Not quite gritty enough to be Bogart, not quite suave enough to be Bond, Carl Plummer’s titular Pelham Hardimann is just plain fun. Fun to watch as he boozes and blusters his way through Pelham on Parole, a true opening salvo of an adventure. Fun to listen to as he dances conversational circles around friend, foe, thug, and tailor alike. Fun to cheer for even as we know he’d be insufferable to know in real life.
Just plain fun.
When his cellmate’s attempted escape goes explosively wrong, Hardimann finds himself hauled out of prison, first to a crime scene to identify the dead, then to the bathroom of cir. 1939 Winston Churchill where our endearing con man and thief is charged with a top-secret mission. War is threatening Europe and the only thing that can stop it from consuming the great powers is a missing suitcase which Hardimann must find, safeguard, and deliver to the appropriate parties.
Along for the ride are friends, enemies, dames, and housekeepers of dubious allegiance. Multiple cars will combust, suits will be ruined, and brandies will be consumed before this ride—what promises to be the first of many—is brought to its breathtaking conclusion.
I promise you, it’s worth the trip.
A tip of the hat and five shining stars for this delight of a debut novel!