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

The Tears Of Autumn

(Paul Christopher #2)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,641 ratings  ·  158 reviews
Paul Christopher, at the height of his powers as a secret agent, believes he knows who arranged the assassination and why. His theory is so destructive of the legend of the dead president, though, and so dangerous to the survival of foreign policy that he is ordered to desist from investigating. But Christopher is a man who lives by and for the truth, and his internal ...more
Hardcover, First Edition (U.S.), 276 pages
Published December 1st 1974 by The Saturday Review Press/E.P. Dutton & Co., Inc.
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 The Tears Of Autumn, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Dorothy Nortz It's always good to start at the beginning as then you know the characters and the "whys and wherefore". With some authors it is ok to read certain…moreIt's always good to start at the beginning as then you know the characters and the "whys and wherefore". With some authors it is ok to read certain books out of order; sometimes with older novels, it's difficult to locate some of the books.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,641 ratings  ·  158 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Tears Of Autumn
Jeffrey Keeten
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
”There are dogs and kids, great books and great paintings and good music all over the White House,” he said. “It’s human again, the way it must have been under Franklin Roosevelt.”

 photo KennedyandJackie_zps248aef72.jpg

The power of John F. Kennedy didn’t just rest in his Hollywood good looks, or his youthful vibrancy or his beautiful wife or his inspiring speeches, but that he exuded this idea that anything seemed possible. Even something as crazy as landing an American on the moon. He was tougher than he looked. During the Cuban
Dec 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Jeffrey Keeten
McGarry is growing on me as nearly as worthy as le Carre and Deighton for enthralling espionage tales set during the Cold War. In this second in the series, CIA spy Paul Christopher comes to suspect that the assassination of JFK was masterminded by a Vietnamese faction in retaliation for the American’s facilitation of the coup associated with the assassination of the dictator Diem a few weeks earlier on November 2, 1963, which put in place a more pliable dictator for America’s global war against ...more
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tears of Autumn is a ripping yarn! In less than 300 paperback pages, Charles McCarry reveals - via the CIA super-spy hero, Paul Christopher - that almost everyone you can think of as likely candidates for killing President John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963 was in some way involved. But - and it's a big BUT - there is absolutely no evidence to show that any American intelligence agency of any kind was in any way involved in this conspiracy. Despite the subject, McCarry writes very prettily, ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
While I didn't enjoy reading this book as much as The Miernik Dossier, this one introduces us more to the central character of Paul Christopher (and his women.. and his poetry.) Set in Vietnam and Thailand (and parts of Africa, Europe, and the USA!) right around the assassination of JFK, it was a different angle of those events. I am really loving these 1970s spy novels, right up my alley.
Nancy Oakes
Oct 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spy-fiction, favorite
I listened to, rather than read this book and it was so good that I rushed out and bought The Miernik Dossier (the first of the Paul Christopher series) and have plans to read each and every book in the series. What intrigued me was yet another JFK assassination theory. I'm not a conspiracy theory nut, but I am interested, and never did believe in either the single-bullet theory nor that of the lone gunman. And as much as I loved Oliver Stone's JFK, well, let's just say that it was a lot of ...more
"THE TEARS OF AUTUMN" is a compelling, well-crafted novel centered on Paul Christopher, a CIA Special Agent who has served in the Agency since the 1950s. When the story begins, it is October 1963 and Christopher is involved in deep cover work in South Vietnam. Weeks later, in the aftermath of President Kennedy's assassination, Christopher leaves the CIA and, on his own, armed only with his skills, a facility for languages, and a theory as to who killed Kennedy and why, pursues leads from Saigon, ...more
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a really excellent spy thriller. At the beginning of the book, President Kennedy is assassinated, and an American spy, Paul Christopher, immediately knows who and why ordered the killing.

The rest of the book involves him traveling all over the world in an effort to prove what he believes to be true. There is great suspense and non-stop action throughout, and by the end of the book, you will probably be pondering,as I am, just how persuasive his theory is. Highly recommended. And I can't
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-spy
After reading DeLillo's Libra, twice, I found it hard to imagine anyone matching, much less surpassing, his fictional take on JFK assassination. McCarry does not match DeLillo, but he does foretell, by 16 years, my favorite line in Libra: "A fact is innocent until someone wants it. Then it becomes intelligence." The main tension in McCarry's telling is that no one, or no one who really matters, wants the intelligence born of those facts.

