cover image The Last Supper

The Last Supper

Charles McCarry. Overlook Press, $26.95 (389pp) ISBN 978-1-58567-762-7

First published in 1983, this is one of a half dozen of McCarry's espionage thrillers featuring CIA agent Paul Christopher, an old school spy who operates in a world where clever and vicious communists are unquestionably the villains, and who is handsome, dedicated and never short of compliant women. Dismissing his lover Molly Benson's feelings of dread, Paul leaves her bed to fly off to 1960s Vietnam. Sure enough, Molly is quickly murdered. Abruptly, the book flashes back to 1926 Germany where Paul's father, a young American writer, encounters minor Prussian nobility and the woman who will become Paul's mother. Apolitical until the Nazis arrest his wife in 1939, Paul's father joins the OSS that becomes the postwar CIA. At this point, fans of this veteran author will settle back to enjoy nearly 400 pages of nasty scheming. Paul's father spies successfully, but his obsessive efforts to track down his wife lead to Paul's father's murder. Following his father's footsteps into the Cold War ""outfit,"" Paul travels the world to counter communist skullduggery, while delivering plenty of his own. He retires (after a 10-year stint in a Chinese prison) but continues to investigate his father's death. In so doing, he finds the answer as well as the reason for Molly's murder, leading to a shocking twist that turns his world upside down.