Let me start out by saying I’ve never read any Gore Vidal. So I can’t say how it compares with the rest of his work. Written in his younger days under the name Cameron Kay, it’s been forgotten for sixty years and never reprinted until this Hard Case Crime edition coming next month.
Definitely a pulp style, comparisons with Casablanca are not without merit. The Middle East, bars, political intrigue, beautiful women, crooked police, all there.
Pete Wells, a former Merchant marine among other things, is knocking around Cairo when he wakes up in a hotel room, robbed and unaware of how he got there. Broke he finds his way to a bar, meets an Englishman, and gets offered a job. A beautiful woman wants him to smuggle a valuable relic out of the country, Warned it will be dangerous, he doesn’t have much choice, needing money.
Things are not always as they seem though. A crooked Cairo policeman keeps popping in and warning him away from another beauty he’s met, a young German singer, Anna Mueller, he’s growing quite fond of. He’s not the only one who wants him away from the girl.
Revolution is brewing which make the streets dangerous for any Non-Muslims. Pete and Anna are desperate to get out of the country and everyone seems to know about the relic and want it.
Lot of fun.
Release date is April 7th. Copies of the original are pricey on the used sites.