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A Spy With Scruples

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  62 reviews
The unintended consequences of acing a test . . . or when all else fails, try blackmail.

In July of 1964, after marrying in Paris, Desirée and Scott Stoddard are honeymooning in the South of France when their idyll is interrupted by a notice from Scott’s draft board advising him that his status is being reviewed. Desirée, the former French countess who is already three mon
Kindle Edition, 282 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by River Grove Books
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Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
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Mar 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard one to review. The cover is gorgeous. The story is very good. But - there are quite a few buts. It started very slow, in fact the pace was never that fast. It’s a spy story so I expected some twists, a convoluted story perhaps and I really love that stuff but it got so knotty at times I struggled to follow it once we got into the nitty gritty.

The other thing that struck was the tone of the writing was very dispassionate, where was the emotion? Also the main characters were in the
Joann 'bartunek' prashek
May 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
I started reading the book like I do all the others, with an open mind. I painstakingly made it to 52% completed could NOT endure the torture any longer. I'm sure. For me, is twas just a lot of words that never went anywhere. Definitely did not live up to my expectations.
Apr 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

An American guy who married a French (and Swiss) Countess is forcibly recruited by the CIA to do...nothing much. He starts out as a journalist, writing fake stories about the Gulf of Tonkin incident...which was faked. He tries to hide all this from his wife and family.

Not very exciting, but full of snob appeal.
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
If you are expecting a spy novel the likes of Robert Ludlum or even Ian Fleming then this isn't it. It was very slow moving and probably what being a spy is really like. Scott Stoddard is newly married to the beautiful and very rich Desiree. He is a college student in Switzerland and she is a 29-year-old divorcee. The book takes place in 1964 and Scott's status for the draft is changed to 1-A. He is tested for the service and does so well he is forced to work for the CIA undercover or be sent to ...more
Mar 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While on his honeymoon Scott Stoddard receives notice to report for testing. He is a United States citizen living in Geneva going to school when he meets his wife, Desiree. In order not to be called up as a 1-A draftee he changes his citizenship from U.S. to Swiss and French. Then he starts doing journalism as a cover working for the the U.S. government. Scott makes himself known as a controversial figure to draw the attention of people the government is wanting to know more about. I thought the ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I was intrigued by the cover & blurb, a spy mystery set during the Cold War. It's a bit slow paced with more dialogue than action. The characters of Scott & Desiree are relatable as new parents. Thanks to Greenleaf for this Goodreads giveaway. This is my honest review. ...more
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read, entertaining and engrossing. I liked the vivid historical background, the cast of characters and the plot.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Amy Gennaro
Jul 16, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A big thank you to the author Gary Dickson, the publisher Greenleaf Book Press and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for my candid review.

This is the second book about the same characters. It is about an American Man who marries a very rich Swiss Countess and proceeds to live the good life. Until the US CIA decides to recruit him as a spy. The story is still interesting and is set in the background of the 1960's European glam tram. Realizing that he will never be able to life a free
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the coninuation of Scott Stoddard and Desiree's story which began with the book "An Improble Pairing." Although their story began with "An Improbably Pairing," "A Spy with Scruples" could very well be read as a stand alone. The historical fiction spy story begins with the newlywed couple's live's begin quickly disrupted by Scott's being sent to a military base in Germany to be tested. They fear that he will be drafted into the US Army. Scott's remarkable scores on the tests make him a pe ...more
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Scott Stoddard is enjoying his honeymoon in the South of Fance in 1964.  Scott, an American student studying in Geneva has just married the former Countess de Rovere, Desiree in an unexpected and whirlwind romance when a letter from the draft board appears saying his status is under review.  Scott must now report to a base in Germany to be tested and then tested again only to learn that the CIA is forcing him to train as a spy and use his new social status to gain information and pass it along.  ...more
Jean Kolinofsky
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Gary Dickson’s An Improbable Pairing introduced the love story of American student Scott Stoddard and Desiree, a countess. The obstacles that they faced seemed insurmountable, but nothing could keep them apart. He continues their story in A Spy With Scruples. Scott has returned to his studies as they await the arrival of their first child. War is raging in Vietnam Nam but Scott feels secure with his student deferment until a letter arrives instructing him to report to Germany for testing as they ...more
Review of A Spy with Scruples

