03 March 2013

Review: Above Suspicion

Above Suspicion
Above Suspicion by Helen MacInnes

My rating: 0 of 5 stars

For as much as I enjoy spy movies and some modern spy books, I am woefully underread on the classics of the genre. I've seen a ton of Bond movies, but never read the Broccoli books. And when Above Suspicion landed on my doorstep last week, I learned that "the queen of spy-story writers" was not only someone I had never heard of, but was responsible for some important fiction to the genre. I suppose I should just dive in from there, right?

I'll say this much, first: I got to read the reissued version that Titan Books is putting out, and it's a pretty impressive tome. It's a well done paperback version, the text feels crisp and clean (I'm not sure if there was any editorial cleanup, but it feels modern), and the covers really bring an old text up to date. The book itself, while seventy plus years old, also reads quick and current, with little in the way of jarring wording or plot twists that would throw a reader off (except for the constant references to the coming World War).

The story itself is solid as well: Robert and Frances are spies for the United Kingdom, and are trusted to head out on a mission that very quickly escalates into a massive European trek involving Nazis and a lot of racing against time and each other. It's a story that dives in within 10 pages, and generally doesn't stop until the very end.

If I have some downsides to it, it's that the book does feel a little long (which may just be a relic of the time), even if it moves pretty quickly. Other than that, though, it's a story that holds up over two generations now, and the reissues are apparently going to continue for MacInnes's works throughout 2013. I look forward to reading more of them as time goes on, and hopefully they find a new audience in this new century.

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