Edward Logan is a stuffy, predictable, highly respectable businessman. His manservant says you can set your watch by him and he always knows what to eEdward Logan is a stuffy, predictable, highly respectable businessman. His manservant says you can set your watch by him and he always knows what to expect from Mr. Logan. But then, on the day Edward decides he's been a fool over a young woman and, on the advice of his lawyer, goes to ask for his letters back and to tell her good-bye, he becomes impulsive.
EL: I've been a fool...what are you laughing at? F: I thought you were going to say that. There is a faintly sheepish aspect about you this afternoon which is immediately recognizable to any experienced solicitor. It is almost invariable accompanied by the form of words you have just uttered. Or some equivalent synonym. (Edward Logan, Fenchurch; p. 12)
She is not at home when he arrives at her apartment, but her door is unlocked so he walks on in. He finds a note which asks someone (quite probably the suspected other man in the case) to wait as she'll be right back. As he stands looking out the window and tries to decide what to do, he sees a man walking purposefully towards the apartment. When the man comes into the building and his footsteps can be heard on the stairway, Logan is again impulsive and dashes into a closet.
His suspicions about Betty Alton's relationship to the man are put to rest when she arrives home to find her brother (!) in her apartment. But Logan has barely breathed a sigh of relief before Stephen Alton reveals that he's managed to get his hands on some top secret plans, is attempting to avoid the authorities, and wants to sell the plans back to the Russians. And then the Russians show up--demanding the plans and searching the apartment and the occupants for their precious secrets with no success. The Russian spies are quite amused to find a secret lover hidden in the closet and they appear to discard Logan as a prime player in their particular drama. They exit with Alton and Logan runs away from the scene.
He becomes convinced that it might be a practical idea to leave London for a bit...just in case the Russians don't find what they're looking for and decide that he might have it. So he arranges with Greene, his manservant, for his bags to be packed and tickets to be bought for an unexpected trip to France. He then calls his twin brother Laurence, who lives in Paris, and asks him to meet him at the Gare du Nord and put him up in a hotel for a bit.
Laurence is baffled by the odd request. Every time his brother has visited, it has been arranged long in advance, down to the last detail. His brother never does anything on the spur of the moment. Edward is very mysterious and will only tell him that it's a matter of life and death and that all will be explained when he sees Laurence. Laurence's bewilderment increases when he arrives at the station late to find an almost empty train and no sign of his brother. He heads to Edward's compartment and finds his luggage, passport, tickets, and hotel reservations laid out for custom inspection but Edward has vanished without a trace! Before he can decide what to do, the conductor comes and addresses him as Mr. Edward Logan.
Certain signs among his brother's things (items out of place, slits in the lining of the suitcases) and his brother's ominous statement cause Laurence to be a little impulsive himself. He assumes his brother's identity, determined to discover what happened to the normally unadventurous Edward...and avenge him if necessary. Laurence was a member of the French Foreign Legion and the French Resistance during the war so he has no problem with a little adventure. He just wishes he knew what it was all about.
Enter Tommy Hambleton and Inspector Bagshott. Hambleton is attached to the Foreign Office and interested in the fate of a certain German doctor, known to have been carrying secret plans for a device that could play havoc with enemy troops. Bagshott is with Scotland Yard and wants to know who had it in for Stephen Alton. He also knows that Herr Muntz disappeared overboard while on a Mr. Stephen Alton's ship and the papers may or may not have gone over the side as well.
Muntz--let's call him that--was carrying a briefcase containing papers which he said were worth vast sums to the Russians and when the British Government saw them they would dance ring-o'-roses round Nelson's Column. So said the second engineer. (Bagshott; p. 55)
Hambleton gets on the track of a trio of Russians and follows the trail to France while Bagshott investigates in England. Things really get interesting as Laurence, the Russians, and Hambleton all race to find each other and the missing plans.
This is another fun outing by Manning Coles, the neighborly writing duo of Adelaide Frances Oke Manning and Cyril Henry Coles. Spy thrillers aren't my usual fare, but this particular series is breezy, witty, and humorous. There are more coincidences and unlikely events than you can shake a stick at--but you don't care, dead bodies accumulate at an alarming rate, and there is, of course, no real mystery about who did what to whom, but it's a rollicking good yarn. The only real mystery is what did Alton do with those darn plans?
New Orleans Requiem is one of several re-releases of Donaldson's books by Astor + Blue Editions. Originally published in the late 80s and early 90s, tNew Orleans Requiem is one of several re-releases of Donaldson's books by Astor + Blue Editions. Originally published in the late 80s and early 90s, the heroes of Donaldson's stories have no cell phones, only beepers, and the presenters at the forensics meeting use actual slide shows instead of Power Point presentations. So, we all get to go for a short time travel trip to a time when one cut phone line can mean life or death for one of the characters. The story itself, however, doesn't feel dated at all.
Serial killers and high-suspense thrillers are, generally speaking, not my cup of tea. But the description of Broussard and Kit put me in mind of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin and the scrabble tile clues made for a nice hook to draw me in. It also helps that this is more a blend of police procedural/forensic investigation than a straight-up serial killer fest. I thoroughly enjoyed Broussard and Kit and the way their skills complement each other. Kit regards Broussard as a mentor as well as a colleague and so often feels like she isn't quite measuring up, but without her skills and input there is little chance that he would arrive at the correct solution.
