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Above Suspicion
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Above Suspicion [Hardcover]

Helen Macinnes
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2007, hardcover reprint edition (title first published in 1941), ImPress, NY, 289 pages.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Impress; Reprint edition (2007)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SDTR5S
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,605,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Above Suspicion October 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Above Suspicion is the first thriller by Helen MacInnes, an author largely forgotten about now, but once a very established and successful writer. She married Gilbert Highet, a Classics scholar, in 1932 and translated German literature with him. Like the characters in this novel, both her and her husband spoke fluent German and spent their summers travelling in Europe. Gilbert Highet also served as an MI6 British intelligence agent and his wife's novels were so realistic that her third book, "Assignment in Brittany" was required reading for Allied intelligence agents about to be sent to work with the French Resistance. As you can tell, you are in safe hands for a realistic novel about Europe in 1939, which is where Above Suspicion is set.

Frances Myles lives with her Professor husband Richard in Oxford. The married couple enjoy climbing and travelling in Europe, as MacInnes did herself. It is 1939 and Europe is poised on the brink of war. Frances and Richard are hoping for one last summer of peace, but it is not to be. When Frances goes to collect Richard from his rooms for a party, she finds an old friend visiting and he wants them to do a job. He is hoping they will go abroad that summer as usual, meet a man in Paris and then continue the journey as he directs them to obtain information the authorities need badly. An agent who has been running an underground railway in Germany has stopped sending the normal messages and they are afraid he has been captured or compromised and they are hoping that "a couple of innocents abroad might be able to get through all suspicion."

Richard is happy to go, but does not want Frances involved. Frances is, however, absolutely not going to be left and, as things should continue as normal, she gets her way.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, weak but not awful Kindle edition September 24, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's nice to have Helen MacInnes available on Kindle. ABOVE SUSPICION, her first novel, is a good thriller about a British professor and his wife -- ordinary people, in the Eric Ambler tradition -- on a spy mission in Nazi Germany.

Some of the other reviewers have suggested the characterization is clichéd. I disagree. It's quick and shallow, as befits a thriller, but the Nazis are presented fairly, and the chilling scene where the heroine hears a terrible scream from the Jewish quarter, and the police not only do not look into it, but prevent her from trying to do so either -- that scene, I believe, comes from real life. Nazi Germany was a deeply unpleasant place.

Indeed, what's unbelievable is not that the Germans are menacing, but that the protagonists are able to get away from them. It takes some tricky plotting to find them a good way out. But MacInnes controls her pace and place-setting so well that we accept the escapes when they happen.

EXCEPT for the Kindle. Like so many Kindle editions, this one has errors here and there we can see, and perhaps many more which we can't see. For a long time all a reader might notice is the occasional unnecessary, comma. But then, right at the climax of the book, come three lines missing from page 300 or so, appearing on about page 303, and a general feeling that as much as a page of text may have dropped out entirely while all that misplacement was going on.

Reading a Kindle is like finding a half-destroyed set of books in a burned-down building. How lucky we are to get things so cheap -- and how sad it is how much we have to miss, in payment for all that convenience.

If I were a real MacInnes fan, I'd recommend getting a print version and eating the extra cost. As things stand, I can only warn you: the Kindle ABOVE SUSPICION is good enough to see you home in peacetime, but it wouldn't get you out of Nazi Germany.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Published in 1941 and set in 1939, Above Suspicion, through its two main characters--a British husband and wife who are recruited to undertake an intelligence gathering mission in Germany--presents a nice mix of action, intrigue, atmosphere, and political discussion. The husband and wife are joined by a fellow countryman and an American as they try to carry out their mission while evading Nazi pursuers. The sense of foreboding as the characters move through Nazi-controlled areas is palpable.

Most of the political commentary is spoken by the wife, who has an understandably bleak view of Nazi Germany and an unfortunate view of its people (invariably gruff, tasteless, and poor tippers) while regarding the British as unfailingly friendly, charming, and civilized. She also presents a rather sympathetic view of Britain's evolving response to Hitler's aggression. In retrospect, the political views come across as simplistic and the characterizations as stereotyped, but politics never gets in the way of the story, which builds suspense in the manner of a Hitchcock movie. It is, in fact, rather nice to read a novel from that era in which the key female figure has political opinions of her own, refuses to back down to opinions offered by men, and plays a vital role in the action (she comments, in fact, on the ability of women to exercise their minds while retaining their charm).

Ultimately, Above Suspicion is a perfectly paced thriller that (again, like a Hitchcock movie) places likable, ordinary people in a dangerous situation and follows them as they use their wits and resourcefulness to prevail against their enemy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars English cleverness
Somewhat boring and provocative. Interesting as a time period piece, but otherwise very predictable and uncomplicated. Would have preferred some twists and turns
Published 1 day ago by actions speak louder than words
5.0 out of 5 stars Helen MacInnes RULES
Helen MacInnes has been a favorite author of mine for many years. She knows how to build characters, her descriptions are spot on and there's always a mystery with a bad guy woven... Read more
Published 6 days ago by Stevie851
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
I first read this book about 50 years ago. It stands up in time. The characters are heroic and brave, really charming . A look at a different time when behaviors were different.
Published 11 days ago by Bev48
4.0 out of 5 stars A Glimpse At Another Era And A Nice Spy Yarn.
My old copy of this book came up missing years ago, so I was happy to see it available as a Kindle book. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Ann de Vries
4.0 out of 5 stars Propaganda?
As exciting and well-crafted as MacInnes's novels are, one cannot but feel they were government sponsored propaganda vessels, not surprising, considering her husband was with MI6. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Hobo Eddy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good mystery I liked it would recommend it to others
Published 1 month ago by Carol D. Gross
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a good chance to re-read Helen MacInnes
This was a good chance to re-read Helen MacInnes, who I started with more than 45 years ago. Her books are suspenseful, historic, and still a great and appropriate read today.
Published 4 months ago by Linda Aquilano
5.0 out of 5 stars MacInnes' first--and best?
Above Suspicion was the first of Helen MacInnes' many novels of espionage and intrigue. In form it's just like nearly all the others: innocent bystanders become involved in spy vs. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Roger Downey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Mac's first and best novel. Will read again.
Published 5 months ago by Charlotte A. Koepf
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical fiction
Excellent writing, creating interesting & compelling characters. Pacing of story delivers suspense blended with intrigue & romance. Delightful & poignant.
Published 6 months ago by CollinsAtl
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