Books reviewed by Arnold Taylor
Charles Thoroughgood, Head of MI6, agrees to an informal request from MI5 to look into a case involving a group of political activists calling themselves Action Against Authority. Legal reasons prevent MI5 itself from pursuing the case because the group is linked to a political party – the SNP.
Reviewed on 18 March 2017 by Arnold Taylor
It is 1941 and the Battle of the Atlantic is at its height. U-Boat U330 receives a heavily encoded message to pick up two prisoners from a ship just off the coast of Iceland. They carry out the order and, in doing so, put the submarine in grave danger.
Reviewed on 18 February 2017 by Arnold Taylor
James Nessheim, having resigned from the FBI, is now studying law at university. His former boss, Assistant Director Harry Guttman, asks him to go under cover and establish whether a Nazi spy has managed to infiltrate the Chicago team working on the first atom bomb.
Reviewed on 26 November 2016 by Arnold Taylor
Joe Wilderness is in a West Berlin jail after having unintentionally shot a woman whom he was trying to smuggle to the West. Just when it seems that he is going to be there for a long time, his father-in-law, a senior member of MI5, comes to his rescue - but it is at a price.
Reviewed on 26 November 2016 by Arnold Taylor
A 92-year-old man in a Chicago care home is visited by his daughter. Although known to have been a Holocaust survivor, he has never revealed any details of his past. She persuades him to tell his story, one that begins with two men running for their lives.
Reviewed on 17 September 2016 by Arnold Taylor
Hugo Hawksworth of the intelligence services is given a desk job following an injury sustained in the field. His boss arranges for him to be accommodated in Selchester Castle, from which Lord Selchester had mysteriously disappeared six years earlier.
Reviewed on 23 July 2016 by Arnold Taylor
Nobody in Maigret’s office takes Cécile seriously when she insists that there is a frequent intruder in her flat. However, when Maigret decides to pay a call on her, just to be on the safe side, he finds that her aunt, with whom she lives, has been murdered.
Reviewed on 09 July 2016 by Arnold Taylor
A friend asks Antoine Verlaque to visit a man called Rene Rouquet, who lives in an apartment once occupied by Paul Cézanne, and who may have discovered a lost Cezanne painting. When he arrives at the apartment he receives a severe shock.
Reviewed on 25 June 2016 by Arnold Taylor
This biography of David Cornwell, better known by his penname of John le Carré, attempts to explain the link between his childhood and upbringing and his interest in the world of secret intelligence, both as a member of it and as a writer about it.
Reviewed on 28 May 2016 by Arnold Taylor
Gévigne, a married man, contacts an old friend, a former policeman, after many years. He asks him to carry out an investigation into the behaviour of his wife, who is given to dream-like states and periods of apparent absence from the material world.
Reviewed on 23 April 2016 by Arnold Taylor
It is 42 years since Colonel Muammar Gaddafi came to power in Libya, the country of Balistreri’s birth. He, however, remembers the year not for that but for the death of his mother – a ‘suicide’ that he has always regarded as actually murder.
Reviewed on 12 March 2016 by Arnold Taylor
When the chief of Station in Ankara is killed in a plane crash, the Head of MI6 asks Thomas Kell to investigate. Kell, a previously disgraced agent, sees this as an opportunity to rehabilitate himself, but it soon becomes clear that a mole is at work.
Reviewed on 15 August 2015 by Arnold Taylor
Three old university friends, Caroline, Eleanor and Polly, leave London for the Shetland Isles where they are to celebrate Caroline’s recent marriage to a Shetlander. Almost immediately after the party, one of them disappears and her body is found in a loch.
Reviewed on 20 June 2015 by Arnold Taylor
Manfred Baumann is a loner and a misfit whose sole source of pleasure is watching a seductive waitress in the bistro where he is a regular patron. One day she simply disappears in circumstances that lead to his coming under suspicion.
Reviewed on 23 May 2015 by Arnold Taylor
Maigret is asked by an old friend to look into the case of a former pupil of his who has been arrested for murder in the fishing port of Fécamp after returning from three months at sea. He agrees and enters a dark and seemingly mysterious world
Reviewed on 08 May 2015 by Arnold Taylor
A young Arab girl is murdered in Libya and there appears to be no discernible motive. Thirteen years later an almost identical murder takes place in Rome. Commissario Michele Balistreri knows that the two crimes are connected and that a solution to one will lead to a solution of the other.
Reviewed on 18 April 2015 by Arnold Taylor
Detective Inspector Ellen Kelly no longer feels she needs the counselling sessions following her killing of a man in the performance of her duty. But her new boss doesn’t trust her and insists on dictating the course of her investigation into a serious and potentially dangerous case of stalking.
Reviewed on 04 April 2015 by Arnold Taylor
Jason Stafford is recruited by the family of a hugely wealthy fraudster who has just died in prison. His accounts just don’t seem to make sense and his family is convinced that a vast amount of money has been hidden away. Jason’s task is to locate it.
