I do like a bit of British curmudgeonry, and this well
written, well-crafted example of suaveness is your classic wartime comic adventure,
very much with a feel of The Thirty-Nine Steps about it, infused with
the tongue in cheek innuendo of John Steed and Emma Peel.
It’s a good, fun read, as our roguish upper-class spook is
charged with recovering and transporting a top-secret suitcase, which can change
the outcome of the imminent breakout of World War Two. Hitler and Churchill alike are parodied,
while traitorous treachery and red herrings abound, as our housebreaking hero tries
to decipher just whom around him can be trusted.
Feels a touch long perhaps, and does feel like it circles at
times, though I think this is in most part feels that way, because it is not
really a book which takes itself seriously – it veers heavily toward its
humour, some of which is a real belly laugh. I wonder if Pelham on Parole couldn’t have
been a tiny bit shorter. The plot was a
touch difficult to engage continuously, especially so when it starts to feature
a melodramatic style family backstory involving Pelham’s kin. But, to be honest, I really don’t think that
any of this is that important – this book is all about the comedy; the
quintessence and banter. There is a fair
amount of action, too, but this also falls secondary to the character
interaction and quippy dialogue. Plummer
is an ace at this, and he has the old school narrative down to a tee.
If you like a bit of traditional English sauce and your spooks
like George Smiley, this book will likely be a winner for you. A whole portion of fun, this unashamedly
English wartime comedy is definitely worth a look, and was an enjoyable way to
spend a few evenings.
In : Book Reviews