It's genuinely taut; the suspense is irresistible. Soldier is the little Hungarian boy--his real name is Szoltan--who faithfully trails after Woolcott, the narrator. Their adventure begins when Soldier overhears a group of Hungarians discussing a murder plot. The boys wedge themselves onto the scene of the crime, but when they report it to the police the evidence and the body have disappeared, which leads them on a cross-country (English countryside) marathon with some strikingly sinister villains popping up every time they find refuge. The dialogue maintains a rapid tempo with humorous interjections and leaves just enough left unsaid (for instance, Woolcott's conversation with his mother usually runs to ""'Yeah.' 'Don't say Yeah. If you mean Yes, say Yes.'"" But you know they love each other just as you know Woolcott's affection for Soldier everytime he cuffs him.) The ending comes as a contrived afterthought, but it doesn't really matter, the fun was in the going. Juvenile thrillers are rare, and this is a good one.