LIMITED OPTIONS by Palma Harcourt


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Harcourt has managed to churn out some moderately competent thrillers in the past (The Distant Stranger, Shadows of Doubt, A Matter of Conscience), but this current offering is a lackluster exercise in which a British diplomat is forced to help terrorists who kidnap his son. Rory Maidment works for the British Consulate in Geneva while his nine-year-old son, Derek, stays with an aunt and uncle in England. But Rory learns to his horror that Derek has been kidnapped by a bunch of extremely serious young German terrorists--though if Rory does as he's told (and keeps his mouth shut), Derek will be released unharmed. Rory obliges and helps smuggle one Horst Zabel from France into Switzerland--Horst being the gentleman currently wanted all over the world for assassinating the President of France. Horst (recovering from plastic surgery) and his ruthless cohorts stay in Rory's home in Switzerland, while Rory struggles unbelievably to keep all of this a secret from relatives and friends. Rory--a droning bore--is finally stirred to action when he realizes that Horst et al. are not going to let Derek go alive. He kills Horst before being wounded himself--and awakens in a hospital to find that Derek's captor in England (an evil nanny type) didn't have the heart to off the lad in any event. A sluggish attempt at writing a modern thriller in the style of an old-fashioned tea-cozy mystery, full of stiff upper lips and bracing cups of tea. Not a felicitous combination.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1987
Publisher: Beaufort