John Lawton, Bluffing Mr. Churchill Reviews

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“Bluffing Mr. Churchill ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 23/12/2003

Bluffing Mr. Churchill
John Lawton
Atlantic Monthly Press, Jan 2004, $24.00, 322 pp.
ISBN: 0871139073

In the spring of 1941, Britain stands alone against the Nazi machine. Though his country remains neutral, American State Department blue blood Calvin Comrack is in London seeking spy Wolfgang Stahl, who until recently was a top aide to Hitler's SS chief Heydrich. When Stahl was exposed as an enemy agent, he fled Germany hoping to hide in the London underground. Comrack needs to obtain whatever Stahl took with him from Germany which happens to be Hitler's invasion plan to end the nonaggression pact with the Soviets.

Comrack learns that police officer Walter Stilton has had contact with the vanished Stahl. He "joins" the extended Stilton family wanting Walter to arrange a meeting with Wolfgang, but finds himself also attracted to his host's daughter police officer Kitty. He competes for her affection with Scotland Yard cop Freddie Troy. However, the rivals become allies in the search for Stahl as the American Embassy disowns Comrack, claiming he is working on his own while the Nazis insist they already have the missing agent.

Freddie Troy, star of several of John Lawton's works that take place in the mid to late 1950s (see OLD FLAMES), is only twenty-fives years old and for much of the novel plays a secondary role. Though not quite a Troy prequel, readers get a glimpse of his early days on the force. The story line is a war time espionage tale rather than a police procedural though the latter is an intricate part of the powerful plot. Using real historical figures, groups, and events to add authenticity, BLUFFING MR. CHURCHILL is a great historical suspense thriller that readers will cherish.

Harriet Klausner

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