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The Labyrinth Makers (David Audley Mysteries) [Paperback]

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Item description for The Labyrinth Makers (David Audley Mysteries) by Anthony Price...

Winner of Britain's Silver Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of 1970 David Audley is an unlikely spy. True, he works for England's Ministry of Defense, but strictly as a back-room man, doing meticulous research on the Middle East. This new assignment, then, comes as something of a surprise: A WWII-era British cargo plane has been discovered at the bottom of a drained lake, complete with the dead pilot and not much else. Why are the Soviets so interested in the empty plane and its pilot---interested enough to attend the much-belated funeral? And why has Audley been tapped to lead the investigation? As Audley chips away at the first question, he can't stop asking the second. Could he possibly have been given the assignment in order to fail, to preserve the secrets at the bottom of the lake? If that's the case, someone's made an error. Audley's a scholar by training, temperamentally allergic to loose ends. And the story he unravels is going to make some people very uncomfortable indeed.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.3" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 15, 2005
Publisher   Felony & Mayhem
ISBN  1933397128  
ISBN13  9781933397122  

Availability  0 units.

More About Anthony Price

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Anthony Price is an adult education teacher in PC maintenance and networking. He is also a technical support consultant to small businesses.

Anthony Price was born in 1928.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue

Reviews - What do customers think about The Labyrinth Makers (David Audley Mysteries)?

Competent plot, pacing; never soars; juvenile/puerile romance  Sep 16, 2007
Pity this site doesn't let you do two and a half stars.

Big raps on the cover: "Thriller writing at its most intelligent and subtle," and this being book 21 in the `Crime Masterworks' series of `the greatest crime fiction ever written'. Perhaps in the climate it came out in 1970 it was a refreshing change from constant gunfights and suspense, but I can't say `intelligent' is the first word that comes to mind with this book - nor `subtle'. Competent, perhaps, and we're given insight into the insecurities Audley keeps from his admiring colleagues, but there's still a lot more praise heaped onto the Doctor than warranted by his actions. Granted, Price does take us along to all the interviews rather than just want us to take his word for it that Audley managed to garner important information, but I still resent it when we're just told, for example, that he can see through the subtleties of any document to a mine of information invisible to other mortals.

While the professionalism of setting up a workable plot, creating the intelligence world that Audley moves in, setting scenes and pacing events is undeniable, none of this ever soared for me: it's all good background, but where's the hook? It's not in wit of the dialogue or descriptions. It's not in the gripping narration of events. It's nice, I suppose, to not be insulted, but is that enough?

But let's wait a minute there. There *is* a running insult that takes me from grudging acknowledgment that this able story simply wasn't for me, to open criticism: Faith Steerforth/Jones. Some of this is simply the carping of someone from a different generation whose own prejudices and assumptions are bumping against those of a few decades ago: Price's presentation of Faith is an interesting study in how an established forty year old male is dealing with some of the changing values of the sixties towards women and sex - what he would have seen as enlightened egalitarianism is at times delightfully (or uncomfortably) condescending. However the whole romantic subplot is juvenile and ridiculous. Juvenile and ridiculous doesn't have to be bad - if the author is aware of it and just having some fun along with us - but it's inexcusable when we're gunning for `intelligent and subtle'. OK, Price is trying to write popular fiction, not a thesis, so he's hardly to be censured for wanting to include an attractive modern girl as a love interest. But, really, he needs to do better than a teen fantasy. Just maybe, and it's a pretty big maybe, the step-daughter may have gone to the investigator's house in hopes of finding more out about her dead father. But then we're supposed to swallow that it's perfectly natural, almost unavoidable, that she'll innocently stay the night (also at this point neither is particularly attracted to the other - it's just supposed to be a convenience thing). Riiiight. I've just driven out to a total stranger's house, it's a bit late, nothing else for it - I'd better sleep here. But if this tosh wasn't contrived and silly enough it gets better/worse. Robbers come a night or two later (of course she's staying on to help out with the high level international investigations - no stretching of credulity there as she's handed reams of confidential information and taken along to vital assignations!) and, OK, they are forced to hide out in the secret room ... and it's a bit cold ... and they're a bit afraid ... nothing else for it really: they better have sex. No, not even just share a blanket, and maybe a cuddle - it's straight to intercourse. Oh, and Mills and Boon intercourse. Get the post-coital conversation:
`It can't happen often like that, can it?' she said slowly without looking at him. `It can't be so good?'
`I don't know. Never before for me.'
`Nor for me.'

Give me a break.

Price is welcome to his daydreams of somehow finding himself alone with girls who seem to have unavoidably misplaced all their clothes, but he really shouldn't be weaving them into a purportedly `intelligent and subtle' novel. Later he tries to reconcile this prurient fantasy with layered, respectable characters by getting them engaged (again a concession to contemporary values that he, also, was questioning but hadn't ditched), but this is just more stupidity: call me an old romantic if you like, but the sort of people that decide to marry after a few days' acquaintance are not also going to be the sort of shrewd, self-aware, substantial characters Faith and Audley are being sold to us as.

There has to be a better way of getting a girl in the story - this is awful. And then having no-one in the secret service bat an eyelid as she tags along on something that's been given top priority by the government. Ugh.

We couldn't have her actually *working* for the service as a peer of Audley - his enlightenment hasn't stretched THAT far. Maybe a secretary...

So: without Faith Steerforth/Jones - competent but bland.
With Faith S/J - stupid (in an annoying way).

Maybe a Silver Dagger award was understandable back when this was written. But in hindsight to put this in a list of best ever? Give me a break.
The Beginning of the Story  Sep 3, 2006
Anthony Price wrote a long series of books in the seventies and eighties that are an extended meditation on the entanglemnt of past, present, and future and on loyalty in the face of ambiguity. A notional British security service is populated with a large extended cast of characters surrounding one overall protagonist, David Audley, a brilliant ex rugger player and scholar who specializes in untangling elaborate Soviet (and other) espionage schemes. Yet each book is told from the point of view of a different character.

This book is the first of the series written though not the first in internal chronology. In this David meets his future wife, to be an integral part of much of the later work since she becomes an integral part of his character. In fact the nature of their relationship forms another extended meditation on marriage throughout this series. But also a Soviet opposite number, Nikolai Panin, is introduced. In the course of the series the question is continually asked if David and his activities are the moral equivalent of Panin and his. Price always brings his characters to the same answer but never stops questioning. In fact, part of the answer is in the questioning.

In this first book Price had not yet gained the full mastery of plotting and handling multiple characters he later develops but it is really a splendid introduction. As usual in one of these books, some interesting sidelights of history, in this case immediate post WW2, are exposed for our enjoyment.

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