by Richard Llewellyn ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 2, 1955
Quite obviously the case of the ""missing Macleans"" provides the springboard for this cloak and dagger story of Hamish Gleave, career diplomat, whose aspirations are viewed through a mist of what might have been had ""Father not been such a hare-brained ass"". And this fog of resentment, this effort to keep up a front to which his heritage should entitle him, this confusion of motives and loyalties to ""the country"" and ""to us""- meaning his own social milieu-underlie the corrosive processes by which he came to this ultimate decision. But as one reads, the confusion deepens. He is oppressed by the realization that those in the saddle in the Foreign Office are incompetent ignoramuses. He has small faith in the Tory government and intense dislike of the Labor government that preceded it. He samples one meeting of a new fascist set-up- sort of Cliveden set affair- and doesn't like that either. He balks at restrictions on his freedom to see whom he chooses, to go where he chooses (what some of the Russians have to offer seems to suggest a much more comfortable way of life -- and his ""amie"" has more physical allure than Vinny, his wholesome, normal wife, whom he loves and with whom he intends to stay). Suspicion intrudes within the office family when one man is proved a traitor and kills himself- sneering at them all; and another is ousted for homosexual accusations by the Americans (anti-American feeling is an almost universal factor). The book is irritatingly overwritten, discursive, and not really convincing, so that almost to the end one is sure that Hamish Gleave won't go behind the Iron Curtain. The intimation is that his wife and children are to follow- but their final scene, with his infidelity aired- makes one question this fidelity to fact... A better book than Rodney Garland's The Troubled Midnight -(Coward McCann-1955), but not up to the sustained interest of Geoffrey Hoare's The Missing Macleans- (Viking-1955).
Pub Date: Feb. 2, 1955
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955
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