THE CANARIS LEGACY by Raymond Hitchcock


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From the author of Attack the Lusitania!: another above-average historical fancy. Simon Manning, a British archaeologist captured in 1940 Germany, is sent to Konteradmiral Canaris, head of Nazi Intelligence--who gives Manning a special mission: to witness the horrors of Dachau and then carry a briefcase full of documents to British P.M. Neville Chamberlain, thus revealing the genocidal activities of Himmler's Einsatzgruppen death squads. (Canaris, you see, is a leader of the group of generals who are trying to get Hitler out before he invades the west.) So, equipped with this fearsome evidence, Manning turns himself in to the British Embassy in Paris--but when his story is passed on to Whitehall, two peace-minded second-echelon officers elect to derail the passing of Manning's dossier to ""Neville."" Cuthbertson, the higher of the two, goes to Paris and talks with Manning, pretends not to believe him and leaves without offering him help. The invasion west then indeed begins; and while Manning hides in the countryside with some British fugitive soldiers, he's being pursued both by SS Obergruppenfuhrer Reinhard Heydrich (who's out to expose Canaris' plot with Manning) and by Canaris--who finds Manning first, gives him and his comrades German uniforms, and supplies them with a barge to cross the channel. Mid-channel, however, the barge is spotted by a lost British torpedo plane--which sinks these ""Nazis"" . . . giving rise to the story of a failed German invasion. A slightly dotty plot, with more than a few stock figures--but Hitchcock manages to endow it all with genuine ironic resonance, thanks to the topnotch dialogue and the moody sense of universal absurdity throughout. Unusually classy fare for fans of hypothetical WW II scenarios.

Pub Date: Dec. 12th, 1980
Publisher: St. Martin's