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It's kill-Hitler time again, not an imaginary plot in this version, but the actual, well-known 1944 attempt involving a bomb in a briefcase. The imaginary factor here is the English and Russian involvement in that plot--the notion that both sides tried to stop the assassination (for an assortment of long-range, non-humanitarian reasons), deploying undercover agents to penetrate and monitor the German officers' conspiracy. American Richard Hailer is the man from London disguised as a Hauptmann of Grenadiers, who falls in love with the conspiracy's Girl Friday and becomes more and more reluctant to interfere with the progress toward assassination. Otto Jaeger is the German-born man from Moscow, whose promiscuous wife, coincidentally, is the one person who can shatter Haller's cover. Both spies, in addition to their interest in the Stauffenberg plot, are after the ""Ritter list""--a guide to young anti-Nazi leaders (half democrats, half communists) and the probable key to the political fate of postwar Germany. Though the convoluted present-tense action is further encumbered by overlong flashbacks (the tragic lost loves of Haller and his fraulein), the overlapping intrigues are competently threaded, with splice-ins for obligatory guest appearances by Hitler and Goebbels. Any Hitler assassination plot, of course, has a foregone conclusion, this one especially so, but the multiplicity of motives keeps bombed-out Berlin hopping, and those in need of an annual Adolf fix could do far worse than turn to sturdy (The Summit, The Man With No Shadow) Stephen Marlowe.

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 1977
Publisher: Putnam