Friday, August 28, 2009

Forgotten Books: Manhunt Is My Mission -- Stephen Marlowe

I'm on record as being a Stephen Marlowe fan, so I figured it was time to include one of his books here. The protagonist/narrator of a series of p. i. books Marlowe wrote for Gold Medal is Chester Drum. He's more of a spy than a p. i., and he often winds up in exotic locations, in this case the fictional Middle Eastern country of Motamar, where there's a revolution going on. He's been hired to find a doctor named Turner Capehart and bring him back to the U. S. Finding Capehart is simple enough, but bringing him back isn't because Capehart's involved in the revolution. And before long, so is Drum. Even when he gets back to the U. S., his troubles aren't over. The revolution follows him.

As is often the case with the old Gold Medals, there's more plot packed into 176 pages here than you find in many much thicker thrillers today. Lots of well-done local color, plenty of action, a little heroism, and even some political commentary.

Manhunt is my Mission was published in 1961. Here's something one character says on page 20: "If Motamar stumbles into real democracy . . . I want to be around to see what happens. I don't give feudalism ten years in the Middle East if Motamar goes democratic, and every American who's doing what he can to help here is going to be one more reason why these countries may turn to the West when they discover the twentieth century." Makes me wonder if George Bush read the book.


Anonymous said...

You know George Bush doesn't read, Bill. Give him a one page summary, maybe he'll skim it.


George said...

I loved reading Stephen Marlowe's books. Good choice!

Scott Cupp said...

A great choice by a prime forgotten writer.

clark said...

one of the best of the Gold Medalist series writers -- talk about forgotten books, Chet Drum hasn't been heard from in years