THE SPOILS OF THE VICTORS by Paul Edmondson

THE SPOILS OF THE VICTORS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In late 1945 some American Army officers in charge of a Nuremberg POW camp for German prisoners are living rather well. They billet separately in a kindergarten, keep house with frauleins, and eat roast young pig. Their Thanksgiving dinner is disrupted by the news that Polish guards have poisoned the bread of the German prisoners with strychnine, that five victims are already dead and 70 ill. Captain Barker, the camp CO, a scarred, piggish brute interested only in becoming a major and retiring in five years, refuses to call in medical aid and jeopardize his career, and institutes devious ways to cover up the mess. By combining a compromised autopsy report with a false report that a Polish guard has confessed and committed suicide, he successfully palliates matters with his superiors who don't give a hoot anyway. Meanwhile, two of his junior officers, intent on exposing the captain, receive information that leads them to where the real killer is hiding in the city's rubble. Unfortunately for their plan, they are forced to kill this man when they find him, and they return to live in the kindergarten with their CO and the frauleins. Many scenes in the kindergarten are luridly orgiastic and highlighted with macabre irony, pointing up the moral that we are all children in a mad world. It is good melodrama and the characters are well-observed, particularly the women.

Pub Date: April 14th, 1964
Publisher: Simon & Schuster