THE MEMSAHIB by Berkely Mather


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It takes a sec or two to penetrate the initial barrage of patois out of lowermiddle London suburbia of the Thirties: ""Nail a plank across it, Arthur. Tell the gentleman whether or not you're going to shout the odds about it once you've got the jingle."" In these words, that merry villain, ""Captain"" Sprunt, who plans to marry off his niece Marine Wilmott to timid George (he thinks George is a real pukka sahib in India), directs Maxine's father to shut up and concentrate on blackmail terms to hang on Maxine's lover of the night. However, it's jail for the blackmailers, and Max--now ""Jane""--is balled out by George, follows him to India, but gets some grand ideas about the good life on the way over, hobnobbing with the nobs. So it's dump-ho for George, who is low in the raj hierarchy, and Jane, a looker, begins the upward climb via social and amatory conquests: a General's son (until the family snoops into her background), a nice sergeant (for money), and finally a loaded American who can't seem to get his divorce. The grandest coup--marriage to an American senator and escape to the Golden Land--is in the works after the war, until she acquires some fame for war work and is welcomed in London by the press, society--and the whole damn Wilmott family! Back to square one, bloody but unbowed, and all set to go another round. Good-natured knees-up fun from an old India-and-adventure hand--but it may be a bit too blighty for most American readers.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1977
Publisher: Scribners