2 May 2015.
First published in 1928
This is a full blooded 1920s thriller of the Bulldog Drummond ilk. It begins quietly with an officer arriving at the foot of the Simla Hills carrying an important map which is greatly desired by the enemies of British India. After he is stabbed and killed the authorities in India send for Sir Leonard Wallace, chief of the Intelligence Department. Wallace and his assistant Major Brien fly out from England in a specially chartered plane to investigate. The journey takes four days using two pilots.
The enemy is assumed to be a group of Russian Bolsheviks and villainous enemies they certainly prove to be. It is a rollicking tale as the battle of wits goes to and fro and each side gains superiority only to be quickly defeated again. It is a violent struggle as it is phrased at one point - they ..." placed their two opponents hors de combat in a groaning, gasping heap of mixed humanity." On our side are brave men though we have the occasional bad egg who spies for the Russians. On their side are wily leaders showing fiendish cruelty. The heroes withstand unbelievable punishment but maintain their sangfroid - unless their beautiful wives are threatened!
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
This is the first of a series of reprints about Wallace of the Secret Service.
He died 4 April 1963, after four wives, and a most colourful life.