Reviewed on 21 March 2015 by Arnold Taylor
Charles Thoroughgood, the newly-appointed head of a revamped MI6, is presented almost immediately with the problem of cyber attacks on the UK. At the same time one of his field agents is murdered and a former colleague who turned traitor escapes from prison.
Reviewed on 21 February 2015 by Arnold Taylor
Jean Duclos, a French university professor, is on a lecture tour and has just given a talk at Delfzijl, a small town in Holland, when the owner of the house in which he is a guest is shot dead. Maigret is sent there in an unofficial capacity at the request of the university at which M. Duclos teaches.
Reviewed on 07 February 2015 by Arnold Taylor
Post WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden, the CIA is fast losing credibility. The president appoints as CIA Director Graham Weber, a wealthy businessman and a member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, with full authority to make any changes he considers necessary,
Reviewed on 24 January 2015 by Arnold Taylor
Whilst keeping watch on the occupant of a house in Paris, Louis Kehlweiler, now made redundant by the Justice Department, spots something that turns out to be a small human bone. In spite of being ridiculed by the police when he takes it to them, he decides to investigate.
Reviewed on 15 November 2014 by Arnold Taylor
On the day that Italy won the World Cup in 1982 a young and very beautiful girl is murdered. Twenty-four years later, with that murder still unsolved, Italy again wins the World Cup and again a young girl is murdered. Commissario Michele Balestreri blames himself for having failed to solve the earlier crime and is determined to solve this one.
Reviewed on 01 November 2014 by Arnold Taylor
A fearless reporter, Tatiana Petrovna, is found dead, apparently having committed suicide by throwing herself from the sixth floor of an apartment block. At about the same time a billionaire Mafia chief is shot dead. As Senior Investigator, Arkady Renko, looks into the first case, he comes to believe that it is in some way connected with the second.
Reviewed on 18 October 2014 by Arnold Taylor
James Maxted is informed that his diplomat father has been accidentally killed in Paris whilst attending the Versailles peace talks in 1919. He’s not convinced of the cause of death and in spite of danger to his own life, begins to investigate.
Reviewed on 04 October 2014 by Arnold Taylor
Lemuel Gunn has been forcibly retired by the CIA and is seeking to make a living as a private detective. Enter the alluring Ornella Neppi who asks him to locate a man called Emilio Gava, a drug dealer who she suspects is about to jump the $125,000 bail posted by her uncle. Needing the money and sexually attracted to her, he agrees.
Reviewed on 06 September 2014 by Arnold Taylor
It is August 1944 and an officer in the RAMC is enjoying a short leave in
newly-liberated Paris when, in a concrete bunker, he comes across a man drinking the blood of a woman he has just killed. Horrified, he runs away but he is to encounter the man again, with consequences for the remainder of his life.
Reviewed on 09 August 2014 by Arnold Taylor
The CIA deputy head of the Istanbul Station receives information from a mysterious man who claims to belong to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard that two Israeli embassies are to be attacked. When the attack is followed by a prediction that a station chief is to be assassinated it has to be taken very seriously.
Reviewed on 26 July 2014 by Arnold Taylor
A man is displayed bound and hooded on the internet with the information that he will be beheaded in 48 hours. Jackson Lamb, head of MI5’s Slough House, does not subscribe to the general view that this is Al-Qaeda inspired and begins an investigation.
Reviewed on 12 July 2014 by Arnold Taylor
It is 1909 and Maud Heighton has left provincial Darlington and moved to Paris in order to learn to paint at Lafond’s famous Academy. However, she finds herself short of money and almost starving and is grateful when she is given an opportunity to earn money as companion to a young, beautiful girl.
Reviewed on 05 April 2014 by Arnold Taylor
Following the conviction of Alfred Dreyfus for treason, Major Georges Picquart, who had witnessed the trial, was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and placed in charge of the intelligence unit that had identified Dreyfus as a spy. Events begin to occur which make him question the outcome of the trial.
Reviewed on 08 March 2014 by Arnold Taylor
Jason Stafford, an outstanding Wall Street trader, has just been released from prison, having been found guilty of fixing the books. He is unemployable in his former capacity and is grateful when the head of an investment firm asks him to look into problems caused by a trader who has recently died.
Reviewed on 22 February 2014 by Arnold Taylor
A man who has been told he has only a short time to live receives news that he has been left property in Canada. He refuses to sell it, as his lawyer advises, and decides to emigrate with a view to spending his last days on the property.
Reviewed on 08 February 2014 by Arnold Taylor
DI Ellen Kelly returns to work after compassionate leave and finds herself confronted by a case involving the abduction of a little girl. Realising that she is in a race against time, she throws herself into the investigation and pursues it single-mindedly.
Reviewed on 28 December 2013 by Arnold Taylor