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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Above Suspicion
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...
Published 23 months ago by S Riaz

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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nazi spy thriller
This was MacInnes's first thriller (and first published novel as far as I know). It was written during WW2, but it is about a spy adventure the summer prior to the invasion of Poland. A husband and wife team get recruited to check out a spy chain that has become suspect. At first things seem to be going well, but then they get identified by the Nazis and must flee for...
Published on April 19, 2005 by Mike Garrison


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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Above Suspicion, October 4, 2012
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. What follows is a chase across Europe, with the couple under scrutiny from the moment they leave England. Europe has changed - now men march everywhere, there is violence in the air, their rooms are searched and they are followed. While in France a woman states, "one war is enough for one lifetime," but war is coming and both Frances and Richard know it is unavoidable. While in Europe they meet up with Robert Thorney, who they know from Oxford, and Henry Van Cortlandt, an American journalist. "You're not the kind of people to handle trouble; you're not tough enough," Van Cortlandt tells Frances, but this is the story of normal people being called upon to do extraordinary things.

This really is a superb story - with excitement, seriously unpleasant bad guys and a real undercurrent of fear. With hindsight it is easy to say that everyone knew what would happen. In 1941 it was not sure at all which way the war would go and so, in many ways, MacInnes is writing some stirring propaganda here. During the novel, Frances attempts to explain to their new American friend why war cannot be avoided and gives a plea for friendship and involvement to the country she was later to spend the rest of her life in. Frances is an excellent heroine - headstrong, opinionated and always very brave, she believes in what she is doing. Above Suspicion was made into a film in 1943, with Joan Crawford, and it is wonderful to see her books appearing on kindle.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nazi spy thriller, April 19, 2005
By 
Mike Garrison (Covington, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Above Suspicion (Hardcover)
This was MacInnes's first thriller (and first published novel as far as I know). It was written during WW2, but it is about a spy adventure the summer prior to the invasion of Poland. A husband and wife team get recruited to check out a spy chain that has become suspect. At first things seem to be going well, but then they get identified by the Nazis and must flee for their lives.

Along the way they meet an American journalist and a British student, each of whom has their own reasons for wanting to strike a blow against the Nazis.

Many of the elements used in the story are typical of MacInnes's later, more polished, work. However, the story is more of an action-thriller than the romantic character-based thriller novels that MacInnes eventually became so good at writing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A successful blend of pre-war intrigue, action, and suspense, September 11, 2010
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This review is from: Above Suspicion (Hardcover)
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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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding WWII novel, September 2, 2009
By 
W. Ballard (Emporia, Kansas) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Above Suspicion (Hardcover)
This is one of the most outstanding espionage novels ever written. Small wonder it was a best seller in 1942. Helen MacInnes was unrivaled in her ability to put fictional characters and a exciting plot into current world events and political tensions, all woven into actual geographical backgrounds. Richard and Frances Myles are so life-like that you feel like you are there with them throughout their harrowing experiences in pre-war Europe. All of her novels were written in this fashion, but this is one of her best. I first read it in high school, and recently I pulled it out and read it again. And it was as exciting and entertaining as it was all those years ago. A great way to spend a quiet evening.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, weak but not awful Kindle edition, September 24, 2013
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This review is from: Above Suspicion (Kindle Edition)
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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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Above Suspicion, February 9, 2013
By 
Cphe (Australia) - See all my reviews
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I'm inclined to describe this as a vintage thriller, very much a blast from the past. On the eve of the second world war, an English couple, Frances and Richard Myles are asked to travel to Europe. Their mission is to retrieve information about a fellow Englishman who is running a spy network. There is a question as to whether the organisation has perhaps been compromised. It becomes a cloak and dagger operation. Frances and Richard are amateurs but are obliged to pit their wits against some very unpleasant individuals.

I thought that this was a nicely atmospheric thriller. The tension mounted chapter by chapter. All of the characters were well fleshed out. Frances and Richard were a well matched couple.
It felt claustrophobic in places as Frances and Myles travel from one roundevouz to another, each more fraught with difficulty. The rising tension in Europe with the rise of the Nazi was well portrayed, and the air of unease and uncertainty added to the tension and fear that is now known of that time in history.
It's not a violent book as a lot of thrillers are. This one relies on atmosphere to set the stage and to to supply the mounting tension.

It's been years since I've read this author and I'm very glad to have this available to kindle. Time and money well spent.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old favorite author, February 12, 2013
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This review is from: Above Suspicion (Kindle Edition)
I first read this book in the 60's. It was just as good now as it was then. If you like spy stories or World War 2 stories, you'll love this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great suspense reading, July 12, 2014
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This review is from: Above Suspicion (Kindle Edition)
Helen Macinnes at her best! This book actually has you holding your breath at times. Very had to put the book down until the end.h
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4.0 out of 5 stars vintage but held my attention, June 30, 2014
By 
Krkyoldhag "Krkyoldhag" (East Texas Pine Forest) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Above Suspicion (Kindle Edition)
OLD but GOOD. Glad I took a chance on it. Things have sure changed since her first novel was written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good the second time, June 3, 2014
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This review is from: Above Suspicion (Kindle Edition)
As good the second time! Read it years ago. Didn't disappoint! Macinnes knows how to write...she captures the time and aura well.
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Above Suspicion
Above Suspicion by Helen MacInnes (Paperback - January 29, 2013)
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