The Pawns Count is a can’t-put-down thriller about a female spy in the tense days when Germany and England were fighting trench-to-trench in France.
E. Phillips Oppenheim clothes characters from the era’s pop fiction with individual personalities and immerses them in detail his readers would have heard shouted by paperboys in London and New York.
The Pawns Count by E. Phillips Oppenheim
1918 bestseller #8. Project Gutenberg ebook #9836. My grade: B+.
Pamela VanTeyl is lunching with a British officer in a London restaurant when another guest, an explosives inventor, goes to wash his hands, and disappears.
When Pamela visits two of the restaurant’s employees that afternoon, readers learn that she’s much more than a rich, sexy, American socialite.
Pamela is actively pursued by German-American Oscar Fischer, a man her equal in brains and fortune. As long as America stays out of the war, Fischer is for Germany first, America second.
Pamela also pursued by John Lutchester, a lightly-wounded British officer doing desk duty in the Ministry of Munitions.
Before the novel ends, the intrigue has reached to the highest levels of government in four nations.
Oppenheim’s novel is more than a pleasant pass time: It gives a window into American attitudes toward Europe and the Great War, and lays the historical groundwork for the next war two decades later.
© 2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni