The Money that Never Was is a wonderful gentle comedy that reminds one of the humour of the old Ealing comedies. Charles Tremayne is a spy out of his time. He has spent his life escaping the Russians and helping defectors across the Berlin Wall. But now the Russians are our friends, our spies speak Mandarin and Arabic and Charles Tremayne is counting the days to retirement.
When a truckload of MI6 cash being used to buy favours from an African dictator goes missing, Tremayne is sent on one last mission to retrieve it. The trail leads him to Little Didney, a tiny Cornish fishing village whose inhabitants seem to be guarding a secret. Used to dealing with cold-hearted Soviet agents and East German Secret Police he finds himself completely out of his depth with the cantankerous villagers. Confounded at every turn he soon realises two hundred and fify million pounds of government money that isn’t supposed to exist has fallen into the hands of these people.
Peopled by a delightful cast of lovable rogues and whimsical oddballs Tremayne must keep his cool and try not to kill anybody in his search for the money. Then there is the beautiful Sandy, is she really attracted to him or is she just a diversion sent by the villagers to distract him from his quest.
This really is a very funny book. David Luddington has a knack for drawing wonderfully eccentric characters and then letting them loose. Tremayne’s constant frustrations as he finds himself becoming entangled with the local’s lives mount chapter upon chapter until he finally gets the chance to what he was born to do… Kill the bad guys, rescue the princess.