Thursday, September 29, 2005

Book Number 36


The Blue Ice (1948) by Hammond Innes

Hammond Innes (1914-1998) was an English author who produced over 30 adventure novels often based on the sea.
He should not be confused with the British crime author Michael Innes (1906-1994). M. Innes wrote a large number of mysteries whose most popular hero was Inspector John Appleby of Scotland Yard. One of his books was reviewed here in this blog.

But back to Hammond Innes: His adventure novels are similar in genre to those written by, for example, (the highly recommended) Desmond Bagley, Alistair MacLean and Duncan Kyle. These authors often travelled extensively and set their action in exotic, rugged locales that feature a hero in some sort of race against time. The books are written very sparely with lots of dialogue, short sentences and vivid descriptions of the environment.

In The Blue Ice, Innes molds his tale around a recently retired geologist about to set sail for a well deserved Mediterranean cruise on his sailboat. At the last minute, however, his old boss from the large British mining concern throws a mystery on his lap that involves a missing colleague and a possible discovery of a rare metal in the glaciers of Norway.

All this sets the stage for a lot of sailing jargon and thrills as they make their way to the Norwegian fjiords. This is then followed by a protracted chase across the mountains in search of the final solution.

Typically, Innes books grab me but this one seemed to be fairly slow to take hold. Eventually, even though the hook in the story wasn't very good, I got caught up in the writing and mystery enough to carry me through the end of the book. So not the best Innes or even adventure tale I've read but certainly competent.

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