The prolific Allbeury ( The Man with the President's Mind ) draws on his British Intelligence background to construct a most civilized thriller. Middle-aged London factory owner James Walters has apparently made contact with a KGB agent in Paris. Special Branch Commander Nicholas Bailey pays a fairly routine call on Walters, who immediately afterwards cuts his own throat. As Bailey begins his investigation, Allbeury flashes back to 1940s France, when half-French Charley Parker, as Charles Chaland, leads Resistance groups in the Dordogne for British Special Operations. Secrecy, danger, Nazi horrors and ultimate betrayal are tautly depicted, as is a believable love story, all ending tragically. Three decades later, Bailey's unraveling of the mystery of ``James Walters'' echoes the wartime flashback, but with a little hope at the end. Not many surprises here, just first-rate storytelling. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989 Release date: 03/01/1989 Genre: Fiction
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