Tanner's tiger Hardcover – Dec 1 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
A pity Block doesn't write for the movies. There's a great little B movie here. First published in 1968, this is a reissue of the fifth book in the series featuring Evan Tanner, "whose sleep center was destroyed in Korea" but who remains "not merely conscious but energetically and productively awake 24 hours a day." It reflects its era of anti-war protests and violent political activism. Tanner is a jack-of-all-spycraft, member of (almost all) subversive groups; a man of many guises who hops, skips and parachutes around the globe on errands from those who wag the dog. "The Chief" has asked him this round to investigate the Cuban Pavilion at the Montreal Expo. Rumor has it that the Cubans are using it for something nasty, which proves to be an understatement, indeed. The first nasty thing Tanner observes at the fair is the kidnapping of his daughter, Mina. He is unable to go to the Mounties, since they kicked him out of the country as a suspected terrorist when he first arrived and are now hunting him for sneaking back in. He turns for help to some Quebec nationalists, especially a bright and beautiful young woman named Arlette, who has a problem of her own. The more militant of her group want to blow up the Queen of England on her state visit to the fair. Naturally, she and Tanner team up to sort out the Cuban plot, rescue Mina and frustrate the militants, all with a dazzling display of wit and skill. Like most of Block's books, this is full of humor and high spirits, a treat for established fans and new readers alike. (Sept. 10) Forecast: Based on the performance of past books in this deluxe reprint series, expect a sell-out.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Published in 1968, this installation was the fifth in Block's Evan Tanner series. Less exotic than his usual outings, the plot finds Tanner, who is essentially a thief, getting pulled into a job while relaxing in Montreal. Fans of the series will be pleased to see this back in print.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
He's someone who's world traveled and not entirely legal in everything he does. Tanner gets involved in conspiracies and spying, but he's also devoted to Minna who he hopes one day to restore to Lithuania's throne.
In this novel they journey to Canada. Here Tanner has to match wits with Canadian border officials and the people running the Cuban exhibit at Montreal's Expo.
It is laugh-out-loud funny and a great read. Wonderful dialogue and a crazy, nutty plot that includes memorable characters.
What does he do with all his time? Well, he has learned a smattering of just about every language and he has joined just about every group supporting every lost cause that could ever be imagined, whether its Macedonian independence, Lithuanian independence, Free the Whales, the IRA, and, of course, as relevant to this particular story, Free Quebec.
His contacts with all of these independence and subversive groups gives Tanner contacts all over the world, contacts he has memorized in his incredible mind. It also leads to trouble because foreign governments are often uncomfortable with his membership in some of these groups.
Tanner sort of works for a secretive government organization, sort of like the CIA, but not. Written in 1968 and set in the midst of the Cold War, it is a comedic answer to Ian Fleming’s Bond series. These books are sardonic, witty, and filled with humour. It is interesting to read about all of these groups trying to get independence when decades later, the Iron Curtain has fallen and been smashed into smithereens and many of the formerly Soviet Block countries are now free and independent.
This, the fifth book in the series, takes Mr. Tanner on a journey to the exotic land of Canada, particularly French-speaking Canada where he must deal with the Cuban mission to the World’s Fair Expo in Montreal. In tow with him is the impish girl, Minna, a Lithuanian princess, who, if the world was differently ordered, would be heir to the throne of that medieval kingdom. Of all the borders Tanner has crossed over the years, the Canadian border proves, strangely enough, to be one of he most difficult for him, given his membership in certain subversive organizations.
Of course, the tale wouldn't be complete without a French-speaking nymphomaniac who just happens to be an absolute knockout, the Queen of England, and a fortune in illicit heroin.
The bottom line is that this is a terrific, funny read, more in the vein of Bernie Rhodenbarr than anything else by Block. A lot of fun to read, and certainly not to be taken too seriously.
The obligatory supporting characters get stronger with each volume of this zany and highly entertaining series. Chapter six introduces the reader to the book’s title character and it does not take long for our man Evan to follow tradition when it comes to beautiful women.
She is of course, a member of the local political activist group, who in the name of freedom for Quebec, plan a truly outrageous act which will bring the world down on them quicker than butter melts in the desert. So not only does Tanner have to save the day when it comes to common sense and international diplomacy, he also still needs to correct a serious and equally catastrophic wrong, which occurred earlier in the book.
As i have said earlier, I am a huge fan of this series. I am a huge fan of Mr Block’s other books, too, but that is beside the point. The Tanner books are fun, zany, educational escapades into history that in many respects, still resonate with the world we find ourselves in today. And given the relative age of each novel - the first book was written back in the 1960's, for goodness sake - what further proof do you need of someone’s unique and interstellar story telling qualities if they are still being read and reviewed today?
This volume is worthy of a very solid four star rating. The highlight of the series for mine was the uproarious and almost hysterical CANCELLED CZECH. That one was pure gold. This one is in line for a silver medal.
Tanner works for a mysterious government agency, presided over by a person known only as `the Chief'. The chief calls and Tanner springs into action. In this case he's checking out the Cuban exhibition at the Montreal World Fair. He's taken his daughter Minna with him, but Minna immediately disappears. He meets a French Canadian named Arlette. Arlette has an overactive libido, a tiger-skin throw on her bed and a tiger-skin hat (hence the title), but Arlette too will disappear in the course of the story.
Arlette is part of a separatist group that is making plans for the queen's visit to Montreal. Some want to kidnap her; some want to kill her. Since Tanner is on the run from Canadian authorities after his illegal border crossing, he must throw in his lot with the separatists, exhibit his street cred in leading their plotting but simultaneously do some back-channel work to protect the queen from serious harm (before he rescues Minna) and before he rescues Arlette.
The tone is light, much of the violence muted, the plot wildly implausible, the novel great fun. At 237 pp. it is a perfect companion for a transatlantic flight (which Tanner himself may just experience in the course of the novel).
Lawrence Block is incapable of writing a bad novel. I believe that his Matt Scudder novels are his very best, but if his name is on the cover you're always safe to take him in hand and proceed to the checkout.