Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Half-Caste


The Half-Caste by Dan Cushman. Frisco Dougherty is back after JEWEL OF THE JAVA SEA in another tale of island intrigue.  While in Bandjermasin, South Borneo, on the Java Sea, he is approached by Captain Jaske to assist in getting his boat released from impound. He has important passengers to transport, and the only ones who can allow the boat’s release is Dougherty’s old pals, the Chinese gang, the Wash’eng. But something is not on the up and up. The local headman, Wu has some interest in the passengers, and what they are after. They include a handsome sportsman, a priest, and a beautiful woman. The woman claims to be the daughter of a famous paleontologist killed during the Japanese invasion, and buried in the jungle. But something is fishy about the whole deal. If readers will recall, Dougherty took a young woman to marry at the end of JEWEL OF THE JAVA SEA, and he does mention a ex wife, a princess, back in the States, with their two sons, but he’s unattached again and back in the Java Sea area. It’s good because the woman in this case also has a mix of island blood and Oriental, maybe Tonkenese. It looks like Dougherty may be killed by the Wach’eng this time, if not by the girl or one of her partners, for none will stop at anything to get what’s really inside the coffin they retrieve. But the ending has a nice twist, and one that gave me a good laugh.  

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