Too Bad to Die

Francine Mathews. Riverhead, $27.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-59463-179-5
Mathews (Jack 1939) delivers a literate and sophisticated what-if historical thriller. In 1943, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin gather in Tehran, where the ostensible allies must find common ground in the fight against Nazi Germany, despite their mutual mistrust. Alan Turing, the head of Britain’s secret Enigma project, discovers that a German operative known as the Fencer plans to murder all three leaders during the conference, but Turing is able to offer relatively few clues to the Fencer’s identity. The burden of foiling the German agent falls to future James Bond creator Ian Fleming, a Naval Intelligence officer who’s frustrated at having been relegated to desk duty. Fleming’s task is made even more daunting when his superiors view his warning with some skepticism. Mathews makes the historical figures come to life, and even though readers know the Fencer doesn’t succeed, they will be caught up in suspense reminiscent of Frederick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal. Agent: Raphael Sagalyn, Sagalyn Literary Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/26/2015
Release date: 03/03/2015
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-101-98336-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-61176-367-6
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