I really like a bit of a good old fashioned spy thriller every now again. It probably says a lot about formative years reading Ludlum, Forsyth and the like, curled up on a couch hiding from my parents (who were somewhat more interested in the daily chores list on the wall than I was). I found those early spy thrillers fascinating for a few reasons - for a start they hinted at a great menace in shadowy places in the world, places a long way away from a farm in country Australia. But luckily whilst there was menace there were also the "good guys" happily fighting the menace. Of course a fair amount of the fight was very well-mannered as well. Our characters might have been engaged in the great good versus evil battle, but that didn't mean that tea wasn't taken, and - you suspected - one didn't miss one's appointment with ones tailor.
I purposely never consider if any of these spy thrillers are accurate to life - frankly I don't want to know - the point is that there is nothing like a good spy thriller for pure and utter entertainment, escapism or just fun when it's presented to me on the printed page.
From the Blurb:
A nervous courier delivers the handwritten manuscript of a dissident Russian novel to Paul Christopher early one morning in West Berlin. Minutes after the hand-ff, the courier's spine is neatly snapped by an impact with a passing black sedan. Meanwhile, in Rome, Christopher's wife Cathy takes a famous film director as a lover to stir her husband out of the stoicism that defines his personality.
As the car moved through the wet streets of Berlin in the hour after dawn, Horst Bulow fussed with his briefcase. It was a pig-skin satchel, strapped and buckled, so old that it had lost the smell of leather. The night before, Bulow had carried it out of East Germany.