Posted by: Lisa Hill | April 2, 2009

Man Overboard by Tim Binding, read by Steven Crossley

man-overboardOh, what could be more frustrating than to spend ten hours listening to a spellbinding audiobook, only to have the last CD ruined by sticky fingermarks and scratches so that the twist in the tale remains unknown!

Man Overboard by Tim Binding (who also wrote the excellent Island Madness) is the author’s take on the mysterious disappearance of Lionel Crabb, a hero of World War II for his amazing exploits as a frogman.  Crabb is the sort of reckless, feckless man who is not much good at anything in peace time, but brilliant during war, and this story of how he protected British shipping, disabled enemy subs and kept an eye on the murky depths is fascinating in its own right.  Postwar he was at a bit of a loose end until he was enlisted into the secret service, inspecting Soviet vessels at home and abroad, and he became known to one and all as the ultimate British patriot.  Crusty, conservative, devoted to Queen and Country, and determined to do his bit, no matter how dangerous.

Crabb, however, disappeared during Krushchev’s visit to Portsmouth in 1956, during the Cold War, and no one really knows whether he defected or was captured and kidnapped.   Binding weaves a story around this mystery, alternating between Crabb’s memories and his life in a Czech nursing home.  What conclusion does the author come to, about the integrity of his hero?

I don’t know!  There are excellent reviews of this book at The Independent, and The Guardian, but no spoilers to reveal the end.  I shall just have to get hold of a copy of the book!


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