I read this book simply because it was physically lightweight and would fit in my carry-on luggage on my trip back from Kos. I choose it from the books that were available from our hotel and left ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘The Amber Spyglass’, ‘Scar Tissue’ and ‘Sharpe’s Trafalgar’ in return; more than a fair trade in my opinion.
Bryan Forbes was an English film director, screenwriter, film producer, actor and novelist best known as the director of the film The Stepford Wives (1975), he died in 2013 at the age of 86 after a long illness.
The Twisted Playground’ was written by Forbes about twenty years ago and some observations on ‘modern’ life now seem a little dated. The story revolves around Martin Weaver a thriller writer who spots an old friend, Henry Blagden, whom he thought was dead at Venice airport. The old friend was a member of the British parliament and was supposed to have committed suicide in a Moscow hotel a year previously. Weaver doesn’t get a chance to talk to his old friend but goes about investigating the dubious facts surrounding his so-called suicide.
The more Weaver digs the more danger he puts himself into, the more odd characters from the elite of society he meets and the more unsavoury facts he uncovers about Blagden. Written in the first person with plenty of flashbacks to when Henry and Martin were best buddies chasing ‘skirt’ left right and centre, the story seems in places to be almost autobiographical and certainly the phraseology and vocabulary are those of a somewhat wealthy Englishman from Surrey.
Much like Ian Fleming and other thriller writers Forbes served in British Intelligence during WWII and some of his love of adventure comes through in his writing. Weaver globe trots from location to location in his search for the truth and while the story is ultimately not as gripping as a Bond mission it was nevertheless an entertaining book.