Pursuit Of A Parcel by Patricia Wentworth

War is raging across Europe and Anthony Rossiter, an agent of British Intelligence, is fighting for the Allies behind the scenes. But he is recruited for a particular mission – to find his adopted brother Cornelius. He does exactly that in Holland, but Cornelius implores him to return to England to seek a parcel. The parcel is what saved Cornelius’ life from the Germans, as it apparently contains secrets that certain parties are desperate to keep as secrets.

But the parcel was addressed to Anthony and is being passed from hand to hand in the direction of Anthony’s true love Delia. As it becomes clear that Delia’s life is in danger, Anthony finds himself in a race against time to save her.

Another title in my “Do Mention The War” series of reviews – books concerning the war and written during the war, notably at a point where the outcome of the conflict was unsure.

This one is… odd. First off, let’s be clear, it’s not a mystery. For anyone desperate to follow Ernest Lamb’s three appearances, he’s not in it much either – basically the plot needs the police at one point, so Wentworth recruited her (short) series character. This is basically Anthony and Delia’s tale, until Delia gets into trouble, when Anthony teams up with Lamb to save the day.

But as I said, it’s not a mystery, it’s an adventure. And the first half is quite exciting. Wentworth makes the tale bounce along nicely, using the Blitz as an important plot point – a theft of the parcel is attempted during a blackout, only to be thwarted as the current possessor took it into the air raid shelter – but it does go off the rails when Delia becomes absent from the action.

I’ll be honest, I dozed off a bit in the final third of this one. It’s perfectly fine, but there’s no mystery here and the espionage wartime elements seemed a bit simplistic, unlike the everyday bits and bobs – probably understandable as I’m guessing Wentworth wasn’t privy to wartime secrets.

So, if you want a jolly adventure with a sprinkling of wartime hijinks, then this is Worth A Look. But don’t expect much of a mystery…


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