Friday, 18 July 2014

2 BY HELEN MACINNES


A couple more from the shelves. Helen MacInnes was a Scottish-American author of espionage fiction. She produced over 20 novels in her lifetime and has been tagged as “The Queen of Spy Writers.” (Sunday Express)

She was first published in 1939 and produced on average a book every two years, the last being Ride A Pale Horse which appeared in 1984, a year before her death.










She was born and educated in Scotland and moved to the US in the 30's with her husband who worked for M16. 








Her books mainly concern World War II and The Cold War and often have romantic elements in addition to the spy-thriller theme.  


I’ve not read any of her books yet, but hope to rectify that sometime in the next year or so.  











The two here were published in the 60's originally.



Decision At Delphi

Just another routine overseas assignment. That's what successful young New York architect Ken Strang thought when a national travel magazine sent him to Europe to sketch Greek ruins. 
What he did not know, until it was too late, was that from the moment he boarded the ship, he had become the pawn in a murderous game of international intrigue.
To Strang, danger was no object. He could take care of himself, but he had reckoned without Cecilia, his beautiful photographer. When he fell in love with her, he gave his enemies the one weapon they needed.




The Double Image



While carrying out research in Paris, American historian John Craig is surprised when he runs into his old college professor. Sussman is a worried man. A survivor of Auschwitz, he in shock, having seen and been seen by one of the Nazis who tortured him in the camp. But SS Colonel Berg has been dead for ten years – or has he? Before Craig can help solve the riddle, Sussman is found dead and Craig is being questioned by the police. As various international organisations are drawn into the hunt for Sussman’s killer, he realises that the ex-Nazi is far more than just a wanted war criminal.

Soon Craig’s search for the truth takes him from Paris to the island of Mykonos, where he must unmask a dangerous and powerful foe.

10 comments:

  1. She's such a good writer. I re-read The Double Image recently, and while I did think there was a little too much female helplessness, the story gripped, and the travel bits were great -- I defy the reader not to wish themselves in a (preferably vintage) Europe. I hope you enjoy your reads!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicki, a recent post of yours, re-awakened my interest in her and I managed to swap some books I'd finished with for these two.... so thanks, I think.
      Yes, the "damsel in distress" bit is possibly my only nagging doubt when I come to these, but I'm sure the positives will more than out-weigh the downside. Anyway I'm actually a big-softie at heart, so will probably enjoy this element the most....haha

      Delete
  2. I want to read some books by this author, but right now I only have one: Prelude to Terror. Will have to look for more at the book sale.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tracy, Prelude to Terror is the first of three in the "Robert Renwick" series, so you might want to find the other two if you can - The Hidden Target and Cloak of Darkness, if you're into completism. Otherwise I'm sure any of them will be good.
      When I get back to completing my challenges, either later this year, or more likely next - a MacInnes book could tick a lot of boxes - Scottish, Espionage, Vintage and get the female head-count up a bit.

      Delete
  3. These were the thrillers that my parents and their friends had on their shelves, along with Victor Canning and Gavin Lyall. I don't think I picked them up then, but it sounds as though I should give this author a go - vintage settings always appeal. I'm sure the helpless heroines have lovely clothes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gavin Lyall is another lurker in the library - not read yet unsurprisingly. Canning I have heard of, but never delved into for any detail on him or his books.
      I thought you might have read MacInnes already and am a bit surprised that you haven't. Secondhand copies of her books are cheap as chips around the net - just don't buy all 21 or 22 - that's my job!

      Delete
  4. Col, as with many authors I've heard a lot about Helen MacInnes though I've never read any of her novels. The summaries of these two books tells me that these are my kind of spy fiction.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Prashant, I reckon she would show up at one of your road-side sellers. Might be worth a read, if you cross paths with her. Some of her plots seem quite similar at first glance, but I think she's still highly regarded and I've not seen any criticism that her books were formulaic after a while.

      Delete
  5. Col - Oh, I haven't thought of Helen MacInnes for a while. Her novels were really influential at the time, but they're not read as often now. I'll be interested in what you think of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time to address that then! Thanks,

      Delete