FINDING HOSEYN by Colin MacKinnon


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In this international identity-search mystery and first novel by an experienced Near Eastern journalist With nine years service in Iran, unmasking Hoseyn becomes as meaningless as unmasking Godot. Jim Morgan, a heavy-drinking American reporter in Teheran in 1977 (before Khomeini), is happy only about his beautiful Persian mistress, Pari, a London-educated worker in a British bank. One afternoon while going through a wastebasket at Reuters, Jim uncovers a simmering bombshell, a story by his rival Jerry Tobin about a street killing by terrorists in Teheran. Jim does a rewrite and sends it off to his own editor. Later that day at the Western reporters' watering hole he hears that Jerry and his wife have been picked up and packed off home that very day. Because of this story? The Shah Pahlavi--or SAVAK--doesn't want it out? To save his skin, Jim phones his editor to delay publication. As Jim Finds out, the man killed was an Israeli agent named Given and he was assassinated by Hoseyn Jandaqi of the Shohada terrorists. But no, he finds it's really Hoseyn Kiani he's looking for--""No end of Hoseyns in these longitudes."" Israeli intelligence as well is looking for Kiani. They're not sure themselves why Given was murdered, but if they murder Kiani they'll be sending a message to the Shah while rendering justice for Given. Morgan's search leads him through a massive series of masking companies in the US, Europe and the Near East through which the Iranian government (which is really two power structures existing side by side) is carrying on a clandestine technology-purchasing program that will allow it to produce nuclear weapons. As Jim cries, ""Every time we go looking for revolutionaries, we catch something else. Businessmen."" With its Byzantine profusion of agents, masked businesses with indigestible names, and lavish exotica of street life and place names, Finding Hoseyn has some of the attractiveness of Persian art itself, with its twists, curls, scrollwork and feathers that maddeningly resist any dynamism toward climax while leading the eye from ornament to ornament. All in all, above-average writing, but low-yield drama.

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1985
Publisher: Arbor House