Friday, October 18, 2013

The Girl in Berlin-Elizabeth Wilson

The Girl in Berlin

Elizabeth Wilson

Serpent’s Tail, Oct 8 2013, $14.95

ISBN 9781846688270

In 1951, Great Britain and her Western allies are appalled by suspicions of Soviet spies in high government positions. MI5 Chief Miles Kingdom needs someone to go undercover who he can trust and has a strong socialist background as a cover because he believes a Communist mole operates inside his agency. Thus he assigns Special Branch operative Jack McGovern to masquerade as a Communist sympathizer in order to identify who betrayed the Crown.

Communist Party member Colin Harris leaves East Berlin for London. Soon after he arrives in England he visits the Wentworth’s to tell him he loves an East Berliner. When someone murders German physicist Konrad Eberhart, the police and the Intel community focus on Harris as the killer. Meanwhile Harris goes back to extract his beloved from East Berlin while McGovern follows him.

The Girl In Berlin is a terrific post WWII espionage thriller (see The Twilight Hour and War Damage) that plays out on a personal level even as major events unravel in the background (for instance the Burgess and Maclean spying betrayal). This exciting Cold War morality play focuses on the influential acting intellectually superior and untouchable while rationalizing collateral damage caused by their actions were for the good of the state (the second Iraq War comes to mind).

Harriet Klausner

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