BLACK MADONNA by Jacynth Hope-Simpson


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Local color, heavily applied as it is, is the chief distinction of this escapist adventure which gets off to a stiff, choppy start as two stereotypically unlike English boys just out of high school agree to drive together to Yugoslavia. A couple of high class Swiss art thieves head the same way with designs on the icons to be found in remote churches, and they show up at a roadside cave where Roger, Stephen, and their new half-Scots, haft-Yugoslav friend Joey have just discovered an old painted Madonna stashed on a ledge. Impulsively, the crooks make off with the icon, and with Joey who holds on to it--but Joey escapes when their car gets caught in a highway crew's dynamite blast. Meanwhile, with athletic Roger stranded on the ledge, scholarly Stephen, an inexperienced driver, careens in pursuit around hairpin turns, is knocked out in a skid, and then arrested for a Russian spy. Too much? Wait until you learn that tough, nationalistic Joey is really Zoë and that the Madonna is a long-lost, miracle-working 13th-century masterpiece that may or may not have saved her life. Which makes this a likely candidate for the feminist imprimatur but otherwise no threat to the Hardy boys.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Nelson