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SINCLAIR LEWIS, famous American novelist whose new novel,
"Bethel Merriday," deals with the stage.
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E.V. Timms writes new type of wartime novel
Mystery, thrills, and delightful
humor are his ingredients
There's nothing like versatility.
For example, Mr. E. V. Timms, after building a reputation for himself, in Australia and abroad, as writer of historical romances, now turns to humor.
Not content with thot it is humor which has as a background I oil the entertainment essentials of the thriller and mystery novel.
THIS new novel, "James,
How Dare You!" ls the book in question. It will sur- prise the thousands who have followed his work up to date surprise and please them.
Chief characters are James Col burn and his wife Elaine, impulsive, irascible old Peter Colburn, multi- millionaire father of James, Sir Francis Martindale, millionaire lather of Elaine, the unbelievable Major Guntha ("Guns") Winter- bottom, and a mingled crew of foreigners.
This is a wartime novel, and the conflict and fun arise from the apparent slackness of the six-foot, handsome James Colburn. Instead of doing his duty as an Englishman In helping fight the Nazi menace, he appears only to be interested in pacifist organisations.
Wife Elaine scorns him for this attn ude, although still loving him. The domestic situation is not im- proved by her interest in refugee organisations-an interest which, to James' mind, brings her into far too frequent contact with gentlemen who may be harmless, but . . .
Fathers Peter and Francis are mainly interested in getting the young couple together again and, in Peter's case, pushing his son into
active war work.
Fast and furious
THE run is fast and furious. Much
of it comes from the recurring clashes between Colburn, sen., and Jimmy's bosom friend, the Major.
"Guns" Winterbottom nearly sends the easily-aroused multi-millionaire Into apoplectic seizures by his habit of holding up every discussion by 'filing complicated and impossible stories. Just as a sample:
'"Oh frightfully,' said the Major. Have you ever heard of the witches of Wychford, sir?'
"Peter and Sir Francis looked at each other. Peter rose to the bait.
"'The which-the what?' he growled.
"'The witches of Wychford, sir.' "Peter was looking dangerous.
" 'Major Winterbottom, what the devil have the witches of Wychford got to do with this war?' he de- manded.
" 'By gad, everything, sir. I sus- pect them of having started the war. There's the White Witch, the Black Witch, the Grey Witch, the Old Witch, and the Young Witch. We have never yet been able to deter- mine which is the worst witch of the witches of Wychford, sir.'
"'VITELIV barked Peter, "which is
the worst \ itch of the witches of Wychford?'
" 'Which witch would you say was the worst witch of the witches of Wychford, sir?' "
And so it goes on, rising to an incredible mixture of whiches. witches and Wychfords.
And there is, too, of course, the mad scene in which Peter and Sir Francis, calling to James' flat to expel the lovely Inez de Fuente, who has parked herself there, become victims of her charms and son James' excellent whisky. It is hard to say whether this scene of the successful tempting of two veterans or the picture of the same two next morning, writhing in the toils of a joint hangover, is the more ludicrous.
At the back of all this fooling is the more dramatic side of the story. This deals with Nazi espionage in England, and the efforts of the Eng- lish secret service to combat it.
Taking it all round, Mr. Timms has marked out a new trail for him- self. Plenty of authors have written humorous novels; an untallyable number have written thrillers. Few have combined farce and adventure of this kind.
"James, Mow Dare Von!" E. V. Timms. Annus Sc Robertson Ltd.