THE EASTER DINNER by Donald Downes
Kirkus Star


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Fast timing, a pictorial quality, a sense of drama add up to an exciting story. Though the background of Rome in 1944, at the tail end of German occupation, is one of hunger and terror and courage, there is a certain wry humor and irony in the telling that gives it an unusual quality. The central characters are Italian members of an anti-Fascist organization, plus a couple of American spies. Ciccio, an old stone mason, has been assigned the care of thirty six American signal corps homing pigeons. There is no food in Rome, even the cats and dogs and rats have been eaten. And Ciccio plans an Easter dinner engagement festa for his daughter. In desperation he slaughters the pigeons and they dine sumptuously. But conscience tortures him, so he and his son steal thirty six German trained pigeons as replacements. But these pigeons have been used in Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence, and the result is complete confusion. The Americans- even back home at the Pentagon-, the Allies and the Germans are equally involved in the mess. The thing that saves the situation is that already the Germans are on the last lap.

Publisher: Rinehart