The Last Cuckoo
Trevor S. Raymond is a teacher and librarian with the Peel Board of Education and editor of Canadian Holmes.
Harry Bracken, the CIA spy “who shot the wrong Lebanese” and thus
became an insurance investigator, is back for a third outing, courtesy
of David Parry, a onetime journalist and broadcaster, and Patrick
Withrow, a Toronto writer. This time, widower Bracken is to fetch a
former USSR nuclear scientist from Britain. Also after this scientist,
to sell her to Iraq, is the former Soviet agent who murdered Harry’s
wife. From this promising premise comes an uneven, sometimes even boring
book, not nearly as much fun as Bracken’s previous outing, Hummingbird
Soup. It’s written in breezy, short paragraphs, some of them only a
sentence; some not even that. Nine of its 44 chapters are devoted to a
flashback concerning interrogations of Harry in an institution,
following his wife’s death. These are written in the form of a
question-and-answer transcript, which wearies a reader after a time, and
seem mostly to get in the way of the story.