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Thursday, July 7, 2011

FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE LONG SHORT CUT!


FORGOTTEN BOOKS: THE LONG SHORT CUT!

ANDREW GARVE

From the cover to the quotes and synopsis, the Dell paperback edition of this 1972 novel unrepentantly hammers home the message that the duo of Bliss and Corrine are the second coming of The Avengers. While I’ve kept this book for the cover, the comparison is misleading – and that’s a shame because The Long Short Cut is a strong novel in its unique way.

Bliss is a con man who witnesses a gang shooting in London. With Corrine alongside, Bliss executes an ingenious plan to use what he has seen to con a businessman out of thousands of pounds sterling – not exactly the kind of plot associated with The Avengers, but a good starting point for a more traditional thriller.

Andrew Garve is the pseudonym of Paul Winterton (1908-2001), who also wrote as Roger Bax and Paul Somers. As Garve, he wrote numerous stand-alone thrillers displaying his mastery of many genres: detective stories, espionage, police procedural, adventure, and romantic suspense. His special knowledge of the Soviet Union, of journalism, and of sailing are often put to good use.

THE LONG SHORT CUT

Makes The Avengers look tame . . .

If you like Steed and Emma, you’ll go wild over Bliss and Corrine!

Bliss is handsome, charming, polished, daring. Corrine is beautiful, sensual, scintillating, and unscrupulous. They’re the most devastating team ever to match their wits and nerve against the good grey Establishment – and what they do to law and order, security and Scotland Yard, and the remnants of the British empire would make the Avengers consider working the other side of the street just to get a piece of the wild and wonderful action.

In clear, easy to read, literate prose, Garve created sympathetic characters, ingenious plots, and fascinating backgrounds. Despite this reputation, Garve is almost completely forgotten today.

On an odd note, The Long Short Cut is alleged to be the first book set completely into type by electronic composition. Now, that’s just bizarre enough to be a plot for The Avengers.

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