THE KILROY GAMBIT by Irwin R. Blacker


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Taking off from his two historical novels (Westering and Taos) Blacker here relates several views of current issues --loyalty within a security agency, congressional demands for top secret information, and the validity of ""immoral business for the sake of moral people"". Director of GENOPS Maj. Gen. Richard LeGrande is caught in this play when photographed documents from the Russian Embassy in Kabul indicate to the Washington headquarters that there is a leak of arms, sent for protection (on a stay-behind policy) to that slim area separating Russia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and that they are now held by Russia. With the decision that Latham is to fly out under ""cover"" comes the word that GENOPS is suspected of traitorous mismanagement by Senator Lloyd and an investigation is in order. Further complications come from the possibility of a Russian intelligence officer defecting to the U.S. and LeGrande must have a positive answer for Lloyd on this. When he learns of Latham's security break it is his other right hand that takes the mission -- Mrs. Janet Garner -- and her fate, on this irregular operation (the Kilroy of the title), holds LeGrande and the rest of his staff on the defensive. LeGrande's own quick trip to check the Russian proves him correct in refusing to accept him, is countered by the apprehension of dependable agents, and while this, along with Janet's last report, gives him a chance to wipe out Lloyd's attacks before the investigation, he is hamstrung on the question of sacrificing the few to save the many. The complications -- national and international -- here settle down into an espionage story which has a substantial toughness in its ethical inquiries. Men primarily- but it can join the ladies.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1960
Publisher: World