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Monday, 22 July 2019

‘The Xanthe Schneider Enigma Files’ by David Boyle

Published by Endeavour Quill,
29 April 2019.
ISBN 978-1-911445-67-8 (PB)

Xanthe is an American girl from Cincinnati who finds herself in the UK as WW2 breaks out.  She is at Simonetta college in Cambridge which is not a normal college but more of a finishing school.  She is interested in becoming a journalist but her chances of doing so come in a rather strange way.  She had met a man who is involved in the government of Britain.  Because of this acquaintance she is asked to go to Berlin as an accredited US journalist for the Chicago Tribune.  Her experiences in Berlin involve her, of course, with the American newspaper reporters there including William Shirer who was to become very well known for CBS broadcasts from Berlin and his later books on Nazi Germany.   Xanthe is employed by British Naval Intelligence to perform a particular task in Berlin and then she is sent to Athens and later to Switzerland.  Her tasks in the two latter places are undertaken despite the existence in the UK of her newly born son.  

William Shirer is not the only actual person to be involved in this tale - Alan Turing and Ian Fleming are two others.   The atmosphere of wartime London, Berlin, Athens and Berne is very well shown with nice details of everyday life under such conditions.   The title of Enigma Files accurately reflects the episodic nature of this three-part offering.  This is a spy story and, in some parts, very much a thriller with Xanthe and her concerns very much centre stage.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer

David Boyle’s previous work is in nonfiction - economics and history. This book on Xanthe is also available as three separate novellas.

David Boyle is a British author and journalist who writes mainly about history and new ideas in economics, money, business and culture. He lives in Crystal Palace, London. His books include Alan Turing: Unlocking the Enigma, Before Enigma, Operation Primrose, Rupert Brooke: England’s Last Patriot, Peace on Earth: The Christmas Truce of 1914, Jerusalem: England’s National Anthem, Unheard Unseen: Warfare in the Dardanelles, Towards the Setting Sun: The Race for America and The Age to Come.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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