Rule of Three, by Douglas Reed. Jonathan Cape, 1950. Hdbk. Original dust jacket intact (protected by a transparent plastic cover) but with unsightly marks underneath. 253 pp. Slight (barely noticeable) foxing to front and back endpapers, but otherwise in remarkably good condition. Attractive four-colour sub-Cubistic cover design. Collectable.
This novel was written towards the end of its author’s life. He is remembered today, not so much for his prescient study of Hitler’s megalomania, Insanity Fair (1938), but for his regrettable later anti-Semitic writings about the alleged dangers of a Zionist conspiracy to take over the world (Protocols of the Elders of Zion, anyone?), and for his inveterate hostility to decolonisation in a range of African nations. He strongly supported Ian Smith’s declaration of independence from the UK, for instance.
This novel is a straightforward maritime thriller, competently plotted and characterised, and very much of its time (which adds to its appeal). Sub-Conradian in parts, but with the obligatory quota of murders.