ANY NUMBER CAN PLAY by Dennis Bloodworth


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A very advanced, almost inscrutable Far Eastern entertainment veering between intrigue and farce with an intimidating international sophistication which sometimes makes you feel as if you were caught in a crossfire between Evelyn Waugh and Modesty Blaise. Mr. Bloodworth is the London Observer correspondent who earlier looked through The Chinese Looking Glass and his readers will remember that he can turn a perfect phrase or deliver a very funny line (""all that good thinking the Americans go in for""). This small chapter of realpolitik takes place in the little kingdom of Mekong where its westernized, liberalized ruler Sissomak has left for China while his cousin has effected a coup d'etat. Amid the usual numbered if not lettered interests (CIA, KGB, HCKC which stands for disinformation department) there's a nice news service reporter forced into positions he would not consider otherwise and a slow-thinking U.S. presidential adviser and a British Secret Intelligence agent called Greeene (all three e's) with a ""saurian smile"" and above all an omniscient seer, the Bonze, who conceals far worldlier schemes behind his sacrosanct presence. Mr. Bloodworth is much too easily diverted from telling his so-called story which is as slippery as Won-Ton soup and it's strictly for mandarin tastes in the genre.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1972
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux