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Les Norton is the main protagonist in a series of fiction books written by Australian author Robert G. Barrett.

Les Norton
Les NortonFinishedCropped.jpg
"Ken Wills, The Real Les Norton" by Shé D'Montford.
First appearanceYou Wouldn't Be Dead For Quids
Last appearanceHigh Noon in Nimbin
Created byRobert G. Barrett



A likeable and laconic Aussie battler, Norton first appears in You Wouldn't Be Dead For Quids (1984) and is described as stockily built and red-haired who doesn't mind a fight, a punt or a root. He was born in Dirranbandi, and lived there until he was involved in a pub fight, when the local police officer told him to leave before investigators from Brisbane could arrive when he was identified as a person of interest in a subsequent murder investigation. He moved to Sydney, and ended up living in Bondi, working as a bouncer in an illegal casino in Kings Cross. In later books it turns from an illegal casino to a bridge club, as the club's owner Price Galese has further trouble bribing Police and Government officials to ignore the casino's presence. Les' career provides many opportunities for training, fighting, sex, dancing, photography, reflection and the odd mystery solving.

Les played rugby league for Easts during his early days in Sydney. He drives around in an old 1968 Ford Falcon in the early stories. In later stories he drives a late model Holden Commodore Berlina that belonged to a man who was murdered in the car. Les tolerates the smell which persists despite having the car regularly detailed. In the later stories he has a house in Bondi which he shares with an advertising executive called Warren who loves to smoke pot and whose job takes him away from time to time.

List of Les Norton Books (in chronological order)Edit

  • You Wouldn't Be Dead for Quids
  • The Real Thing
  • The Boys From Binjiwunyawunya
  • The Godson
  • Between the Devlin And The Deep Blue Seas
  • White Shoes, White Lines and Blackie
  • And De Fun Don't Done
  • Mele Kalikimaka Mr Walker
  • The Day of The Gecko
  • Rider on the Storm and Other Bits and Barrett
  • Guns 'N' Rose
  • Mud Crab Boogie
  • Goodoo Goodoo
  • The Wind and the Monkey
  • Leaving Bondi
  • Mystery Bay Blues
  • Rosa-Marie's Baby
  • Crime Scene Cessnock
  • Les Norton and the Case of the Talking Pie Crust
  • High Noon in Nimbin


In 2000, the Avoca Beach Surf Life Saving Club launched one of its surfboats as the Les Norton.[1]

In 2004, AAP reported that a film adaptation of Barrett's first book You Wouldn't Be Dead For Quids was to be made. Rugby league player Matthew Johns was slated to star in it, however, an actor for the lead role of Norton's character had not been found.[2]

TV seriesEdit

As of December 2018, a 10-part Les Norton television series adapted from the series of novels was being produced for ABC, starring Alexander Bertrand as Les Norton with David Wenham and Rebel Wilson.[3]


  1. ^ "Avoca Beach SLSC Boat History" (PDF). Avoca Beach SLSC. September 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "Matthew Johns to make big screen debut". Sydney Morning Herald. September 29, 2004. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  3. ^ "ABC to produce 10-part Les Norton series starring David Wenham and Rebel Wilson". FilmInk. December 18, 2018. Retrieved December 18, 2018.