Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Passport To Peril” as Want to Read:
Passport To Peril
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Passport To Peril (Hard Case Crime #057)

3.4  ·  Rating details ·  277 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews

Decades before Robert Brown Parker began writing his books about Spenser, a man named Robert Bogardus Parker (1905-1955) penned this extraordinary novel of post-war intrigue.  

From the corridors and compartments of the Orient Express to the shadowy, ruined streets of Budapest – which he saw firsthand as a foreign correspondent during World Wa
ebook, 256 pages
Published March 29th 2011 by Hard Case Crime (first published July 1st 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Passport To Peril, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Passport To Peril

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Dan Schwent
John Stodder, an American reporter, goes to Hungary with a forged passport to look for his brother who disappeared after a bombing run in WWII. Only the passport Stodder received wasn't forged. It was that of a murdered man. And Stodder just happens to run into the murdered man's secretary on the Orient Express. In her possession is a mysterious Manila envelope that belonged to the dead man. Stodder's trip to Hungary to look for his brother goes way off course as both the Russians and the German ...more
Mar 08, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good reprint title from the Hard Case Crime line. First off, the author is NOT the Robert B. Parker who writes the Boston P.I. Spenser series.

This author is Robert Bogardus Parker, Jr. who, as his daughter explains in the Afterword, was a newspaperman dying of a heart attack in 1955 at age 50.

PASSPORT TO PERIL starts off on the Orient Express and takes place in Budapest behind the Iron Curtain. The MacGuffin is a manilla envelope of names that everybody wants. Vivid setting, hardboiled c
Maybe 1.5 stars. I didn't completely suck, but it failed on most fronts. First, it's a cold war spy novel set in Europe, not what I expect from HCC. Second, it had far too many serendipitous actions. (view spoiler)

I never connected with any of the charac
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hard-case-crime
With so many Hard Case Crime books in print now, I guess sooner or later I was bound to be disappointed by one. Which is not to say "Passport to Peril" is a bad book. On the contrary, it was enjoyable. It just doesn't stack up to the other books in the series that I've read.

This is another of Hard Case's "finds from the vault," so to speak, a spy thriller that has been out of print for more than 50 years. I'm glad HCC brought it back in print, and I honestly hope they'll bring Parker's other spy
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
SETTING: 1950s Hungary
RATING: 3.25
WHY: This book was written in 1951 by the "original" Robert B. Parker; the more well-known RBP published the first book in the Spenser series in 1973. John Stodder is an American traveling to Hungary trying to find his brother using the passport of a man named Marcus Blaye, who it turns out was murdered. He meets Blaye's secretary, Maria Torres, on the train and soon finds out that Blaye was much more than a Swiss watchmaker. The Russian
Jul 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcase
Fast read involving post WWII espionage behind the iron curtain (so don't expect a standard hard case story here), but not without flaws, such as an abrupt and summarized ending that is woefully unsatisfying. In addition the first chapter didn't grab me straightaway but the bulk of the book kept me going.
Aug 04, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Laaaame. Maybe Hard Case is cutting back because they can't find enough quality pulp. No shame in that, and better six books a year than this. Bleah. Scheming Nazi who says "ve have vays of making you talk." Instant love between hero and girl. Predictable plot twists. Sometimes a book deserves to stay forgotten.
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: espionage
Not to be confused with THE Robert B. Parker of 'Spenser' renown; this is Robert Bogardus Parker (1905-1955), a war correspondent.
Sharon Chase
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Found this a very slow story and I took a long time to get through it as my interest waned. The plot is based after WW2 and the struggle still was on between Russia and Germany, the UK and America as spies and murder take place in Budapest It is a short read but it was story that could have and likely was based on true happenings,
May 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
stupid and pointless. don't waste your time.
Stephen Burridge
Fast-paced suspense story, apparently well-informed as to its postwar Budapest setting. However the characters are just plot counters and I found the plot itself confusing.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Passport to Peril was one of three spy novels written by Robert Bogadus Parker Jr., the original Robert Parker. He was, as his daughter explains in an afterward, "first and foremost a newspaper man." He was a war correspondent and reported from the front lines throughout World War 2. He also worked extensively with the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA, particularly in Budapest.
This story takes place shortly after the war ended and after Eastern Europe was overrun by the Soviets. The narrator of th
This is a fine thriller of post-war intrigue, reputed to be one of the first Cold War thrillers. The story itself is well constructed, involving American John Stodder finding that the passport and Orient Express ticket he purchased under-the-table was from a murdered man, as revealed to him by the dead man’s secretary, a woman named Maria Torres. Stuck with the rotten identity, Stodder has to uncover the secret of why the man was murdered before the same fate befalls him. On the run behind the I ...more
Nov 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm surprised by the generally lukewarm response this book has gotten. Personally, I thought it was a blast! Not only do you get 250 pages of globe-trotting adventure, but the suspense seldom lets up from beginning to end.
Perhaps some of the poor reviews are due to the manner in which the book was re-released. Obviously, a bunch of Robert B. Parker fans picked this up not realizing it was written by a DIFFERENT Robert B. Parker that virtually no one has ever heard of. And I'm sure a lot of regul
Bruce Snell
I got this book because the author is Robert B. Parker, and since I had read everything that Parker had written (The Spenser series, Jesse Stone, and all the rest) I decided to read this one too. Turns out that this book was written by a completely different Robert B. Parker - Robert Bogardus Parker. In addition to this book Robert Bogardus Parker also wrote another spy story, Ticket to Oblivion, and then died young.

