Appointment in Tibet, by W. H. Murray. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1959. 284 pages; 6 maps. Price $3.95. Published in English edition as Five Frontiers; J. M. Dent, 1957.
Most of us know W. H. Murray as an outstanding rock-climber and Himalayan mountaineer who has written vividly of his climbing experiences. When we see a book called Five Frontiers in England, and Appointment in Tibet in America, we expect more of the same thing. Actually, this volume is pure fiction, a novel of international intrigue and adventure.
The rapid action takes us into three interesting regions. It starts with some dangerous small-boat sailing in the Western Isles of Scotland, in various sorts of weather—mostly bad. The villains are followed briefly to a fishing village on the Catalan coast of France, and then far into the Himalayas, beyond the borders of Tibet. There the excitement includes snow and ice work in the heights, a blizzard and an avalanche.
The publishers call this book "an adventure story in the grand manner of Robert Louis Stevenson and John Buchan.” They have, I think, done Mr. Murray’s first novel no service, by a comparison with the writings of such masters of the genre. But in spite of some definite weakness of plot and of plausibility, it is in general a lively, fast-moving yarn, told with conviction, and full of realistic detail. Its settings are both colorful and correct. It has two unusually fine, exciting storms on the sea and in the mountains. The hero and heroine are likeable, the villains suitably villainous, and the writer gives us a specially sympathetic and interesting picture of the Dotial porters, who help the ones, and thwart the others. In a word, it is good entertainment.