Lance Bradley, idling his life away in Somerset, suddenly receives a call for help from the eccentric sister of his old friend Rupert Alder. Rupe appears to have vanished without trace. Reluctantly, Lance goes to London where he discovers that Rupe's employers want him tried for fraud. A Japanese businessman claims he has stolen a document of huge ...
Lance Bradley, idling his life away in Somerset, suddenly receives a call for help from the eccentric sister of his old friend Rupert Alder. Rupe appears to have vanished without trace. Reluctantly, Lance goes to London where he discovers that Rupe's employers want him tried for fraud. A Japanese businessman claims he has stolen a document of huge importance. And Rupe has hired a private detective to try and trace an American called Townley, who was involved in a mysterious death thirty years before. No sooner has Lance decided that whatever Rupe was up to is far too risky to get involved in, than he finds that he already is involved. And the only way out is to get in deeper still. Where is Rupe? What is the document he has stolen? Who is Townley? And could the seemingly unexplainable events of the past hold the key to a secret more shocking than Lance Bradley could ever have imagined?
This is the story of Lance Bradley, a young British man who is asked to look for Rupe, his childhood friend, who has gone missing for about three months. Lance, a bit of a wastrel with little or no direction in his life, undertakes this search which takes him to three continents in the course of a couple of weeks. There doesn't seem to be any reason why Rupe would just disappear although Goddard introduces a number of possibilities.
I have long been a great fan of Robert Goddard but this book just didn't do it for me. By the end, I didn't care what had happened to Rupe or even why he was nowhere to be found. I somehow got the impression that Goddard felt the same way.
There are hordes of good guys, villians and those who fall somewhere in the middle. The descriptions of all the cities Lance visits during his whirlwind two-week round the world trip was rather interesting though.
What was lacking from this book was what I always refer to as the "whiplash" effect that I have come to expect from a Goddard book. Just when you are complacent and think you have all the players analyzed, he throws you a curveball. Alas, mighty Goddard struck out.
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