cover image Breakfast at Wimbledon

Breakfast at Wimbledon

Jack Bickham, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-51195-1

In this quick, spry adventure, CIA operative and ex-tennis pro Brad Smith, last seen in Overhead , accepts a courtesy invitation to play at Wimbledon when his superiors suspect that the IRA intends to use the event for a spectacular act of terrorism. Unbeknownst to the CIA, there are two threats: a plot by some IRA loose cannons to assassinate Irish tennis star Sean Cork and a plan to wipe out half of the Wimbledon crowd on international TV by means of a deadly nerve gas. Also involved--against his superiors' orders--is Smith's arch enemy, Soviet agent Sylvester. Further hurdles for Smith are some CIA men's lack of faith in him; the presence of meek and uncertain agent Clarence Tune, assigned to watch over him by MI5; a steroid-crazed young pro who takes him on as a doubles partner; and his growing attachment to beautiful Linda Bennett, his local CIA connection. The mix of top-flight tennis competition and nicely skewered intelligence communities is original and engaging, and while Bickham allows his hero the necessary derring-do now and again, he tempers it with a welcome touch: Smith is often as astonished as the reader at his own successes. (Dec.)