July 20, 1981 12:00 PM

by Herbert Mitgang

The cultural correspondent for the New York Times has written this adventure tale about a World War II vet-newspaper editor whose son is killed in Vietnam. As a result, his wife ends up in a mental hospital. Subsequently the editor is enlisted by an old undercover-agent chum and sent to Palermo, Venice, Leningrad, Berlin, Moscow and London to make an arrangement with an old Russian comrade-in-arms. The problem is making sure the Soviets know that the U.S. knows the U.S.S.R. has this terrible weapon that triggers earthquakes, and that the U.S. has an equally devastating device. Mitgang has fun with all his far-flung locales and also gets his teeth into a digression: the diluting of newspapers with fluffy “life-style” sections. He hates it. The novel, however, is a successful entertainment. (Arbor House, $12.95)

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