The plot gets a bit convoluted at times -- as another
Bradley West
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, thrillers
Charles McCarry is a less well-known spy novelist than le Carre or Deighton, but belongs in the same conversation even if "Tears of Autumn" was the only book he published. McCarry's protagonist Paul Christopher is somewhere between super human (e.g. ability to pick up almost any language--even tonal ones--in a month or two) and all-too-human (e.g. his feelings for his Australian lover). The pace is fast, the settings described in sufficient detail to convince the reader that McCarry knows them ...more
Lance Charnes
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of John LeCarre or Daniel Silva
McCarry – like John LeCarre and Daniel Silva – is known as one of those authors who “gets it right” with his spy yarns. The Tears of Autumn is his second novel and the second to feature his series character Paul Christopher, a CIA agent active during the 1950s and 1960s. In this installment, Christopher decides to solve the JFK assassination. Nothing like swinging for the fences, eh?

Even though Christopher flirts with super-agenthood – speaking multiple languages, near-photographic memory,
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Compelling lead character with a wildly improbable thriller. The roller coaster is fun, while you can suspend disbelief.
This was not a fast paced thriller but an excellently written spy novel that was filled with tension throughout and had one of the better fictional explanations for the JFK assassination. Listened to the audio version read by Stefan Rudnicki
Maybe 3 stars if a stand-alone, but I rounded down because this was just such a disappointing follow-up to McCarry's quirky but delightful debut, The Miernik Dossier.

This time around (four years after the events in Miernik), Paul Christopher investigates the Kennedy assassination, since he alone in all the world understands what really happened:

The explanation struck like a bell in Christopher's mind. He knew who had arranged the death of the President...All his life, Christopher's unconscious
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only learned about Charles McCarry because he passed away in February of this year. When I discovered he wrote spy thrillers, I got The Tears of Autumn for my husband, who found it great. The series features Paul Christopher, a secret agent. McCarry was a former undercover operative for the CIA before he began writing. I had to read it!

Christopher has a pretty good idea who arranged the assassination of JFK and the book tells the story of how he went about verifying his suspicions. Due to
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Charles McCarry comes highly recommended from friends and literary blurbs that call him a master of the (spy novel) genre and compare him to LeCarre. This is the first book in the Paul Christopher series, but likely my last.

The problem for me isn't the characters, although some were maddeningly one-dimensional, but the plot which bounces from a Thai family dynasty to defecting Russian agents to Fidel's Cuba to post-colonial Africa, Chicago Mobsters and even a midget super thief who breaks in to
Contains one of the most fascinating -- and somewhat plausible-- JFK assasination theories that I've ever run across. One of the best spy novels, by someone other than Le Carre.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, espionage
Actual rating: 3.5 stars.

I'm late coming to Charles McCarry, having missed reading him the first time around (this novel was written in 1974). Reviews gave me the impression he's on the same plane as John le Carre, the great espionage novelist. After reading "The Tears of Autumn," I think he's a more of a refined and elevated Ian Fleming, his character Paul Christopher an American James Bond.

I don't compare Christoper to Bond in the superficial sense. Christoper's a behind-the-scenes CIA agent,
Michael Martz
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'The Tears of Autumn' is supposedly a classic espionage novel by one of the genre's greats, Charles McCarry. I still can't believe I hadn't heard of either until about a month ago. I'm glad I'm finally on the bandwagon!

