THE PERPIGNON EXCHANGE by Warren Kiefer

THE PERPIGNON EXCHANGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Kiefer turns from last year's western epic Outlaw to another kind of adventure--this time about an amiably inept French/Palestinian con man, self-styled computer expert, and pastry addict who is caught between his two identities: Dahoud el Beida and David Perpignon. One jump ahead of the Greek authorities for running guns to Eritrea as el Beida, the unlikely hero boards a flight to Vienna, planning to live as Perpignon until the heat's passed over. But when the plane is hijacked by Palestinian terrorists, he's mistaken by the world press--and the hijackers themselves--as mastermind of the plot. Stuck in Libya under the watchful eyes of terrorist chief Khalil Malduum, he's allowed out as el Beida only to fly a mysterious suitcase to Rome, where he's instantly unmasked (the suitcase is stuffed with plastic explosive) and recruited as Perpignon against the Libyans by bullying Dick Diamond. He spends the next several weeks shuttling back and forth, feeding each side information about the other while his open-minded wife Solange cuckolds him with members of both parties. Eventually he's shanghaied by plausible Alan Preston and his old pal Ike Maxwell into an ""unsound, insane, unlikely, preprosterous, cockamamie scheme"" to rob half a billion dollars from Qaddafi's coffers--or is it to rescue the still-imprisoned hostages from his fatal flight?--while preventing former fellow-hostage Karen Koenig from unwittingly giving him away to Captain Nagy of the Libyan police and fending off Nagy's suspicion that Preston's really in Libya to poison the water supply. Borsch-belt terrorism, full of boisterous threats and counterthreats that frazzle rather than endanger, like a Libyan version of Neil Simon's The Out-of-Towners.

Pub Date: Dec. 18th, 1990
Publisher: Donald Fine