Papillon by Henri Charrière

Papillon by Henri Charrière

Papillon by Henri Charrière

Papillon, was a bestseller when it was published in 1969 and who among us will not remember the Hollywood film of the same title which starred Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. Papillon, the French for butterfly, was a nickname that was given to Charrière and it also referred to his tattoo. It is a novel about the recollections of Henri Charrière and it describes his conviction, incarceration on and subsequent escape from a prison on Devil’s Island, which was a French penal colony off the coast of French Guiana.

The author, Charrière claimed that all of the events that he wrote of were true but this was later called into question. Though some of it clearly is true it is thought that some of the scenarios and adventures may have been distilled from the lives of his fellow inmates.

The book opens with Charrières conviction in France for murder of a pimp named Roland Le Petit and following a period in prison in Caen he was sent by ship to South America and onward to the notorious Devils Island. Papillon met a fellow inmate Louis Dega who had previously been a banker prior to conviction for counterfeiting. Papillon liked Dega and protected him from other inmates. The book spans a period of fourteen years of Papillon’s life up to 1945 and covers his hardships and various escape attempts.

Papillon a fascinating tale, particularly if it was all true, and gives a real insight into the brutalities of the time and the incredible tenacity and will power of Charrière. Well worth reading, even if you have seen the film which differs in part.

Buy Papillon book now on AMAZON

Buy Papillon Blu-ray now on AMAZON

The Freedom Trap by Desmond Bagley

The Freedom Trap by Desmond Bagley

The Freedom Trap by Desmond Bagley

Another novel by Desmond Bagley, author of The Vivero Letter, one of my all time favourite writers. I only wish I could have met him.

The Freedom Trap was first published in 1971 and is said to be loosely based on the escape of, spy, double agent and traitor depending on your point of view, George Blake from prison five years earlier. It was made into a film in 1973, called The Mackintosh Man, starring Paul Newman.

The story starts with Joseph Rearden who is a villain from South Africa . He meets an agent of MI5 in London called Mackintosh, who recruits him for an assignment. It is a dangerous task and is to trap The Scarperers  who are a well known gang of criminals who gaol-breaking long-term prisoners. He is also to catch Slade who is a Russian double agent whom they recently helped to escape. Rearden is told to rob a postman with a packet of uncut diamonds. He is then  ‘caught’ and sent to jail in hopes that he can contact the Scarperers. It is a clever and exciting plot which races to Malta and beyond……well worth a read.

In the mid 20th century, British writers such as Hammond Innes, Alistair MacLean, Desmond Bagley set out the conventions of the thriller genre. Their heroes were  a resilient and resourceful ordinary individuals facing tremendous odds. The villains were utterly ruthless in pursuit of their goals.

Buy now on AMAZON:


 

 

The Racketeer by John Grisham

The Racketeer

The Racketeer

The Racketeer by John Grisham tell the story of the life of Federal Judge Raymond Fogletree and his sudden and mysterious death. It’s surprising that these Judges don’t run into more difficulties when considering the enormity of the cases they deal with and the, sometimes, severe sentences they have to hand down to very dangerous individuals and organisations.

John Grisham states that in the USA only four active Federal Judges had previously been murdered, someone had just increased it to five.

The Judge’s body, along with that of his young secretary had been found in his lakeside cabin in the basement. The FBI had found the bodies after being alerted to the Judges disappearance by his law clerk. The clerk had become worried when the Judge didn’t turn up for Court on the previous Monday morning. The FBI checked the crime scene and found no forced entry and no indication of a struggle. Only the bodies showed evidence of a crime and the FBI felt it was someone close who had committed it.

The storyteller did not know the Judge but he did know why he was killed and who had done killed him. The only problem, a fellow lawyer, he now languished in prison.

The Racketeer is a piece of murder, mystery fiction which has a dark Noir feel to it. As always a tense and clever plot which has strong currents flowing through it. Well worth a read. Well done Grisham!

Buy now:

Facebook
Twitter
More...