Capsule Reviews by ALLEN J. HUBIN:

   Commentary on books I’ve covered in the New York Times Book Review.   [Reprinted from The Armchair Detective, Vol. 1, No. 4, July 1968.]

    Previously on this blog:
Part 1
— Charlotte Armstrong through Jonathan Burke.

VICTOR CANNING – The Python Project. William Morrow, hardcover, 1968, $4.95. (UK hardcover edition: William Heinemann, 1967.) A canny old pro turns out a bewilderingly effective combination of a medium-boiled British private investigator tale and the spy story. [Series character: Rex Carver.]


LESLIE CHARTERIS – The Saint Returns. Doubleday Crime Club, hardcover, 1968, $3.95. (UK hardcover edition: Hodder & Stoughton, 1969.) Two novelettes taken from the British TV series revive the zest of early Saint adventures. Read these tales for nostalgic pleasure.


JON CLEARY – Season of Doubt. William Morrow, hardcover, $4.95. (UK hardcover edition: Collins, 1968; paperback reprint: Popular Library 75-1296, 1970.) A new twist to the spy story involves the dilemma of a career diplomat, posted to an incendiary and largely unfriendly country and assigned the impossible task of maintaining perfect neutrality and clinical detachment. Paul Tancred, undersecretary in the American embassy in Beirut, pays the price of involvement and friendship. Read this one.

JON CLEARY Season Doubt

MANNING COLES – The House at Pluck’s Gutter. Pyramid X-1782, paperback, 1968, $.60. (UK hardcover edition: Hodder & Stoughton, 1963.) Fanciers of Tommy Hambledon, circa 1940, will be disappointed in this one. It contains some amusing scenes and ingredients, but the Coles’ light, sure touch is absent.

Editorial Comment. The paperback edition of this last book is relatively hard to find. While I have a copy, I don’t have access to it, which leaves me without a cover image to show you, so far. To perhaps explain Al’s disappointment in this book as well as mine at the time, it’s now known that it was written by the twosome of Cyril Henry Coles & Tom Hammerton, rather than the original pairing of Coles & A. F. O. Manning.