As in Broadbent's first post-WWII British spy caper to feature cat burglar Jethro, The Smoke , his second lighthearted thriller finds British intelligence enlisting Jethro's criminal expertise in the national interest. To thwart a resurgence of fascism just a few years after the Nazis' defeat, the thief must recover some compromising records that implicate a member of the royal family in a right-wing conspiracy.
Complicating Jethro's efforts to serve his handlers is a gangland war that threatens those dearest to him. Unfortunately, the author fails to match his engaging, roguish hero with a suitable plot. Despite the fast-paced action and diverting appearances by David Niven and Ian Fleming, the last-minute, hairbreadth rescues including one of an attractive woman apparently intended as a sacrifice strain credulity and diminish the impact of the political issues raised. Acts of Allegiance. Peter Cunningham. Villainous Victorians.
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