I received this book as an ARC from Smith Publicity, Inc., and am providing an honest review.
Scott Stoddard is twenty-one years old and a graduate student studying in Switzerland. He is newly married to wealthy socialite Desiree, a former countess. The year is 1964, and the war in Vietnam is ramping up. Scott receives what every young American male at that time dreaded, a notice that his draft status was being reviewed.
After receiving extremely high scores on a test
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As a child I was intrigued by anything spy. As a grown up, I realize, of course, that the spy life cannot possibly be as thrilling as the books/movies make. Well, Dickson managed to write a boring book about a boring spy! This almost turned into a DNF, but having committed to writing a review I kept plodding on in the hopes that it would improve. And it did - at 85% into the book.

I'm an avid historical fiction and mystery reader. Maybe I expected too much. Here was a spy novel, playing in Switze
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-books
I've been pondering how to properly dissect this read. An Improbably Pairing was such a flirty, coming to Switzerland story as Scott Stoddard is knocked off his feet by the Countess de Rovere, a woman so far out of his league an improbably but perfect pairing they make. So, when I learned of this second novel I expected more of the same.

First, I was pleasantly surprised to encounter that this second read was strong enough to hold as a standalone. Providing enough history to both refresh one's me
Mar 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
As spy novels go, this one seems a bit on the bland side. Perhaps the world of spies is more like that which is described here than it is in the books and stories to which we are accustomed. It is not a fast paced story; it is, in human terms, very easy to accept. It is politically very interesting.

The Vietnam War Era was a fraught period in both American and world history. Keeping this time period in mind, the events leading to Scott Stoddard's recruitment seem more believable than I would beli
Linda Beilstein
I was given this book to read in exchange for an honest review. I have to say I didn't really like this book. I had read the first book about these characters and although there were a couple things that irritated me in the book, it was still an enjoyable read (An Improbable Pairing). This next book that continued the story was very difficult to get through. It covers the first couple years of the characters marriage and a time period when Scott became a spy. No he became a double spy. No it was ...more
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book but, I struggled to get through it. Scott, the main character, is placed on a fact-finding mission for his unknown employer. Throughout the book the reader is subject to the internal struggles that Scott faces in regards to his duty, morality, and the safety of himself and his family. To some extent, all readers can relate to these struggles as they are something we all experience when placed in difficult, uncomfortable, and unwanted situations where one must choose th ...more
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's 1964 and Scott Stoddard, an American graduate student in Geneva, has just married a wealthy countess, Desiree in Paris and they are honeymooning in Provence when Scott receives a draft notice. Desiree is three months pregnant, and they just want to be together and have fun. However, Scott reports to a base in Germany to get his physical and take some tests. Then, he needs to be tested again. It turns out that he has done so well on these tests that he is being recruited by the CIA.

Scott gi
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish to thank Net Galley and the publisher Greenleaf Book Group for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book. I have voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This is a spy novel which really drew me to it as I usually enjoy this type of read. An American Student studying in Geneva marries a beautiful, wealthy, Countess. He thinks his life is perfect. While on his honeymoon he receives a draft notice to serve in the Vietnam War.
Kim Bakos
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I wish this novel had focused more on Scott and Desiree, and well as their new addition, Celine. Getting married and becoming parents always changes people and their relationships - it would have been nice to see this explored.
This story focused on Scott's involvement w/ the CIA, after he is recruited and his only other choice is to go to fight in Vietnam. The 60s is a period about which I have not read much, so it was interesting to see more of the international politics of this era.
As another
Aug 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Spy with Scruples was a very emotional read for me. I don't know if it was just because we had been watching We were Soldiers and Young and this was another view of what the Vietnam War took from others, or it created some anger in me for a war that seemed needless.

