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SHADOW OF THE MONSOON by William Manchester


by William Manchester

Pub Date: April 5th, 1956
Publisher: Doubleday

The setting of Delhi and a Himalayan hill town makes a turgid background for the maturing in love of two Americans who meet in India. Spike Wiley, an American biologist, with a phobia about gore and death after his war experiences, meets Katie and her English husband, Peter Becker. Katie too is living out illusions in an unreal marriage, and Peter, a kerosene salesman, in desperation sabotage Spike's inoculation program in order to win the regard of the Rajani and sell the district. Katie, remorseful because she has slept with Spike, goes along with Peter on the invitation of the Rajani to a leopard hunt. When the leopard is wounded unwillingly by Katie, he turns on Peter and kills him, then goes on a maddened trail of blood. Spike assumes Katie's determination to kill the wounded animal, and releases himself from his old fears. As in its predecessor, The City of Anger, Manchester is interested in the local political scene and in counterpoint to the love story plays the battle for power in the hill town- the big play, as the sadhu is stymied by the death of the Rajani after the sadhu has promised the restoration of his health. Repetitive and static in characterization, this still has its moments of drama, its elements of personal and public danger, its large cast of characters and the exotic background to appeal to readers demanding these ingredients. A man's book, perhaps, rather than a woman's, and for some a good choice.