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The Finger in the Sky Affair (The Man from U.N.C.L.E. #23)
by Peter Leslie
"Five major air crashes in two months--the cause of all of them a complete mystery. In each case the plane's instruments were working perfectly, the crew was in command and ground control in contact. Then the plane would suddenly nosedive into the runway as it cam in to land, killing most of the passengers. Those who weren't killed outright died mysterious deaths shortly ...more
Paperback, 142 pages
Published 1966 by Ace Books
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I had pretty high expectations for Leslie's novels, and I was terribly let down. It wasn't the worst of the series, but there were several off-putting things. Firstly - and this is minor, but somehow sticking - the death count was unusually high, not only in the abstract numerical (fifty-plus people died in each plane crash) but witnesses keep getting gruesomely murdered left, right and center. Second, while Napoleon's lady-killer trait is canonical, this is the first of the tie-ins I've read to ...more
The body count in this one really is very high, and hard hitting in the light of modern terrorism, but the individual murders are just as unpleasant, quite graphically described. This isn't a bad book though. Fast paced and thrilling enough, although occasionally it seems a bit dim. Why does the airline continue to slavishly use a device that's been shown to cause one crash, let alone multiple ones? But Illya and Napoleon are portrayed pretty well, and it was an engaging read.