TOUCH AND GO by Josephine Poole


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Not the usual summer vacation time-killer, but quick-acting suspense in which Emily has survived an auto crash and (though she isn't sure) witnessed a murder by the time she and her mother arrive at the rundown Devon guest house that doesn't live up to its brochures. There Emily meets Charles, a serious sort of boy who asks her to think up ways of blowing up the Naval College, and discovers that the dead (murdered?) old woman she saw in the hospital was her landlady's mother-in-law. Alert detectives might be able to stay one jump ahead of Emily, but like Hitchcock, Poole relies less on complex plot twists than on mesmerizing images: the best is a pet food truck with an oversized bone mounted on top concealing a terrorist group's radio antenna. It winds up with a Catch as Catch Can (1970) chase scene that carries the pet food angle as far as decency allows when Emily's pursuer ends up as chicken feed. Owlish Charles is curiously convincing as the precocious son of a Scotland Yard investigator, and the pace a sizzler from the word go.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Harper & Row