THE BALLAD OF PECKHAM RYE by Muriel Spark

THE BALLAD OF PECKHAM RYE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Last year's Memento Mori found some delighted readers -- and some indifferent ones -- but this current work settles for another view of the ""awful"" young men. It is very much kin to The Upward Glide by Ian Jeffries (Harper -- see P. 305) for its hero (?), like John Craig, has a ""high fragility index"" and a degree, comes from arts to industry, and is involved in organizational research. Dougal Douglas is employed by Meadows, Meade and Gridley, in Peckham Rye, over the river from London, to investigate absenteeism in its ylon textiles factory and his procedures take on the flavor of a diabolical agent. In being a party to driving one of his employers to murder, another to a prolonged leave of absence, and taking a job with a competitor under an assumed name, he is also instrumental in disturbing the inner lives of the workers, families and other inhabitants of Peckham Rye. He is believed to be a copper, a spy and a thoroughly bad piece; he is the cause of a bride being left at the altar by her groom; and he vanishes, leaving the usually placid local waters well muddied. An ingenious exercise, the sharpened wit here may be obscured by a domestic lack of interest.

Pub Date: July 29th, 1960
ISBN: 0811214087
Publisher: Lippincott