THE FLAW IN THE CRYSTAL by Godfrey Smith

THE FLAW IN THE CRYSTAL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Roger Meredith, a Civil Servant, assigned to make and develop the friendship of Graham Several in order to determine his suitability for an intelligence post, is confronted by a charming but chimerical character. And so it is through Several's friends, his quondam women, and through his own fascinated contact with Several himself that he gradually learns a little- but never enough- about Several who is wealthy, brilliant, sudden, sometimes perverse, and ultimately inviolable and cryptic. A big business deal in which Several comes to terms with a known bounder leads him to believe that Several can be corrupted- but his integrity is restored with the later turn down on the contract; embarassed that his friendship conceals a ""sordid official curiosity"", Meredith is later startled to know that Several has also investigated him; and his final approval of Several- for the mission- is met with the fact that another man has been selected- as a deliberate decoy for the enemy- and that this entire project has been an elaborate ruse.... An entertainment, which moves quietly but with a sophisticated assurance through an expensive world and flirts with the unexpected. Diverting.

Publisher: Putnam