Sunday, December 13, 2015

"Heilige Night": Review

I am currently in the middle of Michael Gilbert's short story collection Game Without Rules (1967) . It is the best collection of stories devoted to espionage and counter intelligence that I have ever read. I am pleased to know through Wikipedia that Anthony Boucher agreed with me. One of the stories, "Heilige Nacht," qualifies for my Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge. The action takes place in the divided Germany of the Cold War over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

A British intelligence agent is on his way to meet a defector, Joseph Bartz, with a briefcase of top-secret goodies when he is killed in an automobile accident along with the Embassy's contact, Captain Massey. Was it an accident? The defector is turned away from the British Embassy as "a loony"--"one of Massey's shady friends"--and disappears into the night. Has he been caught or is he in hiding? Calder and Behrens, two of Britain's top men, are sent to clean up the mess and find Bartz if at all possible. It would be an especially good Christmas present for England if he could be found intact with briefcase in hand. 

Not your usual Christmas fare with Santa Claus and presents 'round the tree, but a darn good short story in a collection that has not failed to please yet. With seven stories out of eleven read, I hope the quality continues. Highly recommended for those looking for an unusual Christmas story this holiday season.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really like Gilbert - ultra reliable in my view. Thanks Bev.