THE GUNS OF NAVARONE (320 pp.)Alistair MacLeanDoubleday ($3.95).
Early in World War II a character called Alistair Digby-Vane-Trumpington (in Evelyn Waugh's Put Out More Flags) asked his wife if she would mind if he joined the Commandos: "They have special knives and Tommy guns and knuckle-dusters; they wear rope-soled shoes."
"Bless you," said Sonia.
"They carry rope ladders round their waists and files sewn in the seams of their coats to escape with. D'you mind very much if I accept?"
"No darling. I couldn't keep you from the rope ladder. Not from the rope ladder I couldn't. I see that."
Like Digby-Vane-Trumpington, many writers cannot...