Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died." Erma Bombeck

Dr. Frigo is the nickname of Dr. Ernesto Castillo. His father either died or was assassinated and was a leading figure in the Democratic Socialist Party in St. Paul-les Alizes. With his death, leadership in the party would normally fall to Dr. Castillo. With this in mind, Castillo is summed to Commissaire Gillon's office to defend himself and assure the Commissaire that he wants no part in politics.
Segura Rojas, a compatriot of Dr. Castillo's father, asks to reside in the French Antilles along with Manuel Villegas, who leads the Mexican group of the party.
Dr. Frigo has a mistress, the artist, Elizabeth Martens who gives him advice. She believes that the French Secret Service needs a victory and wants to control Villegas.
Gillon doesn't trust Rojas or Villegas and wants Castillo to spy on them when they return to the Island.
A CIA agent becomes involved, offering bribes and looking ridiculous.
Castillo is pursuaded that if he wants to know how his father died, he should pretend to go along with Rojas and Villegas.
Villegas had been in Mexico because he had been exiled there by the junta that overthrew Castillo's father. His health isn't good and Gillon and the CIA think that if they get inside information about his health from Castillo, they will have an advantage.
The story is told with little drama or suspense. It's more in the style of learning the facts from newspaper articles, simply put to the reader to drawn their own conclusions. The style reminded me of Graham Greene in "The Honorary Consul."
For a novel written in 1974, it was interesting to see what was accepted as crime literature or mystery novels at that time.

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