The Tears of Autumn was published in 1974, when both the war in Vietnam and the assassination of JFK were still pretty fresh in everyone's mind. In the novel, Paul Christopher, a CIA 'lone-wolf' spy, begins to form an idea on who was responsible for Kennedy's death and wants to
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(4.5) Having read dozens of JFK conspiracy theories, I was prepared to be bored by the "revelations" in this one but McCarry offers a unique take on the Kennedy assassination filtered through the lens of a cynical international operative. The story is gripping and the spycraft is engaging without being oversaturated (looking at you, Quiller Memorandum). I enjoyed The Miernik Dossier when I read it a few years ago, though I wasn't a fan of the format. In the meantime, I've heard dozens of voices ...more
Jack Saltzberg
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A novel that has an entirely new solution to the who killed JFK debate. Fascinating, and way too plausible
Jul 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Not just one of the many fiction books that explores a theory behind the assassination of JFK, but one of the first. The theory can be explained in one or two sentences, so this book is more about the character of spy Christopher Paul trying to connect the dots to present a case that, as any astute reader can guess, will be covered up in the end. The biggest positives of this novel are that it is very readable, the action is good and shows almost no sign of being dated, which is good for a 1974 ...more
Amélie Rêverie
The Overlooked International Spy Thriller
If you have an undying passion for John le Carré (think: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), run directly to the bookstore and pick up former CIA agent Charles McCarry's Tears of Autumn. Originally published in the '70s and reissued in 2005, the book follows Paul Christopher—an American spy so cool and competent he makes James Bond look like a buffoon—through Vietnam as he pursues an unauthorized investigation into JFK's assassination.McCarry's writing is so
Oct 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-books-read
I was introduced to Charles McCarry via recommendations about A.J. Quinnell. I found a copy of Tears of Autumn and very much enjoyed the espionage story about investigating the Kennedy assassination abroad.
McCarry writes authoritatively - having served as an intelligence officer doesn't make him want to describe how a watch is made when you want to hear what time it is.
I've already set aside Christopher's Ghosts.
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was hoping to love this as much as I enjoyed William Boyd's "Restless".....however, it wasn't nearly as riveting as I hoped it would be. I found the characters one dimensional. Paul Christopher was so macho and unrelatable and the women were all pathetic. This was clearly written by a man.....a less fun version of James Bond without the gadgets.
Jon Spoelstra
Mar 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is one of the first Vietnam books and JFK conspiracy books. I read it a long time ago, then re-read it about four years ago. I loved it the first time and that led me to read every Charles McCarry books. The five-star rating was for the first read. Strangely, the second read wasn't as entertaining. I would give the second reading a four star.
Susan Springer
Jun 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
McCarry writes with such logic and knowledge of foreign affairs about the events surrounding the
assassination of President John F. Kennedy that his theories go beyond plausible to probable, a
fascinating look into the world of international espionage.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Too much broken dialogue and not enough plot. Major disappointment.
Joshua Lax
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best spy novels of all time.
Mark Maddrey
Mar 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Reading the obituaries in the newspaper often leads me to discoveries or lives led and things done that I had somehow missed or forgotten about. Charles McCarry recently passed away and I happened to read the obit in the Washington Post and I had to wonder how I had never heard of him or read any of his books. The description seemed right up my alley, to sum it up he was presented as the American version of John le Carre. I saw that "Tears of Autumn" was considered his best book so I dove right ...more
Ben Horne
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tears of Autumn is the second investigative JFK assassination book I’ve read this year (shouts to Libra); and is beautifully written, with its conspiracy theory still intriguing as ever. The book is unquestionably an espionage classic.

The story begins with CIA operative Paul Christopher deep undercover in South Vietnam. A few weeks later the world is shocked and shattered with the assassination of JFK. Within a matter of 10 days, Paul suddenly understands why JFK is assassinated. After
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Agent Running in the Field
  • Metropolis (Bernie Gunther, #14)
  • Slow Horses (Slough House, #1)
  • London Match (Bernard Samson, #3)
  • Joe Country (Slough House #6)
  • Mexico Set (Bernard Samson, #2)
  • The Polish Officer (Night Soldiers, #3)
  • Berlin Game (Bernard Samson, #1)
  • Paris in Disguise (Alex Kovacs #5)
  • The Lyon Resistance (Alex Kovacs, #3)
  • The 30 Greatest Orchestral Works
  • Tom Brown's Schooldays
  • Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language
  • Language A to Z
  • How to Listen to and Understand Great Music
  • Nutrition Made Clear
  • Horse Under Water
  • The Post-American World
See similar books…
McCarry served in the United States Army, where he was a correspondent for Stars and Stripes, was a small-town newspaperman, and was a speechwriter in the Eisenhower administration. From 1958 to 1967 he worked for the CIA, under deep cover in Europe, Asia, and Africa. However, his cover was not as a writer or journalist.

McCarry was editor-at-large for National Geographic and contributed pieces to

Other books in the series

Paul Christopher (10 books)
  • The Miernik Dossier (Paul Christopher, #1)
  • The Secret Lovers (Paul Christopher #3)
  • The Better Angels (Paul Christopher #4)
  • The Last Supper (Paul Christopher #5)
  • The Bride of the Wilderness (Paul Christopher #6)
  • Second Sight (Paul Christopher #7)
  • Shelley's Heart (Paul Christopher #8)
  • Old Boys (Paul Christopher #9)
  • Christopher's Ghosts (Paul Christopher, #10)
“What exactly was the role of the U.S. government in the coup that overthrew Ngo Dinh Diem?” Trumbull stared for a moment at Foley’s rigid back. Then he said to Patchen, “Tell him.” “I think you already know, Paul,” Patchen said. “In simple terms, we countenanced it. We knew it was being planned. We offered advice. We provided support. We encouraged the plot. We welcomed the results.” 1 likes
“So, what is it you want to know in return for your silence, and this lesson on philosophy?” “Three things,” Christopher said. “First, is Lê Thu the code name of the operation that was carried out on November 22 in Dallas? Second, how was the message transmitted from Saigon to the North, and then to the man who recruited the American assassin? Third, what is the name of your relative in the intelligence service of North Vietnam who recruited the man who, in turn, activated Oswald?” 1 likes
More quotes…