A Small Town in Germany is a keeper, not a thriller

A Small Town in Germany is a complex, Cold War era mystery that totters on the edge of a thriller. In Germany, “an amorphous Movement* of popular resentments, popular protest and occasional violence” threatens Britain’s desperate attempt to gain admittance to the Common Market. As if that weren’t enough, Leo Harting, a Second Secretary at […]

Salzburg Connection is high voltage spy story

In The Salzburg Connection, Helen MacInnes returns to a theme she explored in her earlier bestseller The Double Image: Nazi activity in the Cold War era. This time, Nazis are protecting records that they can use for blackmail purposes when the time is right. Like her earlier book, Connection has an unlikely hero. Lawyer Bill […]

Christine is fake, not fiction

Alice Cholmondeley’s author’s note to Christine prefaces what Cholmondeley says are letters written to her by her daughter, Christine, who was studying in Germany the summer World War I began. A note saying the publisher chose to alter names of some individuals reinforces the idea that the letters are true. Christine by Alice Cholmondeley¹ ©1917. 1917 […]

Mr. Britling Sees nuanced view of Great War

In Mr. Britling Sees It Through, H. G. Wells gives an account of World War I from the perspective of an intellectual with an optimistic view of human nature. The title character, Mr. Britling, is a moderately well-known writer, who pens essays and articles from his study in Essex, England. Mr. Britling Sees It Through […]

In Secret: Ciphers, Espionage, Murder, and Mystery

In an American secret service office, Evelyn Erith opens a coded letter. It says the Germans believe Kay MacKay, an American concentration camp escapee, knows The Great Secret. MacKay must be eliminated. From that beginning, In Secret’s author, Robert W. Chambers,  sets up familiar scenarios which he promptly turns on their heads. The novel’s series […]

Rediscover Twin American Explorers Christopher and Columbus

Countess Elizabeth Von Arnim makes Christopher and Columbus a joyous romp as twin orphans and their staunch friend who “would have been very handsome indeed if he hadn’t had a face” put their wits together to figure out how to survive in America’s 1916 anti-German hysteria. Anna-Rose and Anna-Felicitas Twinkler, “very German outside and very […]

The Tin Soldier Explores the Why of The Great War

The Tin Soldier is one of the better bestsellers about why The Great War was fought. The novel’s centerpiece is a love-at-first sight story. Jean McKenzie and Derry Drake meet while Derry is tracking down his father who’s off on a binge. Jean has one qualm: Derry hasn’t enlisted. Is he a slacker? Jean’s widowed […]