Lars Guthrie's Reviews > The Foreign Correspondent

The Foreign Correspondent by Alan Furst
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's review
Sep 18, 2010

really liked it
Read in September, 2010

Similar set-up to 'Spies of Warsaw' and 'Spies of the Balkans,' which is OK with me. Furst has still got me hooked with his somewhat unwilling but ultimately decent spies who win in love, even if their efforts to obstruct the Axis are doomed.

The name of 'The Foreign Correspondent' is Carlo Weisz, a name that conveys a past of shifting allegiances, as does that of his home town, Trieste. But Weisz, after shuffling through early adulthood, has found his vocation, writing for Reuters in Paris, a cause, helping to publish the clandestine 'Liberazione' newspaper, an antidote to what the Fascists want Italians to read, and love, with a svelte Berlin aristocrat named Christa von Schirren.

We follow Weisz from Spain, as the Second Republic falls, back to Paris where British agents make use of an unforeseen aptitude for espionage, and then to Berlin and Eastern Europe. Along the way, Furst keeps things entertaining with his usual motley array of supporting characters and settings both sophisticated and sleazy. My favorite of these conjunctions was the dashing Colonel Ferrara, a leader in the fight against Franco, finding love in a Parisian dive called Club Chez les Nudistes (with a nudist of sorts, of course).

There couldn't be a better way to learn about pre-war Europe than these colorful and well-researched suspense yarns.

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