Point of Honour by Alan Scholefield (Heinemann, £4.50) is a detective story with a difference. David Turner investigates the case of his own father who was awarded the Victoria Cross at the time of Dunkirk, in an attempt to find the truth behind the image. It turns out to be a strong and dangerous process which makes a gripping story.
The final show-down has a touch of bathos adding more credibility than climax to the conclusion.
In Childhood by Graciliano Ramos (Peter Owen. £6.50) we are in the unfamiliar world of a Brazilian child at the turn of the century. The theme is not unfamiliar — the child's developing literary awareness. The cameo portraits of the boy's family, friends and foes are sensitively realised and we share the total recall of this lost culture, at once colourful and corrupt. There is a tragic topicality in Across the Water by Stewart Binnie (Seeker and Warburg, £4.50). This is the story of conflict and fanaticism in Belfast and London, and the way in which innocent and loving people can get caught up in the violence which seems endemic in Northern Ireland.
Set in 1971, the plot culminates, prophetically, in terrorist activity at Westminster. Stewart Binnie has a direct style with the impact and impartiality of a dramatic news story.
It is more difficult to assess the last two books, which are both part of a series of linked novels. The Saviour by Anthony Storey (Marion Boyars, £4.95) has a dust cover showing the famous Cimabue Crucifix. Readers should be warned that this is no guide to the contents.
The Jesus of this story is a young man living in 20th century England at the heart of a web of neurosis and sexually deviant behaviour. By any standards this is a disturbing book and the author, a psychologist by profession, has pulled no punches in what his publishers euphemistically call a "non Christian" novel.
The Fortunes of Peace by Meriol Trevor ([fodder and Stoughton, £4.25) is the sixth and last of a series of historical novels dealing with romance and personal relationships during and after the Napoleonic Wars. Set in Luxembourg, the historical background is superficial.
Half a dozen eh hien's give the dialogue the necessary European tang. The interest is in the people and patterns of their misunderstandings and amours. This interest is well maintained.