Picks and Pans Review: The Last Mandarin

UPDATED 07/16/1979 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 07/16/1979 at 01:00 AM EDT

by Stephen Becker

World War II is over. The Japanese have fled China, and Jack Burnham, an American engineer who grew up there, is assigned to track down kanamori, a depraved Japanese officer who raped and murdered hundreds. Burnham must work fast because Mao's men are approaching Peking. But—oh, wonderful, ancient plot!—Burnham falls in love with a beautiful Chinese doctor, then finds kanamori. Perhaps so many people will travel to China that it will lose its appeal as a locale for old-fashioned adventure. But in the hands of Becker, a consistently entertaining novelist, the mystique is still there. (Random House, $9.95)

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