Something to Answer For (1969) is a novel by the English author P. H. Newby. Its chief claim to fame is that it was the winner of the inaugural Booker Prize, which would go on to become one of the major literary awards in the English-speaking world.
Townrow, a 31 year old Fund Distributor, who is stealing from the fund he is in charge of is contacted by the widow of an old friend, Elie Khoury. They met in 1946, in Port Said
after he had fallen off a horse in front of the Khoury's beach hut
. Mrs Khoury wants Townrow to go to see her in Cairo because she believes her husband was murdered.
After thinking it through, Townrow accepts Mrs Khoury's offer of a plane ticket to Cairo, stopping over in Rome
where meets two men and has an argument with them defending the British Government from involvement in Nazi Germany
's Final Solution
campaign. The discussion is heated but ends on a friendly note.
In Cairo, Townrow makes a joke about marrying Mrs Khoury for her money to an immigration officer which leads him being interrogated. He is kept in a cell and is released once his train has departed.
In Port Said, Townrow doesn't go straight away to see Mrs Khoury. Instead opting to stay in a hotel. Here he considers having no one who really cares about him in his life. Townrow visits a bar he used to frequent while serving in Port Said as a sergeant in the military. The owner of the bar, Christous, recognises him and kicks out his clientele for some privacy. Townrow asks about Elie's death. Christous tells him that Mrs Khoury, with great difficulty, took her husband's body back to Lebanon
to be buried. Because of her actions Colonel Nasser
took the Suez Canal