The Gold of Malabar by Berkely Mather

The gold of malabar

The gold of malabar

The Gold of Malabar was written by  British author, Berkely Mather, in 1967 Berkely Mather was a Nom de Plume for  John Evan Weston-Davies, whose family emigrated to Australia shortly before World War I.

He published fifteen novels and a book of short stories whilst also writing for radio, television and for films.   Mather enlisted in the Royal Horse Artillery but failing to gain a commission he next joined the Indian Army where he became a sergeant at the outbreak of World War II. Serving under Slim in the Iraq campaign he finally ended the war as an acting lieutenant-colonel. After Indian independence in 1947, he rejoined the British Army, entering the Royal Artillery and eventually retiring in 1959. The Achilles Affair Mather’s first novel, was published in 1959 and was a minor best-seller. His second novel ‘The Pass Beyond Kashmir’ written in 1960 received high praise from Ian Fleming and Erle Stanley Gardner and it did even better. It is said that Ernest Hemingway owned copies of these two novels

A desperate adventure starting with a prison escape in search of gold. A thoroughly exciting novel which traces its way across India. While banged up in a prison in Goa Mike O’Reilly speaks with a dying Dutch prisoner called Rokkjer. He gives O’Reilly a gold medal asking him to bring it to a Buddhist monk called Nu Pau in Bombay and to say, “Rokkjer said to keep faith.” Rokkjer also gives a mysterious quote of, “Pythagoras, northeast, and the word is try, try, try…”  O’Reilly escapes into a dangerous world of greedy looters all looking for the secret map that will bring them to the hidden cache of gold………………

This is a classic adventure written by a skilled author who clearly knew India. Unputdownable…..if that’s a word!

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The Salzburg Connection by Helen MacInnes

The Salzburg Connection by Helen MacInnes

The Salzburg Connection by Helen MacInnes

The story begins near to Salzburg, Austria, when a photographer called Richard Bryant dives into the Fintersee Lake, high in the mountains, to retrieve a large chest that had lain there for many years. Unknown to him, he is observed by others. This sets off a deadly chain of events.

Sometime later a lawyer, called William Mathison, to Bryant’s photography shop to ask about a photo book of the Austrian lakes that is said to be commissioned by Bill’s client, the publisher James Newhart. Anna, Bryant’s wife gives Bill correspondence from Eric Yates who previously claimed to be Newhart’s representative. Soon after Bill leaves, Anna’s brother Johann Kronsteiner is told, by family friend Felix Zauner, that Bryant has been killed in an accident. Bill finds that he is being followed. A desperate tale involving Austrian Intelligence, Mossad, Chinese Communists, CIA, Nazis and the KGB ensues. The secrets that lay hidden in the chest since the war were explosive.

This novel, by Helen MacInnes is one of my favourites. The start of the novel is very evocative and the suspense continues throughout the book. The story was written in 1968 and took inspiration from true life events. It had been suspected for many years that, near the end of the war, elite Nazis had trekked into the Austrian mountains and had hidden gold in the depths of many of the remote lakes. The most famous lake being Lake Toplitz which began to give up some of it’s secrets in the late 1950s as divers searched its depths.

A novel of high intrigue, spies and Neo Nazis and a very good read – particularly on a European skiing holiday on a dark night.

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