Thursday, 18 January 2001

Helen MacInnes: Agent in Place (1976)

Edition: William Collins, 1977
Review number: 720

At its beginning, Agent in Place is about the leak of a NATO memo to the American press. However, it becomes clear that the Russians have orchestrated the leak of the comparatively innocuous first part of the memo to get hold of the second and third parts, which detail the reasoning behind the first part and so provide information which will enable them to unmask important Western agents.

As the investigation into the leak proceeds, and the action of the novel moves from New York to the Riviera resort of Menton, it keeps becoming clear that the situation is more serious than the reader and the investigators suspected. This is how MacInnes raises the tension and keeps up the suspense in what is a good Cold War thriller.

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