THE KINDNESS OF DR. AVICENNA by John Pearson

THE KINDNESS OF DR. AVICENNA

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The slight, far-fetched, mildly droll nightmare-adventures of narrator Henry Moreton--the Rome representative for Lloyd's of London. Moreton's festival of disasters begins when a shady, aggressively chummy chap named Dr. Avicenna demands that Lloyd's issue a policy for Avicenna's client: the suave, decadent Prince of Santo Stefano, who wants to be insured against kidnapping. . . for $10 million (payable as ransom to the nappers). Moreton smells something fishy, refuses to go along, But then his much-younger, much-loved wife Diana disappears, apparently with a young, handsome, unnamed lover! And when Avicenna promises that Diana will return if Moreton approves the kidnap-policy, the temptation is too great: the policy is issued. Diana does return (soon becoming pregnant), so everyone's happy. . . until, of course, the Prince is kidnapped. Is this, then, as is generally suspected, a fake kidnapping arranged by the Prince and Avicenna? Or has the Prince been truly kidnapped by terrorists? And is the terrorist-leader Diana's mystery-lover? Well, all these questions are answered--with minimal plausibility--when Moreton himself is nabbed and taken to the Prince's castle, then freed by a last-minute twist. But the tinker-toy plotting here is secondary to the breezy, crisply downbeat narration--which makes this minor frolic an agreeable diversion, even after the fanciful first half (which is reminiscent of Thomas Berger's paranoia-thons) slips over into more mundane comedy-suspense.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1982
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston