Puppet on a Chain

Title:                      Puppet on a Chain

Author:                 Alistair MacLean

MacLean, Alistair (1969). Puppet on a Chain. Garden City, NY: Doubleday

LCCN:    71091110

PZ4.M1626 Pu3

Date Posted:      January 9, 2017

Review by Thomas Lask[1]

They [Puppet on a Chain and The Ghost’s High Noon, by John Dickson Carr] make a perfect duo, one would think, for aficionados. Carr to rack your brain, MacLean to chill your spine. Alas, only MacLean lives up to his billing, but he does so in spades. Puppet on a Chain is one of the best in the Green-Ambler-MacIness [sic. Should be MacInnes] tradition, that this operative has come across. It’s a top-drawer effort filled to bursting with murder and mayhem, grit and gore, as Major Sherman, an Interpol narcotics sleuth, tracks down and breaks up a tough, resourceful and ingenious-minded gang of smugglers operating in and around Amsterdam. If you have any red corpuscles in your blood, you will find your heart pumping triple time as Sherman moves in for the confrontation. The writing is as crisp as a sunny winter morning, and MacLean has provided a travelogue for a part of Amsterdam the ordinary tourist is not likely to see—and a good thing, too. He has also included a pagan rite that will send the amateur anthropologist back to his books and the rest of us cowering in our Morris chairs. It’s not good, clean or funny, but you won’t quickly forget it.

[1] Thomas Lask, The New York Times (No vembe3r 4, 1969, p. 43]