POINT OF HONOUR by Alan Scholefield
Kirkus Star


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There's nothing smashingly original in this London-based story of a dark WW II secret surfacing dangerously in the present, but, as in Venom (1978), Scholefield shapes his basic materials with elegance, cleverness, scrupulous detail, and genuine warmth. The journey into the past begins when narrator David Turner, a divorced popular historian who'd rather be a novelist, succumbs to demands from his publisher and his girlfriend that he write the story of his father at Dunkirk; Geoffrey Baines Turner was fatally wounded during the 1940 evacuation and was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. All well and good--but when David starts his research, the war-hero legend starts crumbling: the undertaker (now ancient) who buried Capt. Turner cheerfully reveals that the wound was a shotgun wound, and in the back (!); David unearths his Dad's wartime mistress; and in the little French village of St. Claude-sur-Mer near Dunkirk, the Turner name is hardly that of a hero--after being mildly persecuted by the villagers, David is told that his father was really killed by Frenchmen while he was raping a village girl! Will David accept this explanation? Of course not--and he continues to investigate, following a single clue pried out of the addled memory of a hopelessly shell-shocked war chum of his father's; this clue leads (after diligent sleuthing) from Vienna back to England, to a Polish WW II photographer who actually took photos of the murder of David's father. The villain's identity comes as no surprise (after all, Frenchmen keep following David around and killing people). But getting there is all the fun--since Scholefield fleshes out the trail with engagingly underdog-gy characters (especially the shell-shocked vet, whose murder is a true jolt), rooms and streets you can really visualize, and the always-potent theme of a man coming to terms with his father. Three-dimensional, life-sized suspense at its best.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1979
Publisher: Morrow