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Puppet On A Chain

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  2,278 ratings  ·  45 reviews
From the acclaimed master of action and suspense. The all time classic. Paul Sherman of Interpol's Narcotics Bureau flies to Amsterdam on the trail of a dope king. With enormous skill the atmosphere is built up: Amsterdam with its canals and high houses; stolid police; psychopaths; women in distress and above all - murder.
Paperback, Movie Tie-In, 222 pages
Published October 1975 by Fontana (first published 1969)
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There are other Maclean books I prefer but this is a little classic. A book is forever set in its time and setting these may change but fine writing endures. So here you do not have the gadgets of Bond or the ingenuity of Bourne but in Paul Sherman you have a determined investigator who remains credible in all his efforts, in an account that carries a threat and conveys a sense of danger still to a modern day reader. There is a menace in the pages that can disturb, a beautiful backdrop of Amster ...more
Eric Wright
Set in Amsterdam and dealing with the drug trade, Paul Sherman of Interpol speaks in a voice similar to Agent 007. Too much description, telling and exaggerated action.
Anne Earney
Another I read because it's set in Amsterdam. Suspense is not my preferred genre - I'm not sure why, but I've never loved the genres of suspense or mystery. So I find it difficult to get into under the best of circumstances, and with this book, I felt only a mild sense of curiosity. When the whole thing was explained at the end, that was interesting in an intellectual way, but not exactly satisfying. On another note, this is possibly one of the most sexist novels I've ever read (at least in the ...more
Scott Holstad
Three stars or four? Three or four? How about three and a half?

This Alistair MacLean book is an odd one. It's darker than his other books, and even creepy. It's about Paul Sherman, a British Interpol agent, in Amsterdam looking for the source of drug trafficking into Britain. Aided by the Dutch police and by two good looking female assistants, he's almost immediately thrown into the thick of things when the person he was coming to meet is gunned down at the airport in his sight. After that, he's
Jeff Crosby
This is another MacLean I have elected to re-read after forty years. My primary memories are the puppet images and the rather gristly murder of one character who is pitchforked to death. Being largely a police procedural and themed on drugs, I was curious to see if this story would hold up or seem dated. While it does not equal MacLean's spy thrillers of the late 1960s, the story still works. In many ways it is very typical MacLean. It is also worth reading.
John Freeman
My love of reading was shaped, in part, by the books that resided on my father’s paperback novel shelf—John D. MacDonald, Leon Uris, James A. Mitchner…and of course, Alistair MacLean. So it was with a strong sense of nostalgia that I picked up one of the few books by him I hadn’t read, Puppet on a Chain.

I was disappointed.

One disappointment was the main character, Major Sherman, an INTERPOL agent investigating narcotics trafficking in Amsterdam. He’s a typical MacLean character in that he is cyn
The European spy thriller without computers or cell phones. Phone booths, sending coded messages, attention to detail and working by your wits are tools from the past. MacLean allows Major Paul Sherman to use these tools to combat the narcotics trade and it's associated murders in the streets of Amsterdam.
Huw Evans
One of Macleans best stories which is remorseless in its plot line. He was prolific but few of his stories are as good as this. The characters are not wholly beleivable but the plotline is. A great relief read, which will pass the time on a plane or beach trip.
Mustafa Özçınar
It was over 25 years ago when I first read that book in my language Turkish and I had fond memories. The grizzly and strange scenes of murder were still vivid in my mind. So when I saw it in a bookstore in Paris two years ago I bought it again and read it in the original language it was written. I had high hopes. I was a bit disappointed. The first person viewpoint feels a bit forced in some places. In other words some scenes in the plot seems to be planned that way just to make sure our hero se ...more
Grace Hagen
This was creepier than most of his books that I've read, but it was still really good. Very dark, scary characters. The ending was a bit weird, but not completely unexpected.
Maria Stancheva
Много шум за нищо ... Не обичам криминалета, но тази книга определено си е популярна и доста хвалена, по тази причина бях изненадана колко клиширана, наивна и скучна е.
A fast fun exciting read - and a good way to spend a three hour flight.

