THE MAN AT THE WHEEL by Michael Kenyon


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Kenyon never writes conventional murder-mysteries for Harry Peckover of Scotland Yard (The Molehill File). And this time the chief trick is that the narration is divided: it goes back and forth between sardonic, poetic Peckover (recovering from injuries in a Little Rock, Ark. hospital) and jaunty journalist Peter Ramsden (also injured). The story they tell, alternately, is pretty much the same one: Ramsden is a near-eyewitness to the mysterious ear-crash death of four wealthy Arabs-after which the car's chauffeur disappears. And some time later Ramsden spots the chauffeur . . . who is now the Reverend Jody James, a US revival/born-again preacher doing a tour of Britain! So the two narratives follow the Reverend's tour, with both Ramsden and Kenyon on his trail. There are long to-do's about such clues as a false tooth and an attachÉ case. And the trail eventually brings everybody over to the Reverend's Arkansas stomping-ground--for violence, showdowns, and a final twist which almost justifies the back-and-forth narration throughout. Some amusing moments in the justaposition of revival preaching and Manchester mores--but a minor Peckover indeed, with less excitement and atmosphere than usual.

Pub Date: Sept. 24th, 1982
Publisher: Doubleday