THE DEMON DEVICE by Robert Saffron


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Arthur Conan Doyle at age 58 makes a highly unlikely James Bond in this hardworking but interminable WW I caper--supposedly narrated by dead Doyle from the Beyond. British Intelligence asks Doyle to ascertain the truth about some sort of rumored German super-weapon located somewhere in enemy territory. Off to Europe goes A.C.D.--teaching billiards to Albert Einstein (who gives some reluctant technical advice), meeting characters from Maugham's Ashenden, comparing notes with expatriate rebel Lenin, acquiring a Leninist femme fatale sidekick, disguising himself as a German laborer and a priest, rescuing the sidekick from prison, and discovering an atom bomb headed for Big Ben. Oh, yes--also some African psychic stuff. Larded with historical footnotes, this is a literary ha-ha without a single laugh; like the imitation-Sidney-Paget line drawings that accompany the text, it's all painfully mannered and smudged.

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 1979
Publisher: Putnam