IT’S ABOUT CRIME, by Marvin Lachman


ANDREW GARVE – The Ascent of D-13. Collins, UK, hardcover, 1969; Harper, US, hardcover, 1969. Reprint paperbacks include: Popular Library, 1968; Perennial Library, 1986.

       — Two If By Sea. Harper, US, hardcover, 1949; first published in the UK as Came the Dawn, Hutchinson, hardcover, 1949, both as by Roger Bax. Reprint paperback: Perennial Library, US, 1986, as by Andrew Garve writing as Roger Bax. Film: MGM, 1953, as Never Let Me Go (with Clark Gable & Gene Tierney).


   It’s good to see Garve being reprinted, and, these two books, published almost two decades apart, will serve as a splendid introduction to a writer who wrote more than thirty novels, no two of which seem cut from the same pattern.

   The only similarity in these two, books is that both are about the Cold War and both are genuinely exciting and suspenseful. In The Ascent of D-13, rival Western and Russian mountain climbers “race” up a rugged peak on the Turkish-Armenian border to recapture, a secret weapon on a plane which has crashed.

   Two If By Sea, which Garve originally published in 1949 as by Roger Bax, grabs the reader quickly with its tale of a British correspondent’s efforts to rescue his Russian wife from behind the Iron Curtain. Garve’s effective use of a sailing background is a bonus.


NICHOLAS GUILD – Chain Reaction. St. Martin’s, hardcover, 1983. Berkley, paperback, 1986.

   Forget you know the results of World War II. This is one of those books in which the author wants you to guess whether Herman Goering will throw out the first ball at the 1946 World Series.

   Actually, it starts out well enough as in January 1944, an anti-Nazi, but loyal, German officer is landed in New England on a mission which can possibly save Hitler’s beleaguered War effort.

   The early chapters are quite good, but then evidence of careless writing and poor research (frequent anachronisms) creep in. There is a switch in character focus midway which weakens things even further, so that by the end we really don’t care how the book will end.

   Incidentally, this was a book with eleven swastikas on the cover. That, alone, should have deterred me from reading it.

— Reprinted from The MYSTERY FANcier,
       Vol. 8, No. 4, July-Aug 1986.