Friday, April 02, 2010

Augustus Mandrell is back!

Frank McAuliffe greets readers from beyond the grave, and we laugh our keisters off:

"Before Clifford Waxout died escaping my arms, he screeched, `...bastard...you lousy bastard...' It was a farewell fraught with genealogical inaccuracy, but one of enviable vigor, under the circumstances. (The brisk descent from the picturesque cliff; the sudden, definitive embrace of the rocks...)"
That's the opening of Shoot the President, Are You Mad?, the very long-awaited fourth book about the amazing international hit man Augustus Mandrell. (How long awaited? The first three in the series, Of All The Bloody Cheek, Rather A Vicious Gentleman and For Murder I Charge More, appeared in 1965, 1968 and 1971. The usual explanation for the delay is sensitivity over President John F. Kennedy's assassination. McAuliffe himself died in 1986.)

I raved about the first three Mandrell books in the early days of this blog, and I'm pleased that the opening of Shoot the President ... lives up to one of my early remarks, namely that:

"I'd assumed from Mandrell the narrator's cheeky tone and Mandrell the character's cool demeanor that Frank McAuliffe was British. ... Then I looked at a biographical note and read that McAuliffe was born in New York — and worked as a technical writer for the Navy. The surprise was delightful, just another of the joys of reading these stories."
Mandrell has the sang-froid and heated libido of a well-known British fictional spy, only no Bonds for him, just cash. He's an American creation, after all, and his main worry is money. He has to earn his living, and his worries about getting paid are yet another of the surprises that contribute to McAuliffe's absolutely unique voice.

Read all my raves about Mandrell and McAuliffe here (scroll down). Read a short biographical sketch about the author here. And give a hearty high five to JT Lindroos and The Outfit for getting McAuliffe back into circulation. This is an event, folks.

© Peter Rozovsky 2010

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8 Comments:

Blogger Bill Crider said...

I have my copy. I read it in manuscript a few years ago, but I'm looking forward to reading it as a book Real Soon Now.

April 02, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yep, a guy named Bill Crider is quoted in the cover sheet The Outfit sent out. A lucky guy he is, getting to read this years ago.

April 02, 2010  
Anonymous marco said...

Mandrell has the sang-froid and heated libido

Tell me it wasn't a play on mandrill. Please.

April 03, 2010  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Another to add to my growing list ...

April 03, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Absolutely not a play on one of these serious-looking creatures.

April 03, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Loren, there's really no one else like Augustus Mandrell. All the books are worth seeking out.

April 03, 2010  
Blogger adrian.mckinty said...

That is quite the gap between books, I wonder if that is some kind of record in the crime fiction oeuvre.

In lit ficiton though Henry Roth waited nearly 60 years to give us the sequel to Call It Sleep.

April 03, 2010  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The cover sheet accompanying the book reads: "This book has remained unpublished for decades due to its sensitive subject matter. Which to modern eyes seems completely ridiculous."

I don't know about that. The book has Augustus Mandrell discussing the best way to assassinate a president and plotting to sneak into a gala at the White House.

April 03, 2010  

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