An international melodrama about the ruin of a career diplomat, this features some likable characters and human-sized villains. In keeping the story scaled to dramatic values and genuinely felt emotions, the author is forced to keep the heroes and villains separated in alternate chapters nearly until the climax. In the plot an Australian detective-sergeant is dispatched from Sydney to London to arrest the highest Australian diplomat for the murder of his wife 23 years past. The diplomat admits to the murder but he is also the vital member who seems successfully to be bringing a conference on the Vietnam war to a peaceful settlement. Therefore, he persuades the sergeant to delay arresting him for five days until the conference is settled, peace being more important than his crime. During the five days a female racketeer, who doesn't want peace in Saigon, attempts several times to murder the diplomat. The pleasantly drab detective-sergeant, Scobie Malone, constantly discovers how mean his own life is in contrast to the effective, world-minded diplomat's. There's not a single heroic feat, since the accent is not on events but persons. Quite good.