The story is set shortly after the end of WWII and John Stoddard is taking the O
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an old reprint of a 1951 Cold War thriller. It tells the story of John Stodder who with a fake passport tries to enter into post WWII Budapest to find out what happened to his deceased brother, and take revenge. What happens is the fake passport he bought happens to be a real passport of a man who was killed that very same day, and this man had an envelope of names that the Russians, the Americans, and the Germans are all looking for.

So John gets drawn in as he is originally mistaken for
Dec 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spies
John Stoddard is traveling from Vienna to Budapest just after WW II to see if he can locate his brother, a navigator in a plane that was forced down after it ran out of fuel, calculations for which John had been responsible. Unable to obtain a visa from the Russians, John pays for a forged passport and visa only to discover on the train that a young woman thinks he is someone else and he has the passport of a man wanted by several governments because of some information he has and who was killed ...more
Aug 09, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Could not finish, just could not hold my interest. Have liked many other HCC selections in the past.
Grady McCallie
It's not a very good thriller, but it is fast and straightforward, and I found it easy to 'watch' the book as a stylish black and white film inside my head as I read. The characters have no depth; the hero has some great language skills but is otherwise hapless. The plot has plenty of twists, but the author knows only one way to explain them, and that's by having the narrator do it directly - no slow reveals, no artful signals that you pick up only by paying attention. One aspect of the book doe ...more
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After a gripping opening sentence…

It wasn’t until the Orient Express was nearing the Hungarian frontier, about two hours out of Vienna, that I found I was traveling on the passport of a murdered man.

…the book turned out to be a disappointment. The author (not the Robert B(rown) Parker, of the Spenser private eye novels, but Robert B(ogardus) Parker) was a news correspondent in the Eastern Bloc after WWII and does a nice job of creating an atmospheric post-war Budapest. But the much of the plot s
Ian Racey
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really wish I'd been writing in the 40s or 50s. This is the sort of stuff I'd be so good at. An American journalist sneaks into Iron-Curtain Hungary on a forged Swiss passport, only to find out that his passport wasn't forged, but instead was stolen from the body of a man who was murdered last night, and that he's now sitting next to the murdered man's secretary on the Orient Express. Soon he's on the run from a psychotic Nazi true believer and the Red Army, who are competing with each other t ...more
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Passport to Peril by Robert B Parker is a fast paced and reasonably early Cold War thriller. Set about five years after the war in occupied Austria and Hungry, the hero outwits the Soviet Russians and underground Nazis in the hunt for a Manilla envelope. Although we know what -- lists of names and addresses -- is in the envelope, we never get to know what the contents really are or what they mean. But, that's OK. It's a McGuffin -- a prop simply to justify the chase. Passport to Peril is mostly ...more
Sandra Kasturi
No, not THAT Robert B. Parker. This is a totally different guy. This is a Cold War espionage novel, and of its time. As such, it's sort of charming! Oh, those pesky Soviets! The Berlin Wall! It all seems sort of...quaint and charming now, given the climate of our own time. Which sounds kind of superior, doesn't it? Yes, WE'RE the generation that has it the worst. I'm rolling my eyes at myself, now.

