Diminished Responsibility

James Barnett, Author Secker & Warburg $0 (239p) ISBN 978-0-436-03301-8
An anonymous caller warns the intelligence service that a robbery of the Aldwych Safety Deposit has netted a master burglar one box whose contents contain evidence scandalous enough to bring down the British government. Unsure whether his department is dealing with espionage or blackmail, its chief, Fairchild, realizes that interior security has been pierced. To protect the administration, he assigns two ex-agents, both of whom have been institutionalized in the past for mental disorders, to track down the box and the killer who has it. If the mission fails, Fairchild can mitigate the uproar by insisting that only lunatics were involved. Owen Smith, ex-detective chief superintendent, once confined for a psychotic episode, proves he has not only regained his sanity but is still acute as he picks up the trail. Such bizarre motivations as those attending the hunt are hardly conducive to steady plotting. But Barnett (Head of the Force keeps events moving and again treats his readers to a dazzling display of British underworld and police argot. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1984
Release date: 01/01/1984
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