HERE BE MONSTERS by Anthony Price


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Here be monsters? Here be talk, talk, talk is more like it--since, even by Price standards, this new espionage tangle for Dr. David Audley & Co. (Sion Crossing, etc.) is a chatty, static, fitfully charming exercise in reminiscence and rehash. In 1984, during 40th-anniversary celebrations of D-Day, retired US Major Edward Parker is pushed off a French cliff--an event which leads to edgy investigations over at British Intelligence. Parker, you see, has long been suspected of being a Soviet agent; furthermore, back in 1944, Parker saved the life of RAF pilot ""Haddock"" Thomas, who went on to a civil-service career that was also shadowed by suspicions of treason. So now young Intelligence officer Elizabeth Loftus is ordered--by series stooge ""Fatso"" Latimer--to reassess the question of Thomas' loyalty. And that means she must reopen the notorious ""Debrecen"" case of 1958, in which series hero David Audley (Latimer's arch-rival) determined that Thomas--now aged and retired--was not a traitor. Often accompanied by unflappable Audley himself, then, Elizabeth has long interviews with Thomas' friends and colleagues, with those involved in the Debrecen affair. She is torn between a desire to ""win her spurs"" and her respect for Audley (whose top protÉgÉ is Elizabeth's lover), knowing that Latimer is once again out to embarrass Audley. But, despite the lurking possibility that the ""disinformative"" KGB has arranged this entire affair to discredit Audley (a standard Price plot-device by now), the case lacks tension and gravity. . .as well as credibility. The usual Price assets--erudite repartee, quirky people, some moral thematic undertow--are on muted display throughout; so devoted Price fans, if few others, will probably enjoy this unimaginative, wildly inactive addition to an idiosyncratic series.

Pub Date: May 14th, 1986
Publisher: Mysterious Press--dist. by Farrar, Straus & Giroux