‘Johnny had not believed that they would ever reach Tripoli.’
Desmond Cory is a pseudonym used by British mystery/thriller writer Shaun Lloyd McCarthy (Lancing, Sussex, 1928 -2001). Cory was educated at Steyning Grammar School, and after serving as a commando in the Royal Marines immediately after World War II, he studied English literature at St Peter's College, Oxford, graduating with Honours in 1951. He pursued an academic and literary career for the next forty-five years, and in 1976 was awarded a Ph. D. from the University of Cardiff, Wales. Starting as a freelance writer, he moved in 1953 to Cordoba, Spain, where he served as a technical translator and began teaching for the Academia Britannica. Cory taught throughout most of his life, first at the University of Cardiff, and then enjoyed a series of associate professorships of English Literature in Arabic-speaking countries, leaving the Arabian Gulf in 1990 to take up a university position in Famagusta, Cyprus. Despite his very busy professional life as an academic, Cory was a prolific writer whose work evolved and matured throughout the years, culminating in The Dobie Trilogy published between 1991 and 1993. Cory’s earlier works include the Johnny Fedora Espionage Spy Thrillers of which there are six volumes. HIGH REQUIEM is the final volume Book 6
The Brits have long held the preeminent position as the finest mystery writers and Desmond Cory most assured is a part of the heritage. This novel challenges the imagination as well as the intellect while bowing deeply to that inimitable British wit. Cory wrote his own synopsis of this last episode – ‘A beautiful woman trapped into spying for the enemy, A hunted fugitive wanted for multiple murder. A mysterious explosion in the middle of the African desert. A man carrying a live time bomb inside his body. Together they spelled out Johnny Fedora’s latest assignment. Somewhere on a tiny air base in the African desert, where the British Government was conducting a super-secret nuclear experiment, a saboteur was loose. Two men had already died. Now the killer let it be known that each step taken to perfect the fantastic new weapon would mean another victim. All Johnny Fedora had to do was set himself up as bait
Knowing the flavor of the plot may help the reader new to Cory's catalogue of books, but the real joy is in the unraveling of this story - a blend of mythology, academia, naughty sexual innuendoes, murder, mystery and biting wit. One can easily see that there could very well be a resurgence of admiration, respect and hunger for more Cory - especially now that his works have been made available in the Kindle format. Highly Recommended.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.