This highlands adventure story has been exhumed 51 years after its first outing and really is showing its age. Sentences like, ‘All my instincts urged me to carry on out of the house, but some stubborn streak of foolhardy courage, that I did not know I possessed, prompted me to tiptoe down the passage’ would be quite rare and lengthy nowadays.
Spies and goings-on on Skye are at the core as Alasdair, London boy, holidays at his inherited croft and unwittingly becomes the main player in foiling a plot to transfer important scientists over to the Soviets. The cast of foreign baddies and fearsomely independent, but essentially good, crofters, is straight out of black and white movies of the Cold War era. As for the local language, that is near foreign all by itself and requires a glossary at the back. Only a certain sort of retro kid will get very far with this one or the experienced reader who can take adventure in any shape or form. Probably male in either case!