The Information Officer
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The Information Officer

3.2 of 5 stars 3.20  ·  rating details  ·  827 ratings  ·  190 reviews
In the summer of 1942, Max Chadwick is the British officer charged with manipulating the news on Malta to bolster the population’s fragile esprit de corps, as the small windswept island endures relentless Axis air raids. The fiercely independent Maltese, and a few broken-down fighter planes, are all that stand in the face of Nazi occupation and perhaps even victory—for Mal...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Random House (first published January 1st 2009)
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Alissa
I normally really enjoy fiction about World War II, and was intrigued by the book's description, since I knew little of Malta or its part in the war. However, I this book didn't excite me and while I kept reading in part to see how the murder mystery was resolved, I agree with another Goodreads Reader who pointed out that this book tried to be too much - historical fiction about Malta's role, a love story, and a murder mystery. The mystery parts were the best for me, and the continued descriptio...more
Marybeth
This book tries to accomplish way too much in one story. The result is a choppy mess. I didn't care about any of the characters nor did I care much about solving the supposed mystery. Overall - a flop.
Morgan F
I wouldn't have read this book if I hadn't won an advanced copy, and I kind of wish I hadn't won it.

This book was very, very muddled. I wish it just focused on one damn thing, but nnoooooo, it had to try to do it all, and it failed. The whole mystery/thriller part of it absolutely drowned in all the war details and boring characters. A good 3/4 of this book was just talking about bombings and airplanes and guns and other things that were just not interesting. And there was waaaayyy too many char...more
Jim Leffert
During World War II, the island of Malta, located about midway between Sicily and the north coast of Africa, was a key strategic location. The Germans subjected the island, which was a British colony, to a campaign of massive, unrelenting aerial bombardment, designed to isolate the island and wear down its defenses.

This mystery novel nicely captures the atmosphere and feeling of what it was like to be there. The protagonist, Max Chadwick, is a British officer whose task it is to disseminate opti...more
Lisa
Psychological murder mystery involving a serial killer? Spy story? Love story? Historical novel? This novel tries to do it all, and does none of it well.

The murder of a local girl on Malta during World War II is made to look like a bombing death. For some reason, a military doctor does the post-mortem, as he has on two other deaths of local girls which he thinks were murders made to look like bombing deaths. He told the military authorities about it, but they did not investigate. For some reason...more
Tony
Mills, Mark. THE INFORMATION OFFICER. (2009). ****. This is the first of Mr. Mills’ books that I have read, but I will certainly look up his others. It is a murder mystery and spy thriller set on the island of Malta during the early days of WW II. A young British officer, Max Chadwick, has been brought over to Malta to take over the post as resident (read propoganda) officer for the island forces and resident British troops. He has a big job helping to preserve morale after the incessant raids b...more
Michelle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carl
I picked this up after a good, brief review in the Sunday NYT.
If one can put down a mystery 1/3 through, there is something wrong. Obviously the plot isn't engrossing, and at this point, the main mystery has barely begun to unfold.
The characters: way too much "old man" and "old chap" (Monty Python's "upperclass twits"?); none very interesting or likable so far, including the main character and his married lover.
The setting: life during wartime can make for fascinating reading (I can think of m...more
Ted
British Major Max Chadwick is an architect turned military PR flak facing numerous dilemmas on the island of Malta in the spring of 1942. The rapes and murders of several young Maltese women could further erode the fragile relationship between local islanders and the British who are defending Malta from an unrelenting aerial onslaught by German and Italian bombers. A small piece of evidence points to the possibility that the murderer is a British submariner, a sailor under the command of the hus...more
Miss GP
I can see why The Information Officer would get such mixed reviews. Like Mills' other novels, it's more about conveying a time, place, atmosphere and characters than about the mystery taking place against this backdrop. From a historical fiction standpoint, the book is top-notch. It's very detailed, and Mills' characters are more real, more in-depth than almost any other author I can think of. The problem is that the backdrop usurps the plot, so at times it drags. Mills gets so wrapped up in pai...more
Vicki
Woo Hoo, I won this book from Goodreads! I love winning books.
This book is very interesting. I have to agree with other reviews that it tried to be too many genres and did well at none. The history of Malta was good but way too exhausting to keep a reader enthalled. The mystery was good but there wasn't enough of it in the story. The love story...what love story? The true love story was hidden away in the end. Just okay in every way.
Charisse
I liked the story - I was surprised to see so many negative reviews... It is a historical read with a mystery with a bit of romance thrown in along the way. I enjoyed reading about Malta and role it played in World War Two. The characters weren't robust but I found myself following along without a problem. I liked it - I think I'd still recommend it.
Michelle
The opening of the book starts with a mystery encounter between two unnamed men in a bar implying some significant events occurring in Malta during WWII. The book then falls back to that time to reveal the story. Max Chadwick is the British information officer on the island, trying to keep up the morale and support of the locals while they are being heavily bombed by both the Germans and the Italians. To complicate matters, his friend, a British doctor, shows him a body of a "sherry queen" (danc...more
Liz Nutting
After finishing Unbroken and Operation Mincemeat, I was definitely in the mood for a good, WWII-era spy thriller. The Information Officer filled the bill, although it was more murder mystery than spy thriller. Toss in an exotic locale and if I could, I'd really give this 3.5 stars.

