Whether it’s a Middle East oil crisis in the 1970s or the London Blitz during WWII, world events have a way of breeding trouble on the home front, too. That’s how Toby Rinaldi, son of a U.N. Ambassador, wound up kidnapped on his way to a California amusement park, and how Robby Burnes, orphaned son of British nobility, wound up snatched on the snowy streets of New York City. But as Robby’s famous namesake taught us, the best laid plans don’t always work out as intended. Especially not when you’re a kidnapper in the hands of Gregory Mcdonald.
The comic genius behind the Fletch and Flynn books, Gregory Mcdonald also penned the two brilliant kidnapping novels appearing here for the first time in three decades – and the first time ever in a single volume. Two precocious eight-year-old boys…two teams of kidnappers, in way over their heads…two opportunities for mayhem, danger, and the trenchant social satire no crime writer has ever delivered like Mcdonald.
Kidnappings link two exceptional crime novels, Snatched and Safekeeping, by Mcdonald (1937 2008), best known for his Fletch and Flynn series. In Snatched, an incompetent thug named Spike seizes eight-year-old Toby Rinaldi, the precocious son of a foreign dignitary stationed in New York City. The folks funding Spike want to manipulate Toby's father into killing a U.N. resolution. In Safekeeping, an orphan of aristocratic heritage, eight-year-old Robby Burnes, travels during WWII from London to Manhattan, where he's placed in the care of cynical journalist Thadeus Lowry. While searching for his school one morning, Robby falls into the wrong hands. Both novels showcase Mcdonald's wit, but it's the latter that really shows his versatility. Mcdonald gleefully mixes Dickensian characters and Charles Lederer style dialogue (Lowry explains that New York apartments are "a few rooms for which pay endlessly, but never come to possess"). This compendium volume will please fans and casual readers alike who want to see the range that Mcdonald was capable of beyond his most famous creations.
Glad I read this one. A pleasure. I’m left wondering about the characters and what happened to them.