The Expendability Doctrine, the first novel in the Inspector Hawthorne series, is about Hawthorne's investigation into the murder of wealthy oil developer Keith Connors and the international intrigues which surround both it and the victim's wife.
Hilary Connors, a separated alcoholic, in the seaside town of Andall, is duped into taking part in a plan to murder her husband Keith. Set against the background of an international fuel crisis, the contract assassination is carried out professionally and goes according to plan. Hilary makes her escape to Libya where she is supposed to meet her lover and accomplice, Christopher Delatouche. In Tripoli, she attends a meeting of oil speculators and witnesses the murder of a White House official. This killing draws the attention of the Libyan authorities to Hilary. She is taken to gaol where she experiences the severest of prison conditions and narrowly escapes the infamous Abu Sleem massacre.
During his investigation, Hawthorne rules out several suspects. It soon becomes clear to him that the key to Keith's murder must lie in his past. A range of experts inform Hawthorne that it was Keith Connors, personally, who advised oil companies to employ ruthless tactics in order to secure the land they needed for drilling. Keith's sinister work went further than that. It mathematically justified taking thousands of innocent lives in return for delivering oil to the US economy. Keith called his brutal plan The Expendability Doctrine.
Ambassador Whittler and Keith Connors had to die because they publicised the existence of the doctrine. It is Major Carter's role to safeguard the doctrine's secrecy and he employed Brydale to silence Connors and Whittler. It suits Brydale, the murderer, to leave clues implicating Hilary.
Inspector Hawthorne understands why Keith was murdered. He realises the evidence he needs belongs to Keith's solicitor, Brian Cardman. A battle of wills develops between the policeman and the solicitor. Hawthorne triumphs using his knowledge of the solicitor collecting illegal pornography.
Finally, Major Carter resolves to rescue Hilary.
The review of this Book prepared by Patrick Mackeown