The Information Officer is set on Malta in 1942. The strategic importance of Malta to the Allies and the role it played in helping to win the war is a little piece of lost history that this book uncovers. Major Max Ch...more
Betsy

This was my first experience with an Advance Reader Copy of a book, and I’m happy to say it was a good one! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I’m now looking forward to picking up some of the author’s other works.

Thoughts on The Information Officer:
I’m not a WWII buff, and I don’t go looking for books or movies set during the war, but this sounded like an interesting story because I knew nothing about Malta’s role in WWII. While I realize liberties were taken with the accuracy of war-time life...more
Laura
Dec 01, 2009 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Set in Malta during WWII, this book covers the British occupation (if that's the correct word, I think Malta was part of the Commonwealth then) and the Maltese reaction to it. Although, it's really more about Max, an army officer who is investigating the murders of some local girls which seem to have been committed by another Brit. Golly.

The level of historical detail included was fascinating, I knew nothing about Malta's part in the war and was interested to learn what an important role it pla...more
Paul Pessolano
There are some books that cannot be classified and I believe that "The Information Officer" is one of them. Yes, the book is a mystery, but it also could be classified as a romance novel or historical fiction. It is so well written it could also be classified as fiction/literature.

To really appreciate this novel the reader should have some knowledge of the island of Malta, its people, and the important part that the island played in the Second World War.

Some facts;

The Maltese have a tradition of...more
Moray Barclay
Although a crime novel, this is primarily a book about Second World War Malta. The complex co-existence between the British servicemen and the civilian Maltese is captured perfectly. While the British elite eat canapés and drink fine wine, bombs drop on the people of Valetta and beyond. The mother of a murdered local girl screams at her husband for allowing the British Information Officer (or PR manager) Max Chadwick into their house.



Max is there because he has decided to solve the murder myster...more
Susie
Not a huge fan of this one. The description lead me to believe it would be a whodoneit set in Malta during WWII, and it was, but it was far less a mystery than a book about a British war spin doctor's exploits over the course of a week or so.

Yes, there is a string of murders Max and his buddies set out to solve before a sub ships out. And yes, that mystery gets solved at the very end. I don't know how things suddenly clicked for Max. I certainly missed all the clues.

I didn't mind the large porti...more
Winifred
It’s a murder mystery, a love story and a historic novel all rolled into one. The first and last chapters are set one evening in a London restaurant in 1951 but the main story evolves over 9 days in Malta in the summer of 1942, at the height of the terrible German and Italian bombing raids.

The story plays out against the background of Malta, the island fortress providing extensive information about its geography and history. It is well written and researched with maps to help you identify the sc...more
Rob Kitchin
The Information Officer has too much show and not enough tell for my tastes. There is a lot of backstory and details on the history of Malta during the Second World War, all of which was fascinating stuff, but it needed to come out through the story rather than consisting of pages of context. And I never really warmed to the central characters with the exception of Elliot (an American agent), Mitzi (the submariner's wife) and Busuttil (a local detective). My big issue, however, was plot, which t...more
Dorothy
What an annoying book this is! The story is muddled. The characters are often just dropped in and never explained. (What purpose does the new member of the Information Office named Pemberton serve in this tale? None, as far as I can see.)

