cover image The German Agent

The German Agent

J. Sydney Jones. Severn, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8436-7

Those expecting the sophisticated plotting of Jones’s Viennese mysteries (A Matter of Breeding, etc.) will be disappointed by this lackluster historical thriller. Early in 1917, the British intercept the real-life Zimmermann telegram, which reveals German plans to work with Mexico and Japan against the U.S. The German agent of the title, war hero Max Volkman, sets out for Washington, D.C., to stop British envoy Adrian Appleby before he can communicate the contents of the wire to Woodrow Wilson. The president has been resolute in opposing American entry into WWI, but the telegram is expected to change his mind. The cat-and-mouse game that follows offers few surprises, and neither Volkman nor his opposite number, Sen. Edward Fitzgerald, whose callow wife is Appleby’s niece, has much personality. Plot contrivances are a further obstacle to engagement. Despite the sound premise, Jones never manages to generate genuine tension or suspense. [em]Agent: John Talbot, Talbot Fortune Agency. (Jan.) [/em]