A German Jewish refugee working for the Intelligence Agency in Washington is called upon to return to the Fatherland to do a bit of spying on one his former classmates. Hanschen (""little Hans"") Goldschmidt leaves his mousy ITA niche unwillingly and takes on the accoutrements supplied by espionage specialists to turn him into a personal shoolmaster with a spy glass in the cottage next to Siegfried Gomul's mansion in Cologne. It seems that ""Sneaky Siggie"" of Hanschen's student days is now the owner of Genmany's largest automobile company and about to get the U.S. contract for Germany's first postwar fighter planes. The government wants to make sure of his integrity; Hanschen is the tool. In time he makes a place for himself in this ""new"" homeland by killing a gardener who remembered him from before, taking the deceased's wife for his paramour and being jailed for the murder. His prison chess partner is Sneaky Siggie who turned out to be a thief and traitor as well. After all, everybody is entitled to ""self-betterment."" In an effective telegraphic style, Hanschen tells his personal story which makes a lot more sense then the rest of the plot--stylized espionage, silly criminality, U.S. stupidity, West German ""miracles""--true enough perhaps, but overdone. With the possible exception of Little Hans, most of the book lies just outside the western zone of credibility and fictional merit.