It’s not an instruction manual; it is in fact an obscure 1981 thriller from New Zealand author Jason Calder.
The plot concerns a notoriously cold-blooded woman; cruel, merciless and single minded to the point of dementia. And that’s just the assassin. She’s one Madame Nicola, recruited to polish off the Iron Lady at a Wellington Prime Minister’s Conference. Happily – or unhappily, depending on your view – she is thwarted by the bumbling Jonny Vincent, ex- Australian copper.
The blurb about the author suggests that he made a habit of courting controversy and has ‘received anonymous death threats which led to an offer of protection from the New Zealand police.’ I can report that this was probably for the quality of the writing rather than the subject matter. One of the many pleasures of book collecting is not having to read the things; an important consideration in this case. It’s rot.
Controversial books would make a good subject for a collection but if you’re tempted to start with this title you may have to wait a while. It was published by Hale, in very small numbers, most of which went straight to libraries. Very few copies of this book will have made it to a bookshop and at the time of writing there is just one copy for sale on the net.
The good news is that I’ll be featuring plenty of other interesting old books here on A New Look At Old Books. There are millions of them out there and if you’ve ever picked up an old book and thought ‘I wonder…’ then this site is for you.