THE GOLDEN MILE by John Sherlock


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More pulp porridge à la Judy Krantz and Shirley Conran from the author of J.B. 's Daughter (1981), etc. In this sluggish and highly imitative outing, four women escape the Warsaw Ghetto with a fortune in jewels; three survive to be tracked down by a vengeful killer. The Warsaw Ghetto, 1943: as the Nazis close in on the last remaining nucleus of Jewish resistance, the badly wounded Josef Kandalmann (a nightclub owner who had once renounced his Jewishness and is now fighting to the death) gives three of his most trusted couriers a fortune in gems. Their assignment should they decide to accept it? To escape Warsaw and use the treasure to provide aid to anyone who might survive the Holocaust. The three are Anna Maxell, an American-born teacher, Janet Taylor, an English nurse with socialist leanings, and Pan Halevi, Kandalmann's faithful retainer/bodyguard. Once outside the Ghetto, they hook up with Genevieve Fleury, a lovely young Frenchwoman with a checkered past, and Keja, a pregnant gypsy, both of whom work for Kandalmann. The five head for Switzerland, but Halevi is trapped along with the gems in a burning farmhouse and presumed dead, and Keja dies giving birth to a baby girl (father unknown), whom the other three women call Janna. The plot then bounces like a topspinned Ping Pong ball over the ensuing decades. Anna, Janet, Genevieve, and Janna survive an internment camp in Spain. Genevieve works diligently as a high-class call girl to open a finishing school in Switzerland, but is mysteriously murdered. Janet falls in love with an Asian revolutionary, moves to Malaysia, and is mysteriously murdered. Anna takes Janna to New York, marries a diplomat turned art dealer (who commits suicide when someone mysteriously claims he's dealing in stolen paintings) and is herself pushed in front of a subway car, but mysteriously survives. The story wheezes to its ponderous close in 1985, when Pan Halevi suddenly appears and explains it all; he'd escaped the burning farmhouse but had dropped the jewels in a Swiss lake. Afraid to tell Kandalmann (who had also survived), Halevi claimed the women had made off with the money, and Kandalmann forced him to commit murder and mayhem in revenge. The crazed Kandalmann now confronts Janna (who is powerful head of Star Industries in LA), confesses that he's her father, and leaps out of a 35-story condo window with a live hand grenade, never to return. A copper mile, if that, and one well, well traveled.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1986
Publisher: Viking