Synopsis: Matt is back to pretending to be a seagoing agent again, this time trying to track down the son of Raoul Caselius (remember him from way back in The Wrecking Crew?). Roland Caselius has started his own little murder for hire group, called DAMAG, Inc., and it is Eric's job to put an end to Caselius and his organization. As a side assignment, if it doesn't interfere with his primary duty, he can also prevent terrorists from blowing up Norfolk, Virginia, with an atomic bomb.

The Players:
  • Roland Caselius, son of Raoul, who is Helm's target.
  • Teresa Bell, high-level administrator of an unnamed U.S. government agency trying to learn the target of a group of Arab terrorists.
  • Siegelinda "Ziggy" Kronquist, agent for Bell's group, but who eventually turns to the enemy's side, which gets her killed.
  • Roger Hassim, second-in-command of the Arab terrorists.
  • Dorothy Francher, widow of Truman, and step-mother of Lorelei Francher. She's the head of the terrorists, it turns out.
  • Lorelei Francher, loves boats and is convinced by Bell to offer Helm some help in getting Truman Francher's boat from New England to Norfolk and points south.

Amorous conquests: Lori Francher, who never calls him "darling." The phony Ziggy does call him "darling" and hops into bed with Matt, but before anything serious takes place, she tries to kill him and his passion fades. Teresa Bell is waiting at his hospital bedside for him to recover so she can show him what a real woman can do when he recovers, but she doesn't call him "darling."

Dead: Thirteen or so (A couple of Bell's troops, killed by Greta Larsson, posing as Ziggy; Greta Larsson, suicide rather than face capture; Billy Barstow, another of Bell's people who changed sides, killed by Dorothy Francher; Dorothy herself, dies in self-inflicted explosion rather than face capture; and Roland Caselius, shot by Teresa when a badly wounded Eric cannot steady his gun sufficiently to do the job. But, as usual, Helm accounts for his share, sending about five of the bad guys to the bottom of the ocean, and shooting Roger Hassim and the real Ziggy Kronquist).

Injuries to Matt Helm: During the final gunfight with Caselius, Eric is shot twice--in the hip and in the left side--the second bullet smashing a rib causing a bone splinter to puncture a lung. But he was recovering nicely in the hospital when the book ended.

Quote: It did look just like a bomb, not the round black anarchist kind from the comic strips, with the sputtering fuse, but the crude four-sticks-of-dynamite-taped-together kind, with a couple of wires coming out of it.
     I lifted it out. It wasn't attached, and it didn't explode. I coiled the wires carefully and taped them to the already tape-wrapped bundle of dynamite sticks.
     "Do you want me to throw it overboard?" Ziggy asked.
     I studied the thing. It could, of course, have a timing device in addition to the contact wires; it could be booby-trapped in a dozen ways, and I wouldn't know the difference. On the other hand, it's only on TV that the hero makes a habit of throwing away useful weapons he encounters in the course of his adventures, or leaving them behind.
     I said, "You never know when a few sticks of dynamite will come in handy." I put the bundle away at the bottom of a nearby locker and stowed the tape in my toolbox.

Conclusion: Will Eric be back after this adventure? We can only wait and see and hope.


Matt Helm ™ is the property of Donald Hamilton.
and is a Trademark of Integute AB
This independent reference to, and appreciation of, the Matt Helm book series
is copyright 1998-2012 - Don Winans
Originally posted in June 1998 - Last Modified 05 March 2008
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