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I Was Following This Girl

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I Was Following This Girl, published in 1967, is the second of three thrillers by the English novelist Desmond Skirrow about John Brock, an irreverent but very, very tough advertising executive who is also a sometime undercover agent.[1] Published in England by The Bodley Head and in the United States by Lippincott, it is a little under 80,000 words in length and quite clearly inferior to the first of the Brock novels, It Won't Get You Anywhere.[2] (Skirrow, about whom little is known, came relatively late to writing, published only five novels in a three-year span, and died in his early fifties.) Many of the early parts of the book seem more like social satire of the so-called Swinging London scene of the mid- and late-1960s than conventional crime fiction. The American paperback edition, in fact, published in 1968, does not even identify the book as a thriller, putting the author's name in tiny, almost invisible print on the cover, and then using blurbs such as,

The most amazing set of unusual circumstances ever to switch-on a reluctant love goddess—and turn an already swinging scene into an all-out explosive happening![3]

along with a quotation from the Chicago Tribune:

...a light-hearted account of the waves made by the richest-girl-in-the-world in London's kinky, kooky, and guru set[4]

Anthony Boucher, however, the noted book reviewer for The New York Times, gave a more accurate appraisal:

Desmond Skirrow has such a lively way with words that nobody is apt to complain that I Was Following This Girl is in essence a fairly ordinary conventional thriller about exposing a sinister politico-financial cult. There's plenty of action and the plotting is ingenious and inventive; but the real delight of the book is the quirky narrative.[5]

References

  1. I Was Following This Girl, The Bodley Head, London, 1967; Doubleday, New York, 1968, ISBN 0552081159;
  2. It Won't Get You Anywhere, The Bodley Head, London, 1966; Lippincott, New York, 1966, ISBN 0552079111
  3. I Was Following This Girl, Curtis Books paperback edition, New York, 1968, back-cover blurb
  4. ibid., back-cover
  5. "Criminals at Large", Anthony Boucher, New York Times", February 11, 1968, at http://select.nytimes.com/mem/archive/pdf?res=FA0B14FF3F5F127A93C3A81789D85F4C8685F9