This book was written in early 40's and published in early 50's. The book made Helen Mac Innes a force to reckon with, and she truly arrived on the scene with a bestseller.
The setting is Europe, just before the outbreak of the WW-II in the early 40's. Hitler has already annexed Czechoslovakia, Poland is about to be invaded and high tension is prevailing all over Europe & UK. Richard Myles, a University Professor at Oxford, and his lovely, intelligent, courageous, adventurous wife Frances are approached by Peter a family fiend, supposedly employed with Foreign Office with a simple request to undertake a simple mission. The mission is that, the couple during their upcoming vacation trip to Europe, will be contacted by someone in Paris, and thus in a series of 5 contacts, they will be lead to the end of the chain to meet the key-person, an Englishman. If and when they meet the key-person, they have to send an innocuous telegram to Peter, and that's all. Myles couple accepts the mission.
They start off their holiday in Paris, first contact happens, and then starts a journey into the mysterious world of intrigue, suspense, danger and betrayal. The journey takes them to Heidleberg; Nuremburg, Leipzig, Munich, Innsbruck and back to Paris via Italy at the end of this hair raising mission. Helen MacInnes takes us through this fantastic, awesome journey where each day is an adventure. Dialogues are witty, intelligent conversations that show the mental make-up, situational scenario, and a view of life then prevailing in the minds of people of allied and axis countries. The mutual suspicions, subtle hostilities, differences in perception and whole philosophy of life including socio-economic-and political views etc. come out so effortlessly and sharply that even today after 50 years of the period, we can understand and appreciate the conditions then prevailing.
It's a nice book, educative, informative as well as entertaining.
This report prepared by r b siddhanti