LONG LIVE THE SPY by Charles Russell
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Sergei Roff, the bewildered hero of this absorbing mini-thriller, is a prosperous London travel-agent (of Russian descent) and middle-aging widower whose life changes dramatically when he meets and marries Valerie Newton, a super-rich young American widow. Soon Sergei is socializing, rather uncomfortably, with Valerie's tycoon-chum Laurence Kress--who talks Sergei into joining in on one of Kress' complex entrepreneurial ventures. And it isn't long before the mild-mannered travel-agent finds himself wrongly (but unconvincingly) accused of major embezzlement: under pressure from a regretful yet threatening Kress, Sergei flees England and Valerie, adopts a new identity (complete with plastic surgery), and starts a new life in Casablanca. Jump, then, to three years later--when Sergei spots his own death notice in a recent edition of a London paper! What can this mean? Feverishly perplexed, he heads for England--where he soon realizes that (a) the death notice was a hoax of some sort, and (b) that Someone has been living his life, an undetected impostor, for the past three years! Why has this elaborate scheme been concocted? Why has Sergei now been lured back to London--apparently to be killed? And whom can he trust, now that it seems that everyone (including Valerie) has been playing a role in this grand scam? Despite epic implausibility: taut, involving, Hitchcock-style suspense, nicely underplayed in lean, dry British style by US debut novelist Russell.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Doubleday