The public katzenjammer over the mysterious activities of super spy Gehlen shows no sign of letting up; instead, the din grows more boisterous -- and more confusing -- with each new gossipy revelation, charge, countercharge, memory lapse, and sensational tale of international cat-and-mouse. Was Martin Bormann, Hitler's deputy, a Soviet Rote Kapelle agent as claimed by Gehlen in his memoirs (serialized in the German paper Die Welt and scheduled for bestsellerdom in the U.S. later this year)? Or is this a ""feebleminded, fantastic and false statement"" as contended by former director of West German counterespionage and alleged defector Dr. Otto John in the Times recently? Or is Simon Wiesenthal, head of the Jewish Documentation Center in Vienna, right in saying that Bormann escaped to South America? Moreover, were Gehlen's reports of Soviet military strength ignored by Hitler? What was Gehlen's real role in the French Picard affair? The Der Spiegel affair which brought down Strauss? How did Gehlen manage to scoop the CIA and British intelligence by acquiring the text of Khrushchev's destalinization speech in a matter of weeks? Cookridge's relatively low-keyed, exhaustively researched biography of Gehlen -- the man who ""found his inspiration in the dark corridors of intrigue and subversion"" first as Hitler's chief intelligence officer for the Russian front, then in the pay of Allen Dulles and the CIA, and finally as head of the West German Federal Intelligence Service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, which he developed into the most effective anti-Communist spy network in the world -- not only clarifies many of these questions but provides a clear description of the labyrinthine apparatus employed by Gehlen. Given the insatiable public interest in the trench-coat set, combined with Cookridge's high journalistic standards and the: headlines already generated by Gehlen's upcoming memoir, this should do very well indeed.