Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Fever Tree

“The Fever Tree” by Richard Mason. The author of “The World of Susie Wong” returns with a similar novel that takes place in India and Napal instead of Hong Kong.  Major Ronald Birkett of England is a cad. He uses people for his own gain. Ex British military, now a secret communist, he is a professional writer (the main character in Susie Wong was an amateur artist); he is also an assassin, and his job is to kill the Nepalese king. While in Delhi, India he meets Lakshmi Kapoor, an unhappy married woman looking for a fling with an Englishman. She falls in love with Birkett, who dismisses her affection, not relishing the idea of love. However, he slowly begins to fall in love with the beautiful Indian girl, and she becomes a distraction, while British intelligence might be on his trail. He sets up the kill using a local Indian Embassy official, a young married man, and father of two, with communist ties. The plan is to have the young man assassinate the king while he, Birkett, is elsewhere. The fever tree is Birkett’s dream of the African plain where he is a cheetah, a sleek, strong predator. This was another interesting story by Mason, but lacks the beauty of “The World of Susie Wong”, as well as the unforgettable characters from the earlier book. More literary than men’s action novel, it is still a good read.

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