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Monday 20 February 2023

‘Mission to Paris’ by Alan Furst

Published by Weidenfield & Nicolson,
7 March 2013.
ISBN: 978-0-75382898-4

Paris 1938, and World War II is all too clearly on the horizon. Adolf Hitler’s Germany is determined to wreak revenge on France for defeat in World War I, beginning with political warfare, prior to armed conquest and subjugation. The task is allotted to a small bureau in the Reich Foreign Ministry; the objective is to identify individuals who can be suborned into serving Germany’s purposes rather than those of France. The method chosen is to begin with a little inducement followed by more obvious bribery, then greater pressure amounting to threats of violence which, it is clear, will be carried out.


Fredric Stahl is just the sort of person that the bureau’s operators would like to use. Now a well-known Hollywood filmstar but formerly from Vienna with Slovenian and Austrian parents, he is returning to Paris to make a film. In Paris there is a network of prominent German expatriates whose members pursue Stahl with a view to drawing him into acting as a propaganda tool. Stahl, aware of being manipulated, reacts angrily to these attempts. But then events as well as meetings with US embassy officials motivate Stahl to do more, to become an observer and reporter of what is going on, and then to become yet more involved, leading to a dangerous trip to Berlin and to contact with a double agent linked to the highest echelons of Nazi society.


This book is one of a number by Furst depicting events leading up to and during World War II. It is an immensely well-written, well-crafted book with suspense growing from the first page until the very end. I found it unputdownable.


Reviewer: Radmila May

Alan Furst  has lived for long periods in France, especially in Paris, and has travelled as a journalist in Eastern Europe and Russia. He has written extensively for Esquire and the International Herald Tribune.

Radmila May
was born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice. Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does occasional work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and updating of her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence published late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly criminal flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens

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