THE KALIGARH FAULT by Paul Roadarmel


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Derring-do in the drug-smuggling Himalayas--routinely plotted and peopled but tugged along attractively with economical verve and gritty authenticity. Tommy Berren, anthropologist/journalist and live-in expert on India, is given an unwanted assignment by the news-service/spy-group that won't let him quit: he must follow up on a previous aborted mission--his old chum Jason Josefs disappeared with Tommy's lady-love, Anna, while the three of them were tracking down the source of an opium-smuggling thread somewhere along the craggy, icy China/India border. So Tommy hunts for the missing duo, now no longer a duo: drug-addict Anna is the mistress of an Indian tycoon in Delhi, where Tommy gets a clue from her while avoiding being killed by the tycoon's henchmen and/or Delhi street-rioters. And this clue leads him--along with a stereotype soldier-of-fortune sidekick--into the Himalayas for rugged treks, near-falls, rockslides, slippery glaciers. . . and the missing Jason, who has been continuing the mission and has by now staked out the opium source: a monastery in the Kaligarh valley. Infiltrating this fortress becomes the order of the day, of course, especially when Anna appears there, an apparent hostage. The concealed villains here are hardly concealed at all, and almost all the physical ordeals along the way have been described before more gutsily; but Roadarmel knows the landscape and culture better than most purveyors of suspense exotica, and the unromanticized detail gives this by-the-numbers adventure a slight edge over similar exploits.

Pub Date: May 23rd, 1979
Publisher: Harper & Row