Last Update 5/24/18

Attack Alarm by Hammond Innes, Fontana, 1969 (originally published in 1941)

Action at an anti-aircraft defense station on the British coast during World War II. A group of fifth columnists are planning to sabotage the defenses to allow German troops to land and take control of the coast bases, the beginning of a major invasion of the islands. A journalist serving on a gun crew figures out that something is wrong and, after no one believe him initially, eventually proves that the conspiracy is real and helps to defeat the plan. Somewhat overly reliant on coincidences but certainly exciting. 5/24/18

Her Desert Lover by Louisa Carter Lee, Chelsea House, 1925  

Will F.Jenkins, aka Murray Leinster, also wrote romance fiction early in his career under this pseudonym. Although there is a love affair in the book, it is basically a very simple murder mystery. The protagonist shelters a girl with amnesia, then finds another woman lying dead nearby. The live girl eventually regains her memory and complains that her father is trying to force her to marry someone she despises. The dead woman turns out to be the protagonistís estranged aunt. Eventually the female lead is accused of having committed the murder, but it is painfully obvious that her intended husband is the killer. Some minor alarms and excursions follow before everything is straightened out. Not badly written but completely forgettable. The title is meaningless. The hero had just returned from a trip to Egypt, but there is no further reference to a desert. 5/21/18

Trapped by Hammond Innes, Ballantine, 1940  

British title was Wreckers Must Breathe. A journalist is vacationing in Cornwall just as World War II begins and he and a local fisherman are taken prisoner when they investigate a possible spy. They are transferred by submarine to a secret German naval base inside an enormous cave where they have a series of low key adventures. Eventually they organize a handful of other prisoners and rebel against the Germans, disabling the base and trapping a number of submarines. The scenes in the mine that connects to the cave are rather eerie and the last few chapters are particularly exciting. Innes is very fair in his treatment of the German characters, many of whom he describes in complimentary terms.5/18/18

The Trojan Horse by Hammond Innes, Fontana, 1962 (originally published in 1940) 

This is the earliest Hammond Innes adventure story readily available. It was published early during World War II so itís not surprising that the villains are Nazi agents. A lawyer is approached by a man who has been framed for murder. He is actually a brilliant inventor whose new engine design might tip the balance in the air war. He disappears and is presumed dead and a secret coded message leads our hero to track down the manís daughter and the prototype engine, while being pursued by a variety of thugs. This leads to the discovery of fifth columnists including a prominent industrialist who is actively working for the Nazis. There is an excellent chase sequence through the sewers under London and a nearly as good climax aboard a munitions ship. There is some mild wartime propaganda - the chief Nazi in the story is a caricature - but it's an exciting and well constructed adventure by a writer who would get even better with the passage of time. 5/7/18

 

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