THE MIDAS TOUCH by Walter Winward


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Solidly twist-plotted, slightly slow-paced WW II spy-maneuvers from the reliable author of Hammerstrike. The goings-on commence in September 1943 when a British agent is killed while trying to get home from Sweden with some Big Secret Information. So two agents--Scotsman Fallon, American McKenna--are sent to locate the agent's Swedish girlfriend, who might be holding that secret data; and though their mission is a failure (the girlfriend is killed, along with some Nazi agents), London soon does learn the Big Secret, from another source. What's the secret? The Nazis, trying to prevent another Allied bombing of Germany's crucial ban-bearing factory at Schweinfurt, are holding Swedish ball-bearing magnate Alfred Lunstrom and his niece Natalie at Schweinfurt--so, if the Allies bomb, they'll kill the Lunstroms and lose the vital cooperation of the Swedish ball-bearing industry! The impossible but necessary solution: Fallon and McKenna must infiltrate Germany and reach the Lunstroms before the soon-approaching bombing of Schweinfurt. This they do--with a daring drop, gutsy impersonation of Nazi officers, and help from a brave anti-Nazi German woman. But when they're all ready to rescue the Lunstroms, it turns out the whole Lunstrom maneuver has been a Nazi trap: a way to learn (from the Allied agents' loose tongues) the planned date of the Schweinfurt bombing, to be all ready to repel it and destroy the entire Eighth Air Force! So now the good-guys' mission is to somehow escape from their German captors and get word of the Nazi trap back to England: Natalie Lunstrom (whom dour Fallon will fall for) helps them to do this (her uncle is pro-Nazi); they kidnap a Nazi officer and hijack a plane. . . while the air forces on both sides are understandably confused about where to concentrate theft power as the scheduled attack-time approaches. Some anachronistic dialogue (""we'd better get our act together""), rather too much aviation filler for non-buffs, and a slightly disappointing windup--but this is still the best recent entry for fans of WW II espionage/military tangles.

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 1981
Publisher: Simon & Schuster