THE AMINDRA GAMBLE by John & David Westheimer Sherlock


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Well-done WW II sea-melodrama--with a fairly plausible pseudo-historical hook. It's 1940, and Winston Churchill decides to move the entire gold bullion reserves of England to Canada for safekeeping in case of invasion by Hitler: the enormously heavy gold has been loaded aboard the Cunard liner Amindra, which is captained by Thomas Penrose. But, as a cover--so that the ship won't be sunk by U-boats--the Amindra also carries British children being taken to America to escape the Blitz, plus an American associate of Ambassador Joseph Kennedy. Will the Germans leave the Amindra alone, then? Hardly. Tipped off about the gold by a spy, they dispatch U-boats and the warboat Adler (disguised as a Norwegian fishing vessel). Meanwhile, we meet assorted passengers on the Amindra, especially: beautiful 26-year-old virgin Shirley Hunt, who is watching over the children (while avoding being raped by First Officer Barrett, who's really an England-hating, French Canadian Nazi); and tatty music-hall entertainer John Millis (actually with Naval Intelligence), whom Shirley slowly comes to love. Will the Germans commandeer the Amindra? If so, will Capt. Penrose (on orders from Churchill) purposely blow up the ship and all aboard? And will Millis finally save the day? Familiar questions--but it's all suavely handled, with engaging characters and evocative shipboard details.

Pub Date: April 16th, 1982
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan