IN THE RED by Clive Egleton


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Disappointingly episodic three-act espionage melodrama from the usually reliable Egleton (Missing from the Record, The Mills Bomb, etc.). Act one (Shanghai, 1949): MI6 agent Harry Freeland flies in four days ahead of the CommuniSts to retrieve small-time agent Howard Teale, unaware that Teale's been jailed and tortured by Nationalist Colonel Li. The mission is a fiasco: Freeland's pilot dies; Teale dies; and Freeland gets out by the seat of his pants after tipping off an enterprising newsman to his identity. Act Two (Munster, 1952): Freeland hears that Gestapo chief Joachim Hausser, who broke him in prison by cutting off his finger and who got his Resistance cellmate Chantal Kiffer to name names before she was shot, didn't die in the war but is living sub rosa nearby. Freeland's obsession with getting the truth about sometime love Chantal--he's convinced she couldn't have given away the cell--alienates his wife Jenny and his masters, but all to no avail: Hausser, now working for the Americans, spots the man who's fingered him, kills him, and gets killed himself before he can tell Freeland anything. Act Three (New York, 1954): Freeland's old boss Guy Salusbury asks him to take an anti-American Soviet defector to the Canadian border. Things fall apart, and Freeland realizes he's being set up; so does Jenny, who makes a timely entrance with a shotgun. What holds all this together is the not-very-surprising news that neither Freeland nor Chantal gave away that Resistance cell--they were betrayed by somebody who's been trying to thwart and discredit Freeland ever since. Solid as ever in its spycraft, but without the strong center that would rank it with Egleton's best.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1990
Publisher: St. Martin's