Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Recommendations from Macaire

The Smoke and
Spectres in the Smoke by Tony Broadbent
Having survived the war, Jethro the cat burglar is hard at work trying to survive the peace by relieving the wealthy of their remaining treasures when he attracts some unwanted attention. His Majesty’s Secret Service gives him the option of pulling a few jobs for MI5 or going to jail.

In The Smoke, Jethro is asked to break into the Soviet Embassy. Simple enough on the surface, but nothing is as it seems when you are playing spy games. With London’s crime bosses and MI5’s special operatives looking on, the talented Cockney creeper has his work cut out for him.

In Spectres in the Smoke, Jethro is once again called upon to help defuse political threats, this time by retrieving letters and photographs that could prove embarrassing to certain members of the Royal Family and other VIPs. When the caper requires that he impersonate a wealthy, upper crust businessman at a country estate, Jethro receives a little coaching from none other than Ian Fleming and David Niven. Putting real people in fiction is always tricky, but the cameo appearances are well done and add a nice dimension to the story.

Jethro’s adventures in espionage in post-War London are suspenseful and entertaining. The author creates a likeable character and wonderful atmosphere, effectively evoking the time period with details of everyday life. The city of London, or “the Smoke” in Cockney slang, is a brooding, seething backdrop to a society going through tremendous change, and traveling through it with Jethro as he dodges both good guys and bad guys in turn is tremendous fun.
Tony Broadbent's website.

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