THE LOSS OF THE CULION by Jeffrey Ashford


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There's little of Ashford's usual sly irony this time around, but the suspense is neat and steady--starting when seedy, youngish career seaman Bill Stevens refuses to join his fellow officers in some undisclosed seam aboard the Culion (an old cargo-ship off India) . . . and promptly finds himself hit on the head and left to die when the Culion mysteriously explodes and sinks. Stevens survives (eight days on a raft), returning to England--where he learns that he's been branded a coward by those crooked officers . . . who think he's dead. Sure that the ship's demise was an insurance fiddle and determined to clear his name, Stevens goes to the police, seeks out the crooks, is soon being threatened and roughed up. His dissatisfied wife ditches him. One of the crooked officers is found dead. So Stevens--now befriended by the dead officer's sister--is on the run . . . till he pluckily forces a final confrontation. No mystery to speak of--and Stevens is a wee bit too goody-goody for admirers of Ashford's more cynical usual tack; but this is a tight, professional, quick-reading recycling of one of the older plots around.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1981
Publisher: Walker