Currently Reading - The Secret Lovers, Charles McCarry

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.

Opening Lines:

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.

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