Thursday, 3 August 2000

Catherine Gaskin: The File on Devlin (1965)

Edition: William Collins
Review number: 562

A competent, gentle thriller, rather like those of Helen MacInnes, The File on Devlin is set at the edges of the world of espionage. Lawrence Devlin is a well known writer, whose efforts to help people understand different cultures have gained him the Nobel Peace Prize. On his latest trip into the wilder parts of the globe, he has gone missing, presumed killed when his light plane crashed in a remote area of Afghanistan.

Josh Canfield, a journalist who also works for British intelligence, becomes suspicious that something more sinister is going on when he sees a known Soviet agent breaking into Devlin's London flat. The novel is basically the unravelling of the Russian involvement in Devlin's disappearance, as Josh juggles the needs of his espionage work with his developing feelings for Devlin's daughter Sally.

This tension is the heart of the novel, and Gaskin handles it well to produce an enjoyable read.

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