Wednesday, 14 February 2001

Hammond Innes: Solomon's Seal (1980)

Edition: Fontana, 1982
Review number: 752

One of Hammond Innes' best thrillers is closely concerned with the unthrilling world of stamp collecting. Its hero works for a Suffolk estate agents, arranging sales mainly of the effects of the dead. When asked to make a valuation for sale of a property, he is intrigued (as an amateur collector himself) by an unusual stamp album, as well as by the young woman living in the house. The Holland family is connected to the Solomon Islands, and she wants to sell to cover the costs of care for her dying brother, whom she is convinced has been struck down by a witch doctor's curse.

The plot is then concerned with the origins of the stamp collection, the shipping line owned by the Holland family, and the feuds associated with its history, and comes together to make a convincing piece of action, more so than in most of Innes' novels.

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