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The Venetian Affair Paperback – June 18, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1781163306 ISBN-10: 1781163308 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 483 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books; Reprint edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781163308
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781163306
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.3 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"If you have been looking for an adult Ian Fleming novel, Helen MacInnes has written it." (N. Y. Herald Tribune)"

About the Author

Helen MacInnes (1907-1985) was the Scottish-born American author of 21 spy novels. Dubbed "the queen of spy writers", her books have sold more than 25 million copies in the United States alone and have been translated into over 22 languages. Several of her books have been adapted into films, such as Above Suspicion (1943), with Joan Crawford, and The Salzburg Connection (1972).

More About the Author

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 20 customer reviews
A great Helen MacInnes novel.
Alan Roberts
Ms. MacInnes creates rich, strong characters, excellent, believable plots, great escapist reading!
I want to read it again after 25/30 years I am sure it will be a treat.
Richard J Daly

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mike Garrison on November 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
MacInnes excelled at writing thriller stories about innocent travellers (almost always Americans in Europe) who fall into an espionage situation and are too patriotic to get out while the getting is good. They also feature a romantic plot, which is linked (somehow) to the thiller plot. "North By Northwest" is almost a perfect MacInnes novel, except that it wasn't. But if you've seen the movie, you'll know what I mean.

THE VENETIAN AFFAIR is one of her best, written in the peak of the Cold War and the peak of her career. A resourceful, intelligent amateur gets into a situation where a skilled agent would fear to tread, and then manages with luck and pluck to get back out again. Several of the characters are continued in THE DOUBLE IMAGE (a better novel, but only by the smallest of margins).

Try it ... you'll like it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael T Kennedy VINE VOICE on July 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of Helen MacInnes two best novels. The story is dated, a plot to assassinate De Gaulle, but the writing is good and the descriptions of Paris and Venice make it fun. I like her novels because they bring the locations to life. If you are going to visit Venice, this is almost as good as a guidebook to give you the feel of the place. I am not the only Helen MacInnes fan to spend hours tracing the locations of her stories. The characters are well done and, as usual, there is romance and a happy ending. This is one of her best.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Tom S. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 12, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
As a teen back in the 1970s, I couldn't get enough of the bestselling thriller writers of the day, and Helen MacInnes was one of my favorites. I remember THE VENETIAN AFFAIR in particular, mainly because I read it in Venice in 1975. Now, all these years later, I found a copy on Amazon and read it again, and guess what? It's still great! It's a lively, colorful story of international intrigue, with the good guys and the bad guys chasing each other all over the piazzas, back alleys, and canals of the most beautiful city I've ever seen.

It's old-fashioned, of course; it's actually very dated. (At one point, the hero warns the heroine that the villains they're up against are much, much worse than Nazis--they're COMMUNISTS!!!) And the villains' diabolical plot (assassinating Charles de Gaulle) was done much better a few years later, in The Day of the Jackal. But I can tell you with authority that you'll rarely read better descriptions of Venice. After I read it, I went looking for the actual locations in the story, and they all looked, sounded, and smelled exactly the way she described them. The hero is gallant, the heroine is lovely, the villains are nefarious (they're COMMUNISTS!!!), and the suspense is nonstop.

Helen MacInnes was a big star in espionage fiction, but today she's all but forgotten. Her books are out of print, and that's a shame. They're great fun to read, and this one has a special place in my heart. If you can find a copy, try it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Polly Cy on April 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I began reading Helen MacInnes back in the late 60's and early 70's, when I was still in high school. She had been writing for three decades by then, and was at the height of her craft. The Venetian Affair, written in 1963, was the first of her books I read. I was immediately enthralled. I gobbled up the rest of her works with greedy delight and began watching for new ones with the kind of avidity other girls reserved for The Beatles or Elvis.

In the 90's I lost 2/3 of my library in a flood, including all my hardcover and first editions of her books, and was appalled that I couldn't replace them because she had been allowed to slip out of print. I watched for reprints with less hope than with a morbid picking at the scab of my loss until that incredible day when I discovered they were being released in Kindle formats.

"Ecstatic" comes nowhere near describing my reaction. The Venetian Affair remains one of my favorites.

First, know what you're getting with Helen MacInnes (Highet). She was a Scotswoman by birth, grew up during the Depression, and was a new bride at the outbreak of WWII. Those experiences gave her the kind of unshakable faith in right and wrong that is so characteristic of the "Greatest Generation." Don't expect moral ambivalence, or wishy-washy excuse-making from MacInnes. Indeed, one of her best (and as of now still unavailable) books is titled, "Neither Five Nor Three." It's a poke in the eye of the moral equivalizers: "To think that two and two are four, and neither five nor three, the heart of man has long been sore, and long 'tis like to be." In other words, some things really ARE black and white.

Her books all deal with ordinary people finding themselves in extraordinary circumstances.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan B. Hanley on October 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a terrific fan of Helen MacInnes when her books first came out, and so I was delighted to find they are being reissued. I must admit that I am now more critical of her plots, though the suspense is still there. I loved the beginning of this book, how a writer/journalist gets involved in a plot because of a mix-up over raincoats at an airport carousel. Could happen to anyone, right? And that's how MacInnes draws you in, by letting you imagine that you, an innocent civilian, could get drawn into the world of international spying.

But then the coincidences happen thick and fast. I'll take one, or even two, as possible, but not all the ones MacInnes drops into this story. It really spoiled it for me. And I don't even think they were necessary. It's even very odd that the story takes place in Venice when the plot itself involves France. I don't want to name all the coincidences because I don't want to spoil the book for readers, but you will find then throughout the book.

I like MacInnes for her description of place, though I must admit I had trouble following her through the canals and calles of Venice. And even though we no longer live in the same Cold War world, this just makes the book historical. I am also amused by how much our view of the role of women has changed since the early 1960s. But none of this is a criticism.

I debated between 3 stars and 4, but this is really not one of MacInnes's best. For someone who has never read her or who wonders where to start in rereading her, try Agent in Place. No romance but a much better spy story. And don't be put off by the fact that half a century ago authors used more words in telling a story!
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