|Plot Summary of Old Flames|
Grove/Atlantic, Jan 2003, 24.00, 416 pp.
In 1956, Nikita Khrushchev visits England. Because he can speak Russian, having moved from there as a child, Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Frederick Troy is assigned as Khrushchev's escort, his (and the English) interpreter, and English spy. Most cops would loath the assignment, but Frederick even more so because of his espionage assignments during WW II and his gut belief that his father was a spy and traitor.
As Khrushchev gets ready to depart (to Troy's relief), in Portsmouth Harbour the mutilated body of a navy diver Lieutenant (R) Arnold Cockerell is found though his wife says the corpse is not him, but provides no explanation as to where he is. Evidence leads to the conclusion that Cockerell, a furniture salesman, apparently was a spy, but no one confesses that he was employed by them, leaving the police to wonder for whom did he work? Troy is involved in that case and wrapping up his spying on Khrushchev, but also has personal problems to contend with, as his family detests the past resurfacing and his former deadly KGB old flame making a return into his life.
OLD FLAMES is a powerful espionage tale that plays out on two levels. First, the story line is an atmospheric Cold War spy novel set at a time when England and the West are shocked by the Philby-Burgess scandals and Khrushchev is screaming nuclear burial. The ploy also provides a subtle humor to all the spy and counterspy activity. Troy keeps the tale together as the audience receives a terrific espionage thriller cleverly inter-wrapped with a probing police procedural like a Moebius Band.
This synopsis report prepared by Harriet Klausner
|Chapter Analysis of Old Flames|
Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Composition of Book
descript. of violence and chases - 10%
Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives - 50%
Feelings, relationships, character bio/development - 30%
How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) - 10%
Tone of story
- suspenseful (sophisticated fear)
How difficult to spot villain?
- Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues
Time/era of story:
- 2000+ (Present)
Cloak & Dagger Plotlets:
- preventing/finding assassin
What % of story relates directly
to the mystery, not the subplot?
Kind of investigator
- british mystery (I say!)
Kid or adult book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
Who's the terrorist enemy here?
- spy ring
Murder Mystery (killer unknown)
Accounts of torture and death?
- generic/vague references to death/punishment
Amount of dialog
- significantly more dialog than descript
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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