Friday, June 28, 2013

"Not For the Squeamish!"

"Bizarre Violence...Explicit Sex!"

That would be the 1971 novel Spargo by Jack Denton Scott. Those are actual blurbs on the back cover of the novel, by The San Francisco Chronicle and The San Francisco Examiner, respectively. Back in that 1971 time period when I was a pre-pubescent boy in Florida I found the novel in my dad's bedside table and decided to read it:

It all began with a quiet dinner in New York and an espionage assignment - - to the pleasure palaces of Rome, the exotic brothels and back alleys of Hong Kong, and the mist-shrouded mountains of Tibet...

It was a mission to suit the taste of Spargo - - an epicure, sensualist, knife virtuoso - - sent to shadow-box with danger, to challenge an unknown enemy in the stronghold of the mysterious Himalayas!


The novel was by Jack Denton Scott, who at one time wrote for Sports Afield, was their hunting dog editor, as a matter of fact. The novel features an "About the Author" page, which has this to say about Scott:

Jack Denton Scott was born in West Virginia, of Northwest Highland Scots, and is an adventurer who has been around the world fifteen times. His preference is for the offbeat and obscure places beyond the boundaries of the usual tourist experience. He will not write about an area unless he has been there - - Indian jungle, Asian or African mountain peak, Arctic tundra, or tropic ocean floor.

He served as a combat correspondent for Yank magazine in World War II and has written twelve books and more than one thousand magazine articles. He wrote an adventure column for the New York Herald Tribune with a worldwide assignment. His skills as a writer are complemented by his experience as a field naturalist and expert chef, the latter being recognized by the award of the coveted Commandeur AssociƩ, Commanderie des Cordons Bleus de France. He presently lives in Washington, Connecticut, with his wife, Maria Luisa, who is the pasta expert of the family.

Spargo. He Brings a Knife To Every Gun Fight.

I quite enjoyed the book, which is why I bought this old used paperback. Wanted to read it with adult eyes and see if it holds up forty years later. It was probably responsible for my knife fetish; Spargo, a globe-trotting spy in the James Bond tradition, uses a throwing knife as his weapon of choice. Here on my desk as I type this I count 11 knives of various types. And a tomahawk. Oops, twelve knives. And a gun. There are more knives in the desk drawers. Over to my right, standing in a corner, is a Mosin-Nagant M38 carbine. Zombie Apocalypse? I'm ready.

Anyway, that's my reading material for this weekend.


Rev. Paul said...

Let us know if the book holds up to adult scrutiny.

Bob said...

@Rev. Paul: will do.