sounds biblical, but mostly it’s good clean fun.
41) When someone mentions how good something “could” be, they’re really telling me how lousy that something is.
47) Wear steel-toed boots when kicking people on their bony parts.