THE MOODY MAN by John Milne


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London ex-cop and hard-boiled gumshoe Jimmy Jenner (Dead Birds, p. 99) gets an urgent summons from his police-days chum Peter Moody--and arrives at Moody's posh flat just in time to discover the bloody corpse of a Middle Eastern-looking woman. What's going on? Did Moody kill the woman? And should Jenner help Moody (an elusive fugitive) to flee to Europe? Before making up his mind, Jenner indulges in a longish flashback: Moody's mysterious expulsion from the police-force; his subsequent alcoholism and emigration to Canada, where he apparently made a fortune in horticulture and/or gunrunning. Back in the present, Jenner does help Moody--only to find himself harassed by enigmatic Special Branch agents, one of whom turns up dead on his doorstep. It soon emerges that Moody is some sort of spy, perhaps a traitorous one who's been shrewdly framed by British Intelligence. But, with a rendezvous in Salzburg and a shootout/showdown back home, several more twists await--most of them, unfortunately, excessively familiar ones for readers of the le CarrÉ generation. Still, as in Dead Birds, Jenner--one-legged (thanks to a terrorist bomb), estranged from cop-wife Judy--is a dourly appealing narrator, especially amusing here in his Francophobia. So, though the plotting this time is more murky than clever, some readers (those partial to spy-convolutions, anyway) may hang on for the meandering, bumpy ride.

Pub Date: Jan. 20th, 1987
ISBN: 1874061890
Publisher: Viking