Only with a Bargepole

Joyce Porter

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18 July 2013
202 pages

Eddie Brown is confused. He knows he is debonair, suave, cultured, intelligent and fatally attractive to women. Why, then, does Life keep coming apart in his hands?

For reasons which the government is not yet prepared to disclose, Eddie – ex-schoolmaster and fluent Russian linguist – is a member of the Special Overseas Directorate. Known to initiates as the S.O.D., this is an organisation specialising in industrial espionage and it is, incidentally, on Our Side.

Spying is a very nerve-wracking business and when Eddie is entrusted with a perfectly simple courier job, he does rather tend to see sinister figures lurking under every bed. He responds in a typically Eddie way, using his initiative in situations where a modicum of elementary horse-sense might have been more appropriate. Before he knows what’s happening, his primary mission of delivery a small parcel to an address in Vienna sinks without trace and Eddie finds himself flashing around Europe, hopelessly in league with a gang of kidnappers. The kidnappers’ victim is Miss Muriel Drom, the daughter of Eddie’s boss at S.O.D. At first Miss Drom is strangely resistant to Eddie’s charisma but eventually as they get to know one another and face death side by side, her attitude undergoes a mysterious change.

Finally . . . Well, everybody loves a happy ending, don’t they?