Synopsis: Eric's assignment this time is to locate and delete from existence an explosives expert who is building his best and biggest firecracker yet, an atomic bomb. Actually, Matt is a decoy to keep attention away from another of Mac's agents, code-named Abraham, who is supposed to make the "touch."

The Players:
  • Amy Barnett, Doug Barnett's daughter, who has been having a masochistic sexual relationship with Alfred Minister, making her a possible lead to Minister's whereabouts.
  • Doug Barnett, code-name Abraham, Mac's man, whose suicide is faked so he can have a free hand to locate Minister.
  • Alfred Minister, aka Albert Pope and "The Preacher." Explosives expert, sadist, and not very nice guy. He hopes to reach the pinnacle of his profession by building and detonating an atomic bomb.
  • Georgina Willston, wealthy woman, head of the P.N.P., an anti-nuclear group with plans for Minister's bomb. Matt falls for her and, to some extent, the feeling is mutual.

Scorecard:
Amorous conquests: Amy Barnett, who calls him "darling" as they begin their cover as man and wife. Later, she sails off with him into the sunset. Gina Willston seduces Matt and later calls him "darling."

Dead: Ten (Georgina, killed accidentally by Allwyn, the P.N.P.'s head of security, when he was trying to kill Eric; Molly Brennerman's husband, eaten by a shark trying to escape from the P.N.P.; and, as for Eric, he managed to dispose of four hoods sent by drug-dealer Grieg to dispose of Georgina, Homer Allwyn and two of his men, and Minister.)

Injuries to Matt Helm: He was shot at by Georgina, but received only a minor wound on his skull, got the back of his head smacked with a ricochetting bullet, and a possible cracked rib from a nasty kick by Allwyn. Not serious enough to keep him from sailing off into the Caribbean sunset with Amy Barnett at book's end.

Quote: I put a fresh clip into the MP40, slung the weapon over my shoulder, and started up the ladder. The cracked rib didn't help, and I was still conscious of the groove Gina had put into my skull, and the new nick in my scalp wasn't exactly comfortable; but we stoical heroes of the undercover services are, of course, quite immune to discomfort and pain. Or supposed to be. I settled myself as securely as I could at the top of the ladder right below the deck hatch, looking down at the door through which they would come. Clinging there, like a monkey on a pole, I wasn't in a good position for pinpoint marksmanship; but at that range, with that quick-fire weapon, William-Tell-type accuracy would not be required.

Conclusion: Matt is getting very sentimental in his old age, and this trait nearly blows this whole assignment (pun intended). He should have lied with a straight face to Georgina, killed two innocent captives to prove his good faith, and completed his mission like a pro. But, as usual, he lucked out when Amy Barnett came to his rescue and he was able to stop The Preacher from setting off the bomb. Let's hope he gets his head back together in . . .
         

Matt Helm ™ is the property of Donald Hamilton.
and is a Trademark of Integute AB
This independent reference to, and appreciation of, the Matt Helm book series
is copyright 1998-2012 - Don Winans
Originally posted in June 1998 - Last Modified 22 July 2000
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