Back in the early '60s when I was reading espionage fiction by the 'barrow-load, I read a lot of Victor Canning's novels in paperback editions. His work was always smooth and satisfactory, and I enjoyed the books a great deal. I thought about them not long ago while reading the short stories in a new Crippen & Landru collection titled The Minerva Club, and I'll get around to reviewing that one soon.
Anyway, reading the stories reminded me of how much I liked the novels, so I looked through the accumulation for one of them. I ran across Doubled in Diamonds, which features a private-eye named Rex Carver. It begins like a typical p.i. story, with Carver being asked to locate a missing heir, which should be a simple matter. It's not. Carver finds himself investigating the theft of a multi-million-dollar diamond theft, which in turn invoves him with a pair of beautiful Chinese spies, drugs, and a beautiful blonde. After that, things get a lot more complicated.
No matter how complicated the case, however, Carver's urbane narration carries the story forward with smooth assurance. There are no explosions or car chases, but there's plenty of suspense and good writing.
Canning was one of those writers who could do just about anything and do it well, but as of now, most of his work is out of print in the U. S. Probably in England, too, and that's a shame. All his forgotten novels are worth a look, and if you run across one, read it and see if you don't agree.