cover image The Matchmaker: A Spy in Berlin

The Matchmaker: A Spy in Berlin

Paul Vidich. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-64313-865-7

The opening of this forgettable spy novel from Vidich (The Mercenary) sets the heavy-handed tone: “Peril came early to the apartment on Bethaniendamm, overtaking the changes that were sweeping through the streets and alleys of a divided Cold War Berlin.” It’s 1989, and American Anne Simpson works as an interpreter at the Joint Allied Refugee Operations Center in West Berlin, debriefing refugees from Eastern Europe. She’s happily married to German piano tuner Stefan Koehler. Then a consular officer informs her Stefan is missing, his wallet found next to a canal. Simpson believed her husband had been in Vienna and Prague tuning orchestra pianos. Her alarm grows when she finds out West German intelligence suspects Stefan is working with the so-called Matchmaker, the head of East German counterintelligence, to provide confidential details about NATO deployments. As Anne tries to ascertain her spouse’s fate and the truth of the allegations against him, she learns secrets that change her view of the man she loves. The plot moves along predictable lines, and none of the characters makes much of an impression. Vidich has done better. Agent: Will Roberts, Gernert Company. (Feb.)