Friday, 17 September 2010

Forgotten Books - The Fifth Point of the Compass


I’ve included books by Miles Tripp before in Patti Abbott’s series of Forgotten Books. One I’ve just read, supplied by that very good bookseller Jamie Sturgeon, is The Fifth Point of the Compass, which dates back to 1967. It has the style of a thriller, although it’s more a study in character than a crime novel.

The main protagonist is David Walters, a veteran pilot, whose seemingly happy marriage is faltering, as his wife has become fed up with his frequent absences, and is now more interested in a suave barrister. Walters is hired for a job by a rich Canadian businessman, Jim Orloff, and soon becomes embroiled in the Orloff family’s affairs.

Orloff is a bully, whose gorgeous wife Sue has fulfilled her purpose by providing him with a son and heir, young Paul. Orloff is determined to make a man of Paul and puts him through a cruel survival test. Orloff is drawn to both Sue and Paul, and they to him. But will Orloff’s power prevail?

This is a well-written book, short and quick to read. It wasn’t quite what I expected, and the closest comparison I can make is with some of the books of Nevil Shute – mainstream novels written with a focus on suspense worthy of the crime genre at its best. The story is unusual, and reminded me of what an interesting and thoughtful writer Tripp was.

4 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Martin - Thanks for this. I confess I hadn't heard of this one before; that's one thing I like about Forgotten Books; I'm always learning about books I never got to read when they came out. It sounds like an engaging read.

BV Lawson said...

I'll definitely have to look up Miles Tripp, although I don't know whether to start with a standalone or the John Samson series. I hope the library has them, because they appear to be mostly out of print.

Martin Edwards said...

My favourite Tripp so far is Five Minutes with a Stranger - very unusual.

David Berresford said...

I have probably read about half of them at one time or another. A Quarter of Three is probably my favourite. It is provocative, ensnaring, and is very beautifully constructed and resolved whilst at the same time leaving the reader with the wish that if only the hero had made different choices he may have been happier.