But yeah...this book. A fun read!
Mar 14, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

march 2011
th is a "hard cse crime novel" in paperback.
On the jacket, it says
the original
Robert B. Parker.
there are two robert b parkers.
who knew.
this one lived 1905-1955.
it is set behind the iron curtain.
quite dated but, so far, i like it.
i recommend it for the noir book it is.
farfetched plot and premise of falling in love in 24 hours.

John Pringle
Oct 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This classic post-WWII espionage thriller is a fun read. Has all the right ingredients and rips along at a breakneck pace. Shame the author didn’t write more than just three books. As it’s difficult to find information on this author, the afterword by the author’s daughter is a blessing. I hope Hard Case Crime also publishes Ticket to Oblivion.
Jeanette Scrimshaw
Thought this book was by the Robert B. Parker whose books I enjoy. Not so. Very disappointed. Book was silly. Plot,characters and actions all over the top and unbelieveable. Must be more careful in future when choosing books.
Robert Bogardus parker, not to be confused with Spenser's or Jesse Stone's Robert Brown Parker. A Cold war thriller that will resonate with those who lived through the period. A good spy thriller by a largely forgotten author.
Oct 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great title and a dated cold war thriller with a WWII vet looking for his brother, another former soldier, in Hungary thrown in amongst Russians, Nazi sympathizers, mysterious countesses, gypsies and U.S. spies fighting over a manila envelope.
Gary Sedivy
Thot this was written by R. B. Parker (Spenser novels), but it appears it was by his father, who had been a WWII correspondent. Not a great read; reminded me of G. Greene's "The Third Man", being a post-WWII recovery period.
Jun 27, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is sometimes an interesting period piece, and the author did have experience as a reporter who spent time in midst of post-WW2 divisions of spoils in Europe. But overall not one of my favorite Hard Case titles. Perhaps I should have given it 2.49 stars, or maybe 2.51.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Honey in his Mouth (Hard Case Crime, #60)
  • Baby Moll (Hard Case Crime #46)
  • Kill Now, Pay Later (Ben Gates #3)
  • Blackmailer (Hard Case Crime #32)
  • Shooting Star / Spiderweb (Hard Case Crime #42)
  • House Dick (Hard Case Crime #54)
  • The Corpse Wore Pasties (Hard Case Crime, #62)
  • Stop This Man! (Hard Case Crime #58)
  • Gun Work (Hard Case Crime #49)
  • No House Limit (Hard Case Crime #45)
  • Losers Live Longer (Hard Case Crime #59)
  • Fifty-to-One (Hard Case Crime #50)
  • Robbie's Wife (Hard Case Crime #29)
  • The Murderer Vine (Hard Case Crime #43)
  • Fright (Hard Case Crime #34)
  • Dutch Uncle (Hard Case Crime #12)
  • Killing Castro (Hard Case Crime #51)
  • Fake I.D. (Hard Case Crime #56)
Robert Bogardus Parker, (1905-1955) not to be confused with Robert B. Parker (1932-2010). A lifelong newspaper man, the elder Parker reported from behind enemy lines during World War II, bringing home news from Germany, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and Japan. He was also an agent for the OSS—the precursor to the CIA—and had a hand in freeing Jewish prisoners in Europe and carrying out communications ac ...more
More about Robert B. Parker...

Other Books in the Series

Hard Case Crime (1 - 10 of 112 books)
  • Grifter's Game (Hard Case Crime #1)
  • Fade to Blonde (Hard Case Crime #2)
  • Top of The Heap (Cool and Lamb #13)
  • Little Girl Lost (John Blank #1)
  • Two for the Money  (Hard Case Crime #5)
  • The Confession (Hard Case Crime #6)
  • Home Is the Sailor (Hard Case Crime #7)
  • Kiss Her Goodbye (Hard Case Crime #8)
  • 361 (Hard Case Crime #9)
  • Plunder of the Sun (Al Colby #2)