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Joseph McElroy: Lookout Cartridge

Dagger DiGorro and his friend Cartwright, both Americans, are making a film in England but there are problems right from the start, as their helicopter malfunctions. Of course, McElroy is asking all the right questions. What is the film, for a start? Is it the film in Cartwright’s head or is it the film they actually film? And who (and why) is the someone out to get the film (and Cartwright’s diary of the shooting of the film)? But what Cartwright/McElroy is trying to do is trying to find out how it all fits together. On one level this is a detective story with a complex story of the film, Cartwright’s family (his wife, Lorna, his son, Will and his daughter Jenny, who is very much involved in the film plot) and international capers, involving computers, death and mayhem (not necessarily in that order). But with McElroy, we know that Cartwright/McElroy is concerned only with the patterns that may or may not be there. The new wrinkle in this novel is the computer which, even back in 1974, was obviously going to make it easier but also more complicated for us to handle information and in this novel information is coming at us from all angles and there is no way we can deal with it.

Publishing history

First published 1974 by Knopf