cover image Missing from the Record

Missing from the Record

Clive Egleton. St. Martin's Press, $16.95 (286pp) ISBN 978-0-312-02253-2

In the first chapter of this run-of-the-mill spy novel, British secret service (SIS) agent Sarah Lucas gets a knock on the head, loses 4.5 million in gold and is taken prisoner by the VC during the fall of Saigon. Ten years later, no longer an agent, she disappears, leaving a bland, uninformative note for her husband, Tom Cartwright. When their Swedish au pair girl is viciously murdered, Tom's concern for Sarah becomes urgent. His investigations reveal that Sarah has changed identities and is in Hong Kong. When the narrative switches to her point of view, we discover that another agent, Gage, who remained in Vietnam after the fall, is planning to return to England and may reveal the fact that he never received a top-secret message that it was Sarah's responsibility to deliver 10 years ago. Tom, now in Hong Kong, finds evidence of another murderand the police want to question him. Tom's suspicions regarding Faulkner, once Sarah's lover and commanding officer, now second-in-command of the Hong Kong SIS, lead to a deportation order. Deducing that Sarah has again shifted her identity, Tom locates her in Bangkok, where they root out the terminally ill Gage. Egleton ( Troika ) plots carefully, but is not as devious as le Carre or Deighton; it is easy to see through the machinations. Despite unrealistic dialogue and some shortcuts (Sarah's ``sixth sense'' warns her that assassins are in her hotel room, etc.) the narrative moves quickly. (September)