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The Venetian Affair

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  745 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
A game of espionage ...

Fenner burned Rosenfeld's message, reminding himself wryly that he was behaving in the very best tradition. This was a game not too difficult to learn, he thought. A game? A game in deadly earnest. A vacation in Venice that was grim business. A girl constantly beside him who wasn't his. How the hell had he walked into this upside-down world? Where, h
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 12th 1985 by Fawcett (first published 1963)
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Jeff Crosby
I was very pleased when the Helen MacInnes novels began to appear as ebooks in 2013. I marked over half of them as books I wanted to re-read.

I discovered Helen MacInnes when I read the paperback of Snare of the Hunter in 1975, and I was hooked. Reading at least seven more of her novels that year, including The Venetian Affair.

I needed something different this weekend, and found Venetian Affair in my Kindle stash. So here I am, 40 year later, reading one of my favorite espionage authors. I had fo
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another well written book about how well the enemies of freedom skillfully work at undermining the peoples' trust in the American government and principles which we have historically held to among our own people and the world. They do not care for truth, they do not care for freedom, and they hold no regard at all for the lives of anyone except themselves.
Even though this was written in the early 1960s, I feel the ideas about manipulating public opinion through carefully manufactured "evidence"
Dec 03, 2015 added it
Shelves: adult, 2015
This is a re-read from high school. Our Mom read all of MacInnes and so did I. So sexist and so long... but modern for the time. The female spy was strong until she fell in love.
Though the sentence structure is bulky, it is familiar and comfortable at the same time. I was surprised at the random shift in POV throughout, and also surprised that it worked as well as it did. It was very interesting to read this again. Made me miss my Mom and all the books she read and shared.
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Venetian Affair begins with a secret meeting between two men plotting, and then shifts to the main character, an American journalist, who gets involved with the spies by accident, but becomes more deeply committed as the story unfolds. Fenner has an interesting back story, with a troublesome ex-wife. Eager to put the past behind him and concentrate on the graceful, grey-eyed girl with the white gloves that he keeps encountering, Fenner nevertheless keeps finding himself being set up with peo ...more
Feb 25, 2012 rated it liked it
There is no synopsis online for this book…it was published in 1963. I’ve also owned it for a while (but not since 1963). I think I picked it up at a local library about 5 years ago. It was on the sidewalk in a box full of books marked FREE. What can I say?...I’m a sucker for free books.
Basically this is a government espionage story set in during the Cold War with a little romance thrown in.
It took me a couple of chapters to get into it. However, once I got into it, I read it in three days. Okay,
Trish Perkins
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I don't think it is dated. It is a book about a different time in history. A historical spy novel and a well-done one at that. I got into it and couldn't stop. It is brilliantly plotted, human, and makes one wish for a time when we were still the good guys.
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
This makes an amazing starting place for the shamefully overlooked novels of a terrific writer.
Nov 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
Another solid spy thriller from Helen MacInnes. I always feel like she should be more known today, since her books hold up better than you'd perhaps expect.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spy-adventures
3.5 stars
Frank Hancock
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

An outstanding Cold War novel situated in Paris and Venice! Makes one yearn for the good old days of East versus West.
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense
I seem to be in the mood for cloak-and-dagger type fiction these days, as I seem to be on a MacInnes kick!

This book moved faster than the others I have read (so far) by this author (in fact, I read "The Venetian Affair" in two days).

Bill Fenner is a journalist sent to Paris to review and write some articles on French theater and the arts.

"The man across the aisle seemed adept at air travel, after all. He was already secure in his safety belt, and was setting his watch forward. He certainly wasn
Helen MacInness wrote a number of espionage novels during her career. The enemy changed according to the times. During the Cold War the Communists are clearly the bad guys and anyone who listens to them are dupes. Her books from the 1940s had the Nazis as the villains and her books from the 1970s used terrorists.
I have held onto my paperback copies of a lot of her books and re-read them periodically, because the plot and the action hold my attention even when I'm cringing at the McCarthyite tone
Time for some fast paced Cold War-travelogue-romance fiction! MacInnes gives us enough interior landscape of the characters - their inner dialogue with themselves - to make the people sympathetic to us. The extremely thorough descriptions of Venice were a little too thorough - every canal and alley and crumbling building! It did, however, bring back memories of a brief and unpleasant visit I made to Venice, once, which made the setting all the more threatening. The Cold War plot, written by a wo ...more
Sep 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am so glad that Helen MacInnes' books are being reprinted. I remember sharing these espionage novels with my father in my teenage years.
An American journalist accidentally becomes involved in espionage when he collects the wrong coat at the airport. As the story progresses, he becomes more committed to his role. There is a beautiful woman who keeps crossing his path, a troublesome ex-wife, and of course, Venice. I loved the sense of place.
MacInnes' novels are somewhat dated and yet this one f
Geo Forman
Feb 20, 2010 rated it liked it
after two recommendations of Helen Macinnes in one week, how could I not pick up one of her books?
Aug 19, 2007 added it
Shelves: just-finished
So cheesy! I read it at the beach. One character actually thinks about another one, "You're as pretty a piece of honey cake as I've ever seen." Honey cake!
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
You will find this one somewhat dated, but it was an excellent thriller/mystery. Helen MacInnes was an author who could really keep the suspense going, without vicarious violence.
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
from a friend; dated - espionage. still, it was interesting to see the cold war from a European perspective.
Jan 31, 2016 rated it did not like it
Don't bother finishing
Jul 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Meh. Read most of it, but didn't finish.
Dec 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Solid "analog" spy novel, set and written in 1963; occasionally a bit mechanical but brisk, slick, and authoritative.
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
her books are fast paced, suspenseful and packed with European scenery; at the same time, they are a bit formulaic and with some romantic sappiness
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Took me a while to get into then I was hooked.
Oct 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Loved this political thriller. More thought, less action than the usual. Also intriguing since written before the cuban missile crisis, etc.
Mar 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
re-read 6/17/2010
Aug 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spies
Always enjoy MacInnes. Just enough romance. but mainly a Cold War spy story - with one of her fascinating settings
Aug 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I discovered Helen MacInnes many years ago. I am so glad that I rediscovered her books on the shelf at my local public library.
rated it liked it
Sep 17, 2011
Jaque Schmidt
rated it it was amazing
Dec 11, 2015
rated it liked it
Aug 07, 2012
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Helen MacInnes was a Scottish-American author of espionage novels. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in Scotland in 1928 with a degree in French and German. A librarian, she married Professor Gilbert Highet in 1932 and moved with her husband to New York in 1937 so he could teach classics at Columbia University. She wrote her first novel, Above Suspicion, in 1939. She wrote many bestsell ...more
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