Okay, the story, briefly, is this: In Malta in the summer of 1942, the war effort teeters on the brink of failure. British Information Officer Max Chadwick is the person charged with manipulating the news to keep up the spirit of the inhabitants of the island. T...more
Brad Hodges
The Information Officer is a novel by Mark Mills set in Malta during World War II, which immediately gives it an exotic quality that grabs the reader. I didn't know, for instance, that Malta was the most heavily bombed spot during the entire war.

The book is a hybrid between a war story and a murder mystery. Young girls, called "sherry queens" for their frequenting of bars, are turning up murdered. When one has the bars ripped from a British submariner's uniform clutched in her hand, the local in...more
Jean
I ran across a review of this book and a discussion by Mark Mills of how he found out about Malta during WW II. You can read about it on YouTube.
Seems Malta was the sole Allied outpost in the Mediterranean during WW II, and it endured bombing much worse than that suffered by England during that time. Malta was still a British colony.
The story centers on Max Chadwick, a British information officer who discovers the murder of a Maltese girl, who dies clutching a scrap of fabric from the uniform...more
Stewart
"The Information Officer" was one of the better novels I've read in recent years. It was a page-turner that combined history, a murder mystery, and a good cast of characters (British, Maltese, and American; men and women; soldiers and civilians).
The novel takes place in Malta in May-June 1942 as the island, a British possession in the Mediterranean, was being bombarded by German and Italian bombers and fighters from Italy. An invasion is imminent. Max Chadwick, a British officer heading the In...more
DR
From 1940 to ’42, the minuscule island of Malta, located in a strategically vital spot of the Mediterranean Sea, played out a miniature version of the Battle of Britain. German and Italian air fleets flew a total of 3,000 bombing raids over Malta during a two-year period. Although a commander as brilliant as Field Marshal Erwin Rommel warned that “Without Malta the Axis will end by losing control of North Africa,” an invasion was never attempted. Instead, the Axis partners resolved to bomb, bloc...more
Karen
How to describe this book.... a serial killer, romance, espionage, WWII thriller with a decent amount of sex thrown in. For me, the most interesting thing about this book was the setting -- Malta during WWII. I've heard of Malta before and could identify it on the map, but beyond that, I really didn't know much about it. I had no idea who controlled Malta during WWII (the British), if it was strategically important (it was, a refueling spot for launching campaigns against Rommel in Africa and fo...more
Sandra
O livro começa com um episódio a ocorrer no futuro e toda a situação parece estranha e deslocada do resto do livro. Aqui, logo nas primeiras páginas, começa a ilusão do leitor. Porque tudo está ligado, tudo tem sentido, tudo tem a sua lógica.

Quase todo o livro decorre em 1942, aquando da invasão Nazi pela Europa e África. Nessa altura, a pequena ilha de Malta pertencia à Grã-Bretanha e por estar localizada no meio do Mediterrâneo, como ponto de união entre o que Hitler queria que fosse do seu do...more
Nadine
Mark Mills writes very atmospheric, historical mysteries. This one is set on Malta during WWII. The Axis are bombing the island daily, as it is the gateway to North Africa from Europe. The small, ill equipped British military presence is doing its best to defend the island. There's a small British community that socializes, and an Information Officer, whose duty it is to spin the news so that everyone keeps that proverbial chin up.

Unfortunately, local girls go missing, and are then found dead. T...more
Djrmel
Too many genres can spoil a good story, and this book comes dangerously close to proving that point. Its strength as a historical novel, set in the much under appreciated Malta during WWII, saves it from being a rather weak mystery/thriller. Mills does a decent job of making his setting a character, putting the reader next to the characters as they go about the business of staying alive while the Germans are trying to remove them from the island, if not the face of the earth. It's good that he's...more
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Mark Mills is a British writer of screenplays and novels. His first screenplay was BAFTA-nominated short film One Night Stand starring Jemma Redgrave and James Purefoy in 1993; this won Mills a 'Best Screenplay' award at the Angers European First Film Festival in 1995.
Mills's first novel was Amagansett, later reissued under the title The Whaleboat House published in 2004; this won him the 'Best Cr...more
More about Mark Mills...
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“He dusted off the shoulder tab and stared at it, so light in his hand, so inconsequential. It was hard to believe that a shred of cloth could have so much destructive power locked away in it.” 0 likes
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