Communist penetration- the ways and means -- has been a dominant theme in elen MacInnes' suspense stories for a good many years. This rounds out her contribution to this field with a story that probes the basics of brain-washing (whether the subjects be American, English, French or what have you); of the traps laid so that there is no turning back, of the ruthless, cold-blooded machinations, extending the reach far beyond the center. At the close, as the counter intelligence forces succeed in meeting the Communist plotters on their own ground, the threads are drawn together, and what has seemed at times hopelessly involved and perhaps over-detailed, comes into focus. Just what the goal of the Communist plot might be seems of minor significance in the revelation of the Master Mind, his aliases stripped, his web destroyed. The central characters- plotwise- are a journalist, presumably bent on etting story-- and a girl, assigned to accompany him, actually a skilled operator with charm, quick wit, and a certain savvy. There is always that extra dimension n Helen MacInnes' stories -- the philosophy behind the mood established. Always too a thoroughly realized sense of the importance of background, which in this case from New York to Paris to Venice. Suspense- adventure-romance -- holds the reader.