A fast-paced thriller with much of the classic whodunnit. There is a really nice twist at the end and the final reveal came as a big surprise. Enjoyable read for thriller, police procedural, and whodunnit fans alike. [First posted at My Reader's Block.]
[Disclaimer: My review policy is posted on my blog My Reader's Block, but just to reiterate....The book was offered to me for impartial review and I have received no payment of any kind. All comments are entirely my own honest opinion.] ...more
For years leading up to December 21, 2012, people were getting their end-of-the-world mojo on. It seemed like everywhere you looked someone was puttinFor years leading up to December 21, 2012, people were getting their end-of-the-world mojo on. It seemed like everywhere you looked someone was putting out a book taking advantage of the reading public's interest in the supposed doomsday predicted by the ancient Mayan calendar. I read a few myself just to see what was up. I missed 12.21 by Dustin Thomason (Aug. 2012). That's not too shocking given the fact that I'm not, generally speaking, all that into thrillers--particularly medical thrillers. In fact--without scanning through my books read list--I believe the last medical thriller I read was Coma by Robin Cook....in the 80s. But you know how I am with challenges...I can't resist them. So, when Shellyrae at Book'ed Out called for a medical thriller in her Eclectic Reader Challenge and the Goodreads Literary Exploration Challenge also called for a thriller, I couldn't say no.
And the premise for 12.21 grabbed me when I went hunting in the library website for a medical thriller that I thought might do ('cause I just don't have those hanging about the house...).
Lots of interesting historical tie-ins which Thomason uses to put a twist on the usual Mayan end-of-the-world thing (shifting of the poles, great earthquakes, and all those other climatic earth-related disasters). I really enjoyed learning about the Mayans through the ancient codes. The plot line itself is good--believable and a bit scary if prions really could turn that dangerous. It is a fast-moving, quick read that I enjoyed on a a lot of levels. However, like several others on Goodreads, I did find it a bit difficult to connect with the characters. I just never got invested in most of them as people and the one character that I found the most intriguing (and I can't tell you why without a spoiler) winds up dying. Ain't that always the way? Overall--a darn good read for something so far out of my comfort zone. (Three & 1/2 stars, actually)
On the face of it John le Carré's Call for the Dead is so not my kind of book. I'm not attracted to espionage novels as a rule. The descriptions of GeOn the face of it John le Carré's Call for the Dead is so not my kind of book. I'm not attracted to espionage novels as a rule. The descriptions of George Smiley
Short, fat, and of a quiet disposition, he appeared to spend a lot of money on really bad clothes, which hung about his squat frame like skin on a shrunken toad. Sawley, in fact, declared at the wedding that 'Sercomb was mated to a bullfrog in a sou'wester'. And Smiley, unaware of this description, had waddled down the aisle in search of the kiss that would turn him into a Prince.
don't exactly inspire great confidence or admiration in those of us whose primary connection with British espionage novels revolves around a man whose name is "Bond. James Bond." Do spies actually waddle? [And, if they do, shouldn't they be described as ducks and not toads? But I digress....]
On the other hand, this is some book. It introduces le Carré's most famous character, the quite ugly, unfashionable Smiley. Smiley is an intelligence officer who works for "the Circus," Britain's overseas intelligence agency. He had been quite good during World War II, but since the war ended he has fallen a bit from grace and works in a somewhat menial job which includes doing security clearance on civil servants. He is sent on a routine interview to check out an anonymous tip on one Samuel Fennan. Smiley thinks it just "busy work" and reassures the man that the agency has no quarrel with him and that there will be no repercussions.
He is shocked, therefore, to be told the next day that Fennan has apparently committed suicide. When Maston, Smiley's talentless boss (a civil-service bureaucrat who is the current head of service), sends him to do a quick investigation--purely to tidy the file and mark it closed, Smiley finds the situation is not as simple as Maston would like. There's the matter of the "wake-up" call arranged by Fennan, the lies Fennan's wife tells, and the letter Smiley receives from the dead man. Smiley quickly decides that Fennan has been murdered and resigns from the service when Maston orders him to drop the investigation. With the help of a retired policeman and one of his former colleagues, Smiley finds evidence of East German spies at work....and an old friend at the bottom of it all. But someone is determined to take Smiley out of the game for good. The first try misfires....will Smiley be so lucky after that?
After a beginning that had me wondering if I wanted to finish the book, le Carré reeled me in with his descriptive story-telling. A "toad"-like man may not have been my ideal spy when I began, but I was completely convinced of his abilities and his reality by the end. The picture of post-war Britain that le Carré paints is brilliantly rendered--I looked up from my book in the final chapters fully expecting to see the fog swirling round me and to hear the river traffic below the bridge. The story itself reads less like a spy-thriller to me than a more traditional mystery. Smiley is following up clues in the best Scotland Yard fashion. I absolutely will be on the look-out for copies of the other Smiley books.