ROMEO SUMMER

Julian Jay Savarin, Author . Severn $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5957-0

Despite reports of its imminent demise, the East-West spy thriller appears to be alive and flourishing—as shown in this slick, engaging and allusive second entry in Savarin's Müller and Pappenheim series (A Cold Rain in Berlin) about a contemporary pair of German detectives. The veteran British author's heroes are top cop Müller, with money of his own and a lavish lifestyle, and his tough and resourceful working-class assistant, Pappenheim. The team recalls Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries, not to mention John Sanford's Lucas Davenport series, but Savarin manages to make both of his protagonists fresh and interesting. Their blustery superior officer, Kaltendorf ( "the Great White Shark"), who loathes Müller for his membership in the "faded aristocracy" and distrusts them both for their maverick ways, is also a spy thriller cliché, but Savarin uses him to considerable comic effect. And Savarin's plot line—the sudden killing off of a band of former East German "Romeos," secret agents with informant wives in the West as well as the East—has familiar overtones as well, harkening to Walter Wager's classic Telefon. But again, like a skilled chef working with tried and true ingredients, Savarin manages to whip up a book and a series that can best be described as wholesome comfort food for readers longing for the good old days. (July)

Reviewed on: 07/07/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 427 pages - 978-0-7278-7590-7
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