cover image A Spy at Twilight

A Spy at Twilight

Bryan Forbes. Random House (NY), $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-394-57767-8

In post-Thatcher England, the devious new Labor prime minister, Toby Bayldon, has packed the Cabinet with ultra-leftists and announced plans to ban all U.S. nuclear missiles from Britain. Bayldon is a puppet of Moscow through his Communist babysitter, a double agent named Control. Enter English spy Alec Hillsden, last met in The Endless Game , now falsely accused of murdering a British Foreign Office bigwig. A defector in Leningrad with a pregnant Russian wife, Hillsden stumbles onto Bayldon's secret plan to turn Britain into a Communist state. Hillsden attempts to smuggle a revelatory manuscript to a fellow spy in London, but time is running out, bodies keep dropping, and both he and an ex-colleague are dupes of the Russians. Although this scenario smacks of political paranoia, Forbes's tightly plotted, literate thriller is a fast read, nicely stuffed with such elements as homosexual betrayal, Libyan terrorists, a Hollywood schlock film producer, hijacking and abduction. (July)