Career diplomat Dillion Randolph returns home to his censorious father after a nasty scandal with a married woman in Australia. He is given a second chance in post-war Berlin with the U.S. Mission in Berlin but his indiscretion makes him the perfect target for the Soviets. When a beautiful actress suddenly enters his life, is it true love or just a KGB “honey trap?” Double agents have been worrisome for the allies recently but it takes a pragmatic British spy to ferret out the truth behind the alluring Fraulien Schiller.
Flanders has captured the atmosphere of Cold War Berlin perfectly. His description of the city, hemmed in by the Russians, struggling to regain its footing after the war is both poignant and hopeful. Aficionados of John le Carré, Alan Furst and the late Philip Kerr need to add this to their collection.
Murder on the Left Bank (An Aimée Leduc Investigation)
By Cara Black
As with all of Black’s books, I sat down one evening, started reading Murder on the Left Bank, and didn’t stop until I had gotten to the last page. Juggling the demands of her detective agency and her baby, Aimée reluctantly takes on a bewildering case for a good friend. A missing dossier and the suspicious death of the notebook’s courier digs up reminders of the dangerous syndicate that murdered Aimée’s father. Black doesn’t mess around in her 18th Aimée Leduc book and it doesn’t take long for the tension to build in this one. Reluctantly, our heroine finds herself having to rely on her godfather, her child’s father and her enigmatic mother to protect the life of her baby.
As usual, a most satisfying read with the added charm of Paris, Aimée’s vintage wardrobe and the quirky cast of characters that make up her friends and family.
Pub. Date June 19, 2018
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
By Mario Gidrdano
Recently translated from the German, this features some of the most delightful characters I’ve read in ages. Poldi (which is short Isolde) has recently moved to Sicily from Munich. She is widowed, oft-times depressed, hard-drinking and has recently turned-sixty. Her husband’s three Sicilian sisters worry about her health but Poldi finds an unexpected diversion. After discovering the body of a young man who has been helping her restore her house, Poldi decides to solve the murder of Valentino Candela and romantically pursue the handsome Sicilian policeman assigned to the case.
Poldi is the nervy heroine we all like to see stubbornly tracking down a murderer. Her persistence in often humorous and engaging. That being said, she is also prone to dark moods and depression, which are actually rather refreshing and human.
Probable Claws: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery
By Rita Mae Brown
The 27th Mrs. Murphy Mystery employs a lot of the things we like best in these mysteries such as ingenious murder, engaging banter between the animals as Harry Hairsteen’s totes her pets around town into possible dangerous situations and, of course, that particular southern charm that Brown uses to elevate even the most diabolical of her characters. That charm extends to additional personalities that seemingly have nothing to do with the folks in Crozet only because they exist in the 1700’s. Eventually, we are given clues to the connection between the past and the present but, as much as I enjoyed the side story, it was a little disconcerting. I was left with the impression that RMB enjoyed writing about the 18th century mystery more than she did the 21st.
Pub. Date May 29, 2018