The author of Cross of Iron and Crack of Doom attempts to explore the intricaies of duplicity in this story of postwar Germany which becomes progressively pointless and increasingly haphazard. Karl Schneider, a former Nazi, now a high government official n West Germany is distressed by the appearance of Ernst Wagner, son of a Social Democrat whom Schneider denounced during the war. To compound his difficulties two undesirable men are in love with his daughter -- one, Klaus, is a deranged cripple, the other, Hergett, is a former p.o.w. with hopeless prospects. Paralleling Schneider's hapless dealings with the blackmailer and his unfortunate relationship with his wife is the vague jostling of the two suitors for the affections of Kathrina which she alternately distributes mindlessly to both. By the time of the devastating conclusion Klaus has committed suicide, Hergett has been killed recrossing the border into East Germany, Schneider has discovered that the blackmailer's incriminating evidence was non-existent and Kathrina has agreed to marry the man of her father's choosing. An inept and awkward effort which cannot be due entirely to the translation.