THE MAN FROM RAFFLES by William Overgard


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Overgard's final book--he died last May--is another exuberant, bone-weary adventure yarn taking its British-educated knockabout hero back to Singapore and Borneo to investigate his father's death. ""Investigate"" isn't really the best word, though, to describe what Lawrence Slinng (whose family reportedly gave its name to the Singapore Sling) does once he sails into town with a crew of three women to revisit the Raffles Hotel, the storied establishment his father had managed since before the war (and had continued to manage under the hated Japanese occupiers)--from which his son had been banished 20 years earlier after beheading a statue of its imperial founder, Agreeing to help inspect the Sulu, a yacht whose owner, Hartog, the ""Australian Onassis,"" wants to get insurance for a voyage into Borneo, Slinng gets into a barfight the night before that lands him in the middle of a battle among the triads, Singapore's secret societies; he then finds himself fighting off insurance clerk Kim Sing, a triad family connection, and chasing Hartog and his glamorous sailing companion, Miri Brooke (who's not above a quiet little scam of her own) across the Java Sea into Borneo--where the mystery of Slinng Senior's death and the anticipated insurance fraud are both overshadowed by such Saturday matinee dangers as dart-firing blowguns, cannibalistic natives, starvation, and jungledeath syndrome. Can anybody doubt that this knot of plotlines will end up with Hartog defeated, Miri (despite a threatening prologue) safely recovered, and dad's mysterious death resolved? As in Shanghai Tango (1987), the action is nonstop, though adventures pile up so breathlessly that after a while they're more numbing than those anaesthetic darts.

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1990
Publisher: Simon & Schuster