Four excellent spy thrillers by a master of the genre. No hi-tech Bond gadgets, just a "who-can-you-trust" adventure with terrific atmosphere. This volume out-of-print and available only from used booksellers. Be advised--the print is very small and not recommended for those with vision problems.
Helen MacInnes writes stories that have heart-pounding action. The details of characterization, theme, and mood are amazingly realistic. My favorite part of her stories is always the setting. From her descriptions you can see the locations in your mind. If you like spy novels, stories about WWII, or the cold war her books are for you. I read "Assignment in Brittany" when I was in college and just recently remembered Ms. Macinnes' name. I decided to purchase this book to see if her writing was as good as I remembered. It is better! I plan to read everyone of her books that I can get my hands on. Then I'm going to share them with my entire family.
MacInnes is one of the best writers of what is called character-driven drama. She shows you vividly both the people and the places, at the same time showing you how the people respond to the places, and why they do what they do. Don't think she is just a WW2 spy novelist! Her people could live now, and respond psychologically in the same ways. Her strong characters are people you can admire and wish you could meet. Her villains are people you would stay away from now. Her ability to make these people real is, as I say, eerie. Her books are keepers--ones to read and reread, always with something more you missed the first time. When she writes about Salzburg and Brittany, you know she was there, noticing every detail, giving you a strong sense of place as individual as the place itself. Even if you don't usually enjoy this genre, read this book. You'll be glad you did.
Many years ago, I read everything that Helen MacInnes wrote, but the library doesn't have her books any more, so when I found this on Amazon, I ordered it immediately. These are excellent suspense stories, she was an intelligent and gifted author.
I first read the Helen MacInnes novels in my teens and early 20's. In particular, "The Salzburg Connection" inspired in me a desire to visit the Salzkammergut. Fifty years later, I live 30 kms from Salzburg, and I can personally vouch for the authenticity of that scene as she presents it. Fifty years later, some of the characters may seem to have the depth of paper dolls, and in reading more than one of the novels we recognize a pretty standard cast reprising their roles in each book. The early Cold War setting and sentiments are also today somewhat simplistic, but these are the types of novels Graham Greene would have called "entertainments", and entertain they certainly do. For one who has experienced the landscapes, and is a former Cold Warrior, it was like time travel, and I'm glad to have had this chance to re-read - and to re-live.
It seems that fewer and fewer "best seller" authors ever really learned how to write. It was a delight to reread this great writers words. Settings and their descriptions are accurate and make a good commentary to encourage another visit to the places she writes about. Characters are well developed.