Penny for Them by Philip Catshill is an adventure story set mainly during the outbreak of the 1982 Falklands Conflict between the UK and Argentina, as the two countries slugged it out over a group of rocky islands in the Atlantic.
It’s primarily the story of Penelope Kendall-Wilkes, the stepdaughter of former British MP Henry Kendall-Wilkes, a central figure in the events leading up to the war. When Kendall-Wilkes sees Penelope as a threat, despite the relationship, he is determined to have her killed, and in the end, decides that he wants to do the deed himself.
The author does a credible job of portraying the complex, almost schizophrenic character of Penelope, as he allows us to see her multiple identities and personalities in her own words. The use of the first person, present in the narration, puts the reader in the picture, bringing the action alive very effectively in most of the book. It does cause a bit of confusion in places, but not fatally so.
Penelope’s relationship with Sean Moran, the man she’s been told murdered her father, is complex, but the author handles it well, including the surprise of Moran’s actual identity.
Penny for Them is a riveting read. The main character is complex, not a very good person at times, but someone the reader can root for, and the author came up with a zinger of a surprise ending. He also did a very good job of incorporating the background and action of the Falklands War into the overall narrative.
I give him five stars for this book.