Inspector (Superintendent) Roger West Series (1942-1978) by John Creasey

An excellent police procedural series about Scotland Yard by the author of over five hundred books. West is nicknamed “Handsome” but he’s a devoted family man and never fools around even though some women he meets along the way get his attention.. He and wife Janet have two kids, Martin (usually referred to as Scoopy) and Richard. They’re named after Creasey’s own sons. The series follows progression in West’s life and is more fun if read in order. But, beware rewrites done in the 60’s.. The timelines are way off. Try and get ahold of the original editions.

West gets promoted from Inspector to Superintendent as the series continues. In the early books, West’s pal Mark Lessing helps out in some of the cases. The first book is 1942’s “Inspector West takes Charge”, the last is 1978’s “A Sharp Rise In Crime.” This is number fifteen “Send Superintendent West” aka/”Send Inspector West”:

American diplomat David Shawn, his wife Belle and their ten year old son Ricky have been drugged with an opiate put in their milk. The boy is kidnapped. Shawn is a scientist who may have discovered a way of checking even the smallest nuclear explosions. It all has to do with Test Ban Treaty talks. Russia, China, and France want to prevent the U.S. from getting it or get the detector for themselves to neutralize its value. 

West goes to the Shawn home accompanied by Shawn’s secretary Lissa Meredith. As the book moves along, she makes West uncomfortable. Yes, she’s a babe. When they get there, Belle is ballistic and blaming David for the kidnapping.

Later it’s discovered that the boy was taken to the U.S. One of the kidnappers has been found dead, floating in the Thames. The car used in the kidnapping has been traced to a home knows as “Rest.” The owner is in Paris. A man with her is Jack Gissing. He’s wealthy and shady.

West goes to the “Rest” at night. Gissing is there. Then David Shawn shows up. West hides and listens in. Gissing admits he has the boy. He has two tickets for Shawn to New York. He says if he doesn’t go, he’ll get him another pair, this time with his son’s right ear enclosed. Shawn threatens to kill him.  Gising pulls a gun and tells him to back off or else.

West sees a shadow and pulls his gun and shoots at Gissing’s hand. Someone hits West over the head and he’s knocked out. Gissing and his crew escape but not before running over a policeman.

West is sent to New York. At his hotel he’s drugged and taken to a house. He sees Ricky with tape over his mouth. Gissing questions West about what the Americans know. West says he wasn’t told anything. Before Gissing can do any damage an alarm goes off and Gissing and his two pals take off. West escapes gunfire and runs through the woods. While searching near a boat a couple finds him. He tells them to call the cops.

Back to the house. It’s empty. The next day he and Lissa go to the Shawn’s place. Belle is really going nuts. West calms her down by saying he’s seen her son. David doesn’t believe him. West loses it and slugs him. Things calm down and then it’s off to Trenton, New Jersey for an action packed and surprisng climax. This is a good entry in the series.

John Creasey

About vintage45

I'm a big fan of vintage books,movies,TV shows and music. I encourage everyone to patronize your local used book/record store and pick up some of the good stuff. My posts are capsule reviews of some favorites that you may want to investigate. The albums posted aren't really reviews but items from my collection that are still available. I try and point out highlights of each one and let the music speak for itself. Thanks to all for checking out the blog.
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