THE MAN WHO NEVER RETURNED

Written by Peter Quinn

Review written by Ron Ellis

Ron Ellis is a journalist and author of the Johnny Ace books


THE MAN WHO NEVER RETURNED
Duckworth
RRP: £7.99
Released: 18th August 2011
Pbk

Fintan Dunne has retired from the private investigation company and moved with Roberta to a new home in Florida. But he soon gets restless and persuades Roberta he has to go to Chicago on business. From there he moves on to L.A., meeting up with old colleagues, before going back to Florida and Roberta who by now is getting tired of his absences and announces she is going to Miama for a break. Does he want to come? No, Fintan decides to go on his own to Cuba.

 

We are now only 30-odd pages into the book and it makes a compelling travelogue. I was almost booking my ticket for the States until I remember that this is set in 1955. Another country as they say. But this is where the story really begins.

 

Dunne is summoned by an old colleague, Bud Mulholland, to meet with millionaire newspaper tycoon, Walter Wilke. Wilkes hires him to find out what happened to Joseph Force Crater, an American judge who disappeared in 1930 and has never been seen since. Wilkes’s glamorous assistant, Adrienne Renard, is brought in to help him with his investigations.

 

What follows is a fascinating look at the political and  social situation in America over two decades with lots of personal introspection and speculation by Dunne who all the time knows are leading him into danger. At times, the story digresses too much but the journey to the dramatic (and satisfying) denouement is well worth sticking with. It is a book that, when I’d finished it, I felt I’d been on a long holiday in America. A lot cheaper than the real thing with time travel thrown in.

 

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