CHARLIE, COME HOME by R. F. Delderfield


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As in his many earlier entertainments, the late Delderfield set his action at a comfortable remove from the contemporary tempo so that now violence, sex, and even a bollixed bank robbery are as smooth as vintage honey. These are the confessions of Charlie Pritchard who in 1929, without discernible enthusiasm, came to further his banking career in a still-prosperous Welsh establishment. Charlie's decision to rob his bank arose not from greed or love but ""out of a gray pit of boredom, and burst very softly in [his] face, like a sewer bubble."" But he did give credit to Amazonian Ida, his employer-landlord's daughter, for making a man of him in bed, and to a temptress, exotic Delphine, the ""sister"" of sinister Beppo, who plots the crime. After elaborate tunneling, key heists, and rather ragged timing, the affair ends in chaos when Charlie trips the snare laid by his partners and Delphine and Beppo are accidentally killed. It's good old Ida who helps him put the bodies and the money under asphalt--the same asphalt about to be torn up 40 years later while Charlie watches spellbound. Delderfield as Westlake--with a celluloid collar and a bowler tipped over one eye. Enjoy.

Pub Date: Aug. 20th, 1976
Publisher: Simon & Schuster