Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Night Of Error" by Desmond Bagley

Mike Trevelyan is an oceanographer shocked to learn that his younger brother Mark has been killed overseas. He comes into possession of some of Mark's belongings, including a coded diary and some seabed rocks called Manganese nodules. When he is promptly burgled and attacked, he realises something fishy is going on.

Firsty, Mark's death certificate cites complications from appendicitis as the reason for death - but Mark had his appendix out years earlier. Secondly, one of the manganese nodules (which are usually worthless) contains a high percentage of cobalt and other minerals, which actually makes it very valuable. Along with his father's friend Geordie Walters, he convinces millionaire Jonathan Campbell to fund a voyage to find where these highly valuable nodules may be located.

However, it involves decoding Mark's diary. And staying one step ahead of Ernesto Ramirez, who has previously sabotaged Campbell's ventures, and is aware that Mark was onto something big.

Night Of Error reminded me a lot of one of those 1960s adventure movies you might see on television on a weekend afternoon. There is perhaps more talk than action here, and I was able to anticipate most of the plot twists, but it was diverting and managed to keep me reading. Although set in 1962, I didn't get much of a feel for the period, but that wasn't much of a drama. There was a refreshing absence of sex - the romance between Mike and Campbell's daughter Clare is very quaint. Author Bagley is actually more interested in making sure his facts are correct and that the plot is moving forward, and he manages to do this without proceedings getting too dull.

This genre isn't quite my cup of tea, and I prefer thrillers with a little more action, but I enjoyed the opportunity to once again read something a little different to what I usually do.

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