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A Fine Night for Dying    by Jack Higgins order for
Fine Night for Dying
by Jack Higgins
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2007 (1994)
Paperback, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

When the nonstop action begins in 1969, the body of a Jamaican is found in the English Channel. The limited evidence in the case suggests to authorities that the dead man may have been the victim in an illegal immigration scheme.

British Intelligence, eager to protect the homeland from the growing problems of illegal immigration, assigns the incredibly versatile and resourceful Paul Chavasse to the case. He immediately goes undercover, posing as an Australian citizen who is wanted in Sydney for armed robbery; now - according to the constantly evolving plan - Chavasse will try to get himself safely (though illegally) transported from Italy to England.

After making contact with shady characters who - for a price - are willing to help people make their way illegally to England, Chavasse travels without any real problems from Italy to France, but everything gets very dangerous very fast when he is about to make his way to England. Chavasse encounters, among others, a beautiful woman, a Jamaican man, a Pakistani, a former priest ('a creature of pure, mindless evil'), a Chinese Communist official, and a wealthy European financier. Those final three, for reasons readers will discover in the fast-paced plot of the novel, become Chavasse's most important contacts. In fact, they will become the ultimate targets in A Fine Night for Dying, a fine little butcher-shop of horrors and adventures.

A Fine Night for Dying, one of Jack Higgins' four dozen books, is typical top-notch excitement from the acknowledged master of spy-craft storytelling. While the plot and premise may seem a bit anachronistic (at least at first glance), there is (as I assume the publishers realized) something oddly relevant, contemporary, and provocative about the tale of illegal immigration and endangered national security. Previously published in the U.K. and now finally available in the U.S. in this mass market reprint edition, A Fine Night for Dying is pure entertainment. Enjoy!

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