cover image A Midwinter's Tale

A Midwinter's Tale

Andrew M. Greeley. Forge, $24.95 (383pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86571-9

While pulling occupation duty with the First Constabulary Regiment in post-WWII Bamberg, Germany, brave, ""dangerously smart"" Sergeant Charles ""Chuck"" O'Malley is assigned to help an FBI agent locate a family of Nazis wanted by the Russians as war criminals. Told the Russians will shoot the father and rape the mother and two daughters to death, O'Malley determines to save them despite the fact that it will mean violating his oath of trust to his country. In this deft addition to his shelf of novels (after White Smoke), Greeley once again shows his knack for combining solid characterization, folksy prose, a bantamweight sense of history and understated Catholic morality to make highly entertaining fiction. The novel covers Chuck's youth in Depression-ravaged Chicago as part of a large, close-knit family, his love for his sister's best friend, his decision to join the Army in order to acquire money for college and the growth of his moral conscience, especially as he sees the defeated Germans suffering from official corruption, black marketeering and other postwar evils. Laced with sex and enough wit and ambiguity to save the plot from being utterly predictable, this novel should satisfy those looking for spicy yet principled fiction extolling the temporary triumph of good over evil. $100,000 ad/promo. (Oct.)