THE SEVENTH SECRET by Irving Wallace
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Another suspenseful hoax by Wallace, to whom strained credulity (a Russian look-alike taking the US President's wife's place in bed, as in The Second Lady, or a dying Soviet leader's secret trip to Lourdes for a healing new visit by the Virgin Mary, as in The Miracle) is second nature. This time he's mining the Hitler Lives fable--and he's done his homework. An Oxford professor, Dr. Harrison Ashcroft is finishing the definitive life of Hitler when he receives information that Hitler and Eva did not die in the famous Fuhrerbunker double suicide and cremation. But before he can completely explain all this to his daughter-coauthor Emily, Ashcroft is killed by a truck on a Berlin street. Emily decides to carry on in Berlin and her investigation reveals that her father was about to excavate the Fuhrerbunker, which now rests under the Berlin Wall. Meanwhile, from America, Rex Foster, a California architect completing a book on Hitler's architecture, falls in love with Emily and expertly helps her with the excavation. Also on hand is Nicholas Kirvov, curator of the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad, who wants her to help authenticate a newly turned up painting by Hitler of a dreary, grandiose Air Ministry building in Berlin (the only example of Hitlerian architecture to survive Allied bombings). As it happens, the painting seems to have been painted since 1945 by Hitler himself. . . Is Hitler alive? Quite early, we know Eva Braun is. And what is the secret of the hidden seventh bunker attached to Hitler's private quarters 50 feet underground? The answers are marvelously suspended for nearly the length of the novel, and that they are somewhat uninspired in no way undermines the grip of the storytelling (especially during the diggers' final break-in of the long-sealed Hitler apartment) in arriving at its varied anticlimaxes.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1985
Publisher: Dutton