Tuesday, October 10, 2006

06.32 The Trojan Horse by Hammond Innes

The Trojan Horse (1940) by Hammond Innes
Pbk., Fontana, 190 pp.

Hammond Innes, the great British suspense writer scores again with this pre-war mystery. It seems to have been inspired , in part, by the Russian invasion of Finland (the Winter War) at the beginning of WWII.

One day an Austrian Jew who is wanted for murder enters the office of Andrew Kilmartin, KC (King's Counsel) and tells a fantastic tale, then disappears. It turns out that this fellow has invented a better diesel engine, one that could win the war, but the British government won't believe him. Unfortunately, the Nazis are operating with relative impunity at this point in the war and they have gotten wind of the invention.

Kilmartin connects with the Austrian's daughter and a journalist chum in a whirlwind investigation that takes them the length and breadth of the Isles. After a number of dust-ups and encounters with nefarious characters the action culminates on a freighter loaded with tanks heading for the Finnish coast.

This was one of Innes' better novels.


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