|Every Secret Thing by Emma Cole|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: An entertaining romp through continents and decades with a well-researched background and believable characters. Bookbag thinks that it would make a good holiday read.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 468||Date: May 2007|
|Publisher: Allison & Busby|
Journalist Kate Murray has been covering a trial in London when she is approached by an old man. He tells her that he knows of a long-forgotten murder and that he knew her grandmother. Moments later he's killed in a hit-and-run accident. Kate's grandmother, Georgie Murray, is obviously shocked to hear the news and tells the story of her Second World War activities when she was involved in top secret work for Sir William Stephenson's British Security Coordination in New York. This was how she knew the dead man - Andrew Deacon. As Kate tries to investigate the mystery she finds that the people she needs to talk to are dying and that she herself is in danger.
Every Secret Thing has been compared to the works of authors such as Robert Goddard and Lisa Scottoline, but I couldn't help but remember the books of the redoubtable Helen MacInnes whom I read in the sixties and seventies with their trademark romps across decades and countries. This book takes you from London, to Canada, New York and Lisbon with an exciting cast of people where the only certainty is that the goodies are quickly being killed off.
The plot is believable (even if it relies a little heavily on coincidence) and the research behind it is impressive. The settings are factual, particularly with regard to Camp X and British Security Coordination, where I had my knowledge extended and the perfect setting for the story. Just occasionally I found the detail excessive - the York House Hotel in Lisbon, for example - and was tempted to skim, but this didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book. I did guess who the baddies were at a fairly early stage but that was more by a process of elimination than anything else and it took nothing away from the story.
Where Every Secret Thing shines is in the characterisation. Andrew Deacon appears alive for the shortest possible time and then in flashback, but he's a charismatic and endearing spy at the opposite end of the spectrum to the usual stereotype. The relationship which builds between Deacon and Kate's grandmother is touching and very poignant. The heroine of the book is Kate and it's easy to empathise with her - she's feisty but with human frailties. I was grateful to the author for not resorting to sex scenes to spice the book. They would have ruined it completely and their absence lifted the book above the norm.
If you're looking for a good holiday read then this could be the answer. It's of far higher quality than most of the books you'll find in airport bookshops and will leave you with something to think about rather than a sense of having wasted your money. For another story which reaches back into the Second World War spy scene you might like to try Restless by William Boyd or Alan Furst's The Foreign Correspondent.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending this book to The Bookbag.
You can read more book reviews or buy Every Secret Thing by Emma Cole at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Every Secret Thing by Emma Cole at Amazon.com.
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