Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Furst, Alan: Spies of the Balkans

Like the previously reviewed book, this has an unusual setting though not as exotic.   The lead is a
policeman based in Thessalonika where he deals with sensitive cases that bypass the standard system
of investigation.   He has an affair with an Englishwoman shortly before the 1941 invasion of Greece
and when she leaves with some haste, he finds himself involved in helping Jews get from Germany to
other countries by following routes through the Balkans to Thessalonika, then leaving usually by ship.   A short episode deals with his army work against the Italians but most of the book deals with
the help he and colleagues provide for those who can afford it - not that he benefits himself.   A major
incident is his being almost forced to help get a valuable English scientist out of Paris which he does
before himself leaving Greece as the Germans invade for a career in Izmir coordinating the work of
those behind what are now enemy lines.   The book is well written and the fictional events take place
in real situations without straining acceptance.   However, there was a certain air of unreality about
the main character's activities which did, for me, somewhat reduce my appreciation of the book.

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