Monday, November 3, 2008

Virgin Cay by Basil Heatter

Virgin Cay by Basil Heatter
Gold Medal k1310, Copyright 1963

I read a few Basil Heatter novels before this one, some I enjoyed and others seemed bland to me. One which was a historical novel, I gave up on. (but to be fair I am no big fan of historical novels) He did author quite a few books, though I never could find a complete listing of his work. I gave "Virgin Cay" a shot not expecting much, and was I wrong. The novel convinced me not to quit on this author. It contains an exciting little scorcher of an adventure story, where the seed is planted for a crime that can not be allowed to occur.

She was speechless with rage. At that moment she could of killed him. But she managed to bring herself under control. Without Dino she would be alone, and she could not stand to be alone. When you were alone you remembered the way Harry looked with the top of his head blown off and the spatter of brains on the English carpet.

After his boat went down in a storm, self-sufficient Gus Robinson washes ashore on the island of Spanish Cay. He receives some care and interest from Clare Loomis, a socialite who has a few secrets in her conniving closet. Clare needs a relative of hers to disappear and Robinson fits the bill to make it happen. Claire offers the "job" to him for twenty thousand dollars. With the lost of his boat and with no money, Robinson also lost his independence and accepts the offer.

Old family money is behind the reason for the crime, but sparks fly when Robinson meets the intended victim, young beautiful Gwen Leacock. Both know nothing will come of their little romance, for Gwen is committed to marry another man. But Robinson has a soul and concocts a scheme to deceive Clare and keep the cash. He comes clean with Gwen, who agrees to be a part in his risky plan. And even with impending dangers, it comes off nautically smooth.

If you ever read a Basil Heatter novel, you know he had talent. In fact it was in his genes, his father was newsman Gabriel Heatter. "Virgin Cay" is a story that contains a plot that is admirably crafted. After finishing it I quickly thought of a combination of a seafaring novel by Charles Williams and an early John D. MacDonald work, with it's shady players entangled in an island soap opera. Heatter delivers on presenting genuine, realistic characters. Gus Robinson, after some doubt, turns into a decent guy that the reader can take a liking to. Gwen struggles with conflicting emotions and takes the most risk in Robinson's scheme. Then there is Claire Loomis, who Robinson even shows some sympathy for because there is a reason for her evilness. Throw in a strong cast of supporting characters and Basil Heatter delivers on creating a neat little adventurous mystery novel. It works well and recommended for a sandy hot weather read.

If you want something different from Basil Heatter, find yourself a copy of "Harry and the Bikini Bandits." An escapade of rip-roaring fun. Whenever I see the paperback cover, I wish I was Harry sitting on that case of dynamite.

Gold Medal t2372 (1971)

1 comment:

David Cranmer said...

Great covers and once again you've highlighted an author I'm not familiar with.