Perry (Triple Jeopardy, 2019, etc.) kicks off her latest series by sending an English photographer who ought to know better into Nazi Germany in 1933.
Elena Standish may be four years younger than her more worldly sister, Margot, who was widowed by the Great War only a week into her marriage, but her grandfather Lucas Standish was secretly head of MI6 during the war; her isolationist father, Charles Standish, served by turns as England’s ambassador to Germany, France, and Spain; and she learned the bitter taste of betrayal from Aiden Strother, the beau who turned on both her and her country. So you’d think she’d know a thing or two about how to deal with tricky situations—and in her own way, she does. When Ian Newton, an attentive economic journalist she’s met in Amalfi, is stabbed to death during their train journey from Milan to Paris and alerts her as he’s dying that he’s an MI6 agent who’s learned of a plot to assassinate Hitler ally Friedrich Scharnhorst during a rally in Berlin, she instantly accepts the responsibility of passing on his warning to Roger Cordell at the British Embassy there. Elena has no way of knowing that Peter Howard, Lucas’ friend who’s still active in MI6, suspects Cordell of being a turncoat. Only after Scharnhorst is felled by a sniper’s bullet as Elena is snapping his picture and she returns to her hotel to find the murder weapon stashed in her wardrobe does she realize that whoever killed Scharnhorst intended to frame Ian and is now perfectly willing to frame her. Going on the run, she plunges into a dark world in which it’s impossible to know whom to trust, who’ll help her escape, and who’ll turn her over to the Gestapo. Although her adventures, which improbably continue after she’s placed under arrest, come fast enough to cause whiplash, most readers will figure out long before Elena who’s most directly responsible for her peril.
Sturdy woman-on-the-run period intrigue with a strong rooting interest and a weak ending.