Richard’s Feet

Written by Carey Harrison
Review by Douglas Kemp

This is the fictional memoir, ostensibly written in 1968, of Richard Thurgo who has led a most intriguing life. He is a big cheese in Hamburg’s notorious adult entertainment area based on the Reeperbahn. Starting from an unconventional upbringing in Ireland with his eccentric grandfather, Richard grows up to be a six-foot-six tall, ungainly adult who, although having a training/background in the legal profession, has a life that very often is swamped in the illicit.

After a trip to Germany in the late 1930s, Richard develops an impassioned interest in the country and its people. In the company of his older brother, Alec, and mutual friend Maggie, they visit Count Peter Lutzow-Bruel an aristocratic German in Mecklenburg. It is a time when Richard is not quite sure what is going on around him, both in terms of the complex relations between the four of them and Germany’s slide into a global conflict. It is only in the post-War years that much more became clear to Richard, as he tells us in his memoir.

War comes along and Richard has a role as interrogator of captured Germans. In 1948, Richard is left an inheritance by a Malaga-based uncle, and he goes to Spain to claim the estate. There he takes an unplanned opportunity to fake his own death and he travels back to Germany, and the rubble-dominated city of Hamburg. The story is an intelligent and quite demanding narrative.

There are plenty of diversions along the way, and it is not a tale that can be rushed through for an afternoon’s idle entertainment.  There are little jokes aplenty, together with some philosophical and theological ventures. It is part of a four-book series, though each can be read independently, and hitherto, only the first three have been published.

 e-book reviewed