cover image The Man in the Corduroy Suit

The Man in the Corduroy Suit

James Wolff. Bitter Lemon, $15.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-913394-84-4

The brilliant final entry in Wolff’s Discipline Files trilogy (after 2021’s How to Betray Your Country) is another clever, twisty treat for espionage fans. Leonard Flood has gained a reputation as a dogged interrogator for MI5, and his skills have brought him to the attention of Charles Remnant, who heads a “secret cadre of officers” known as the Gatekeepers, who, in addition to their official duties, spy on the spies in their own department. Remnant taps Flood to help determine the loyalties of Willa Karlsson, who resigned the previous year after vetting candidates for the spy agency for decades, including Flood himself; she’s been poisoned and is recovering in the hospital. Given a spate of recent episodes that have hit MI5 with what Remnant terms “turbulence,” the officer fears there may be rot inside the service. Flood agrees to probe Karlsson’s activities, which turns up one surprise after another and leaves him questioning the loyalties of more than one colleague. Wolff is particularly good at making his lead, who could have been a colorless figure in lesser hands, sympathetic, and delivers some truly knockout twists. John le Carré admirers will be hungry for more. (June)