I enjoyed the mystery of this book. I felt that it moved quickly, revolved around Scott Stoddard and Desiree in a way that it wasn't overindulgent of Desiree's desires over the war effort.

It was entertaining, emotional as I said,
I received a Kindle copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

The cover of this book attracted me, along with the title. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but a few pages in I thought "Oh, maybe this will be a take of Nick and Nora Charles- she has money, he's a spy instead of a detective." Nope. Not close. While the last few pages gives a bit of a hint toward the wife's background story, her role in the book was basically window dressing. Ditto that of the daughter - sadly.

But, I think m
I was interested in reading this book because I enjoy spy tales. The author has a good story line, set in Europe during the Vietnam War. An American who has married a wealthy European woman, is anxious to enjoy family life. But in order to avoid the draft, Scott is given the opportunity to spy instead of returning to America to join the military. While many of the details are interesting, there was a lot of confusion about what the objective was. The story was slow and I had a difficult time kee ...more
I was really looking forward to #aspywithscruples by Gary Dickson after reading #animprobablepair but I’m afraid it was a little disappointing to me. This book follows Scott more closely than Desiree as he is the title character and she has just had their baby. It is pretty much void of the glittering lifestyle we saw in the first book and totally about the machinations of Scott, his handlers and the opposition. While it was interesting it didn’t have the zing of the first book and at times felt ...more
Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued to read this book after reading the synopsis. I really like political dramas and thrillers. But sadly, this book failed to keep me intrigued. It was a lot difficult to get into the story. I expected the characters to have the 60s depth, but they are heavily fictionalised. The world during cold war is portrayed beautifully by the author. I would recommend this book solely for understanding the complicated times during the cold war.
Thank you NetGalley, the author and River Grove B
Katie Galucki
Somewhat better than the first book, "An Improbable Pairing," but still lacking in depth. The chemistry between Scott and Desiree is referred to frequently, but I just did not feel it - and the repeated reference to their sex life being a barometer to how their relationship was doing got old very quickly, especially since the same phrasing was used often in the first book as well. Was hoping for better connection with the characters after a second book, but it just did not deliver. Good premise ...more
Trick Wiley
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Received this from Net Gallery! "The Spy With Scruples" is a very unusual spy mystery book. Very well written and mysterious on who these people are that want Scott to give up so much for information and he doesn't even know who "they" are! Very rich indeed on the adventures he comes across and he is a American who "they" want him to give up living in Europe during the 1960's Viet Nam era. Have to say this book had me reading more and more to find out who"they" are and does he get out of the clu ...more
Trick Wiley
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Received this from Net Gallery! "The Spy With Scruples" is a very unusual spy mystery book. Very well written and mysterious on who these people are that want Scott to give up so much for information and he doesn't even know who "they" are! Very rich indeed on the adventures he comes across and he is a American who "they" want him to give up living in Europe during the 1960's Viet Nam era. Have to say this book had me reading more and more to find out who"they" are and does he get out of the clu ...more
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have really mixed feelings about this spy novel. The plot itself was interesting and a bit different from most secret agent stories; however, the tone seemed a bit flat and it moved too slowly in places. Also, without having read the previous story in this series, the new marriage of Scott and Desiree didn't have any heat for me. So, bottom line, I enjoyed the CIA aspects of the story but would have liked to have had the intensity and pacing revved up. Perhaps, when we see Scott again?
I won a
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
A quick and easy read. The 1960's was an interesting time period to choose, with the Viet Nam war and the Cold War with divided Germany for the protagonist to navigate. The European upper class characters with nicely described clothing and mentions of food, was enjoyable.
I would recommend this to readers who enjoy a good spy story.
I received this book through Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.
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Gary Dickson is an inveterate traveler and a Francophile sans merci. Educated in the United States and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland in history, literature, and the classics, Gary lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Susie.

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