THE WINDSOR PLOT by Pauline Glen Winslow


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Like Harry Patterson's To Catch a King (1979) and several other ""factions,"" this overlong novel speculates fancifully about Nazi attempts (circa 1940) to enlist the support of the weak, vain Duke of Windsor--who comes off rather badly here. In Winslow's version there's a full-blown Hitler plot to put the pro-Nazi Duke, currently sunning in Portugal, back on the English throne. How so Well, the wooing of the Duke and Duchess--who are very bitter about their post-abdication treatment--is being suavely managed by Friedrich von Auerbach, a royal relation who has convinced the couple that George VI is near death, that ""warmonger"" Churchill is planning a virtual coup, that only the Duke can save England, that the Abdication can be repealed. (The Duchess--""a snake in a corset""--needs little convincing.) Meanwhile, two assassinations are also being planned: King George will be given a lethal shot during his next holiday up in Scotland--where royal housemaid Jean is in sexual thrall to a German agent; Churchill, via a scheme involving Irish/Welsh nationalists as well as Nazis, will die in a faked plane crash. And old Lloyd George is being primed to take over the government as the Duke retakes the throne. Horrors? Yes indeed. But all of the schemes are ultimately, foiled, of course--by the peripatetic doings of a super-agent working for Churchill, by the bravery of housemaid Jean (who wakes up to her lover's perfidy), and by the pluck of King George and Queen Betty themselves. Winslow, author of the uneven Merle Capricorn mysteries and the cartoonish future-thriller I, Martha Adams (1984), works very hard here--filling out a hectic, merry-go-round plot with some amusing details as well as some fussy subplots (the sexual jealousy among the Windsors' Portuguese servants, the Goering/Canaris feudings). But most readers will find this awfully slow going, much too slow to sustain interest in a blatantly imaginary, excessively farfetched scenario--with a cast of dozens, but no single character worth focusing on.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1985
Publisher: St. Martin's