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Angel's Ransom

   Dodge followed up the successful To Catch A Thief with two other suspense novels set in and around southern France. Angel’s Ransom (Random House, 1956) takes place on a private luxury yacht, the Angel, which is owned by an American playboy named Freddy Farr. Just prior to sailing from the port of Monaco, the regular crew is tricked into going ashore and a trio of gangsters hijacks the boat. Kidnapped with the Angel are the ship’s captain, Sam Blake, Freddy and his girlfriend du jour, Valentina, and three other guests. Blake is ordered to sail up and down the Mediterranean coast while the leader of the hijackers, a vile man named Holtz, extorts a ransom from Freddy. As Blake tries to save his passengers from the murderous gangsters, Valentina precipitates a violent confrontation between Holtz and one of the passengers by appearing on deck in her bikini. The climax of the novel occurs in the port of Monaco-Ville as the hijackers shoot it out with the local Sûreté Publique. Although the bulk of the action takes place at sea, Dodge mixes descriptions of the coastal geography into his narrative.

In the wind-whipped mistiness … the lights of the principality were only a dim curtain of spangled brightness framing the stronger beams of the beacons, but [Blake’s] mind saw what his eyes could not, the familiar stretch of rocky coast between Cap Martin and Cap d’Ail; here the sandy hook that was Monte Carlo beach, there the facing bluffs of Monte Carlo and Monaco-Ville, the shelter of the port between them, depth markings on a chart, a compass rose.

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