2014: 34. Mission to Paris

"In Paris, the evenings of September are sometimes warm, excessively gentle, and in the magic particular to that city, irresistably seductive."

Mission to Paris, Alan Furst

Another recommendation from the estimable Misha P, this is also Alan Furst spy novel, and also a damn fun read. It's set in Paris, immediately before the war (1938-39).  Our protaganist is an actor, Fredric Stahl - an Austrian who long ago emigrated to America, and plays kindly foreigners in Hollywood movies.  Jack Warner has sent him to France, to make a new picture.  What Stahl doesn't realize is how political - and how dangerous - Europe has become since he left.  You see, the Germans want to use him as propaganda, and when he refuses (like all Furst heroes, he is on the correct side of history - a bit Mary Sueish, sure, but then, who wants to read about about someone who thinks the Nazis were onto something?), they get angry, and decide to take it out on our poor actor.

When I started reading, I thought the whole actor as spy thing was totally implausible, but Furst does a nice job both showing how the Nazis were so petty and power hungry they might fixate on this guy, merely because he snubbed them, and also how a regular person might end up slipping into a spy life, just trying to do the right thing (well, being a little extra brave, for sure, but that's why he's the hero, yo).  Again, I find these Furst books to be super entertaining, and the period feel - especially the paranoia/dread seems dead on.  They are little hard to swallow in that, so far, they all seem to have happy endings, but I've come to see that's the point.  It's entertainment, not high drama.  And in that scope, this is another very fun read.

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017