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--Kirkus’ Bookshop Service
Red Tassel, 1st ed.

The Red Tassel


Publishing History

  • The Toronto Star Weekly, 9 September 1950 (Star Weekly Complete Novel)
  • New York: Random House, 1950
  • London: Michael Joseph, 1951
  • New York: Dell Publishing Company, 1952 (Dell 565)

Series Character


  • Bolivia


   The action in The Red Tassel, David Dodge’s third and final Al Colby adventure, takes place high in the Bolivian Andes. Colby is hired by the beautiful, red-headed Pancha Porter, who is making her first visit to Bolivia, to investigate a series of mysterious thefts and accidents at her lead and silver mine in San Martín Coquellache (altitude 17,000 feet). The mine was left to her by her father and is managed by an American named Simon Braillard. Braillard suspects that the “accidents” are actually sabotage and that the village witch doctor, Yatiri, is behind them.

   Upon their arrival at the mine, Al and Pancha meet Braillard, his beautiful wife Lili and skinny son Carl, along with the mine’s chief employees. The thefts continue, including a daring nighttime raid on the mine’s llama herd. Just as Colby is beginning to unravel the relationships between Yatiri and the mine workers (everyone in the village is related and Braillard’s chief assistants are direct descendants of the witch doctor), Braillard winds up with a knife in his back and a red borla -- a woven ear tassel for a llama, used as a mark of ownership -- in his hand. Now he has to uncover the rest of Yatiri’s secrets before he and Pancha meet the same fate.

1st UK ed, 1951

   They say your sex impulses are inhibited at high altitudes, something to do with the effect of decreased air pressure on blood pressure. Mine weren’t. I would have had to be as high as the moon not to appreciate Pancha Porter at a distance of one foot. It wasn’t an aroused social conscience that made me want to tell her I would stand on my head and juggle Indians with my feet if she asked me to. It was her nearness, the pleading look in her blue eyes, and, most of all, her mouth. Nobody’s boss had a right to leave a mouth like that so close to an employee. It was just the color of her hair, like a flame.
   I felt myself going overboard. My palms began to sweat. A gunshot saved me.
   The Red Tassel, Chapter 8


Red Tassel, Dell 565

Cast of Characters

Carl Braillard
Lili Braillard
Simon Braillard
Al Colby
The Madwoman (La loca)
Pete Malvin
Carmen-María Manchego
Catalina Manchego
Saturnino Manchego
Sixto Manchego
Pancha Porter
Robert Porter
The Priest

Book Reviews

Previous novel Plunder of the Sun (1949)
To Catch a Thief (1952) Next novel

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