Of course it isn't realistic. Of course it could never happen like that. Rather like Fleming's Bond books, it was exciting escapism for the sixties and seventies. If you wanted serious research you had The Day of the Jackal, but if you wanted something faster paced with treachery and action, you had MacLean. It took me back to watching the film in a double bill with When Eight Bells Toll at 13. This was the darker and more vi
I really liked this Maclean book but can't remember why.
In these days of Internet and high technology, it’s a pleasant change to read a spy thriller, without all these complexities – thankfully no use of super-computers or cell phones, but what is referred to as ‘old school’ tactics, where the hero had no organisation or back-up (other than a pair of dumb assistants, who needed everything to be spelled-out).

Rather surprising, when the book starts off with a description of one of them (Belinda) as being intelligent and loaned by the French secret ser

Right now I'm in the process of re-reading my small collection of MacLean's books. Last time I read them was probably 10 years ago... They are, unfortunately, badly translated (and I want to get my hands on originals), which I see now and which is kind of distracting. But it's not that bad. Anyway, to the book at hand...

I remembered "Puppet on a Chain" as a very disturbing story. I could vividly picture the three brutal deaths and it became the only MacLean's novel that I'd read only once
Wilde Sky
An Interpol officer investigates drug dealing in Amsterdam.

I found some of the plot a bit bizarre, but overall a reasonable read.

Real rating 2.5
Arlene Richards
A fairly ususal action mystery with quite a convoluted plot. I didn't guess who the master mind was.
Always a pleasure :D

Weak action, foolish protagonists, stupid police, even stupider plot with everyone turning into a villain in the climax.

Maybe it was some other Maclean who wrote gripping thrillers like the Satan Bug and the Golden Rendezvous.
Lucy Gray
pretty good thriller set in the Netherlands. Some of it is a little bit dated - but I enjoyed it immensely.
Puppet On A Chain is an example of one of MacLean's later efforts. It's not a great entry. Too much sarcasm (which for me is a lot). Many of the scenes where the protagonist is in danger, just don't come across as such. It was later made into a movie. Can't comment on that.

Reviewed by, David Feeney, author; Terror on the high seas
Shannon Blake
What a load of shit.
This book definitely makes the bottom five. The plot was minimal, the 'action scenes' sucked. It seemed as though the protagonist would be in the middle of something, maybe a chase scene then suddenly he'll be eating breakfast. He was also an ass to his friends and just a terrible person.
good thriller with excellet narratives. tho apart from the protagonist , the rest of the characters could have been better developed.
Margo Iñigo
I think Puppet on a Chain is a great read, though most of the suspense occurs in the second half of the book. So far I prefer Puppet on a Chain to Private Berlin; this book is far from the modern, though sanguine, book by James Patterson, all in Alistair MacLean's own style.
Ann aka Iftcan
this was written back in the days before most people knew much about the drug scene. Even now, its a chilling rendention of the way that dealers react and has a very convincing sociopath in it.

a good, chilling read, but not for the faint of heart
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lynn Wyvill
I have to say I didn't enjoy this book. From a well acclaimed writer I expected more. The monologue of sarcastic comments distracted from the story and I didn't connect with any of the characters.
Fredrick Danysh
On the trail of a drug kingpin, Paul Sherman of Intrepol's Narcotics Division travels to Amsterdam. There he encounters complacent police, women in distress, and horrible murders.
For me the story was too predictable, too transparent. I really felt no sense of serious danger or suspense throughout the book. One of my least favorite MacLean books.
Thomas Strömquist
One of my favorite MacLeans, a tight, suspenseful and violent thriller about a very driven interpol agents hunt for an especially ruthless Dutch drug gang.
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Alistair Stuart MacLean (Scottish Gaelic: Alasdair MacGill-Eain), the son of a Scots Minister, was brought up in the Scottish Highlands. In 1941, at the age of eighteen, he joined the Royal Navy; two and a half years spent aboard a cruiser were to give him the background for 'HMS Ulysses', his first novel, the outstanding documentary novel on the war at sea. After the war he gained an English Hono ...more
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