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More derring-do for former British agent, now classical artists' rep Mark Holland (Deadly Score, 1989, etc.). Here, at the invitation of Schedrin, the watchdog/minder of Soviet artists appearing abroad, Holland attends a piano recital of virtuoso Viktor Kaverin--who rashly announces in a press conference that his dream is to play for the American President. Naturally, this makes the international front pages. Then Kaverin enlists Holland's help with his defection, as well as that of his sister Irina, a member of the Bolshoi Ballet. Scurrying from Moscow to Bergen to Lausanne to Geneva to London to Paris, Holland shepherds the defecting twosome to a presumably safe spot--but the American agent assigned to watch them is murdered; Viktor takes it on the lam; Irina is kidnapped, and Mark has to arrange a trade to reclaim her. All seems well in hand again--until bit by bit things start to unravel: while he listens to Viktor play in his honor in New York, Holland uncovers a plot to assassinate the US President. Before all the spies, moles, infiltrators, etc., are unmasked, Holland will have to appeal for help from an old rival, M16 man Quentin Sharpe, then gratefully collapse in his impressario partner's arms, suffering from jet lag. Not very bloody likely, but the staging is worth a nice hand.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Doubleday