Mission to Paris by Alan Furst

Furst is in fine form in his latest offering set in the heart of Paris and in Hitler’s Berlin on the eve of World War II.  A master storyteller, Furst slowly unfurls a story of a Hollywood actor who finds himself in the midst of a clandestine espionage operation even as he films what may soon become another big hit motion picture on both sides of the continent.

There’s ambiance, glamor, mystery, extravagance, romance, surprise, and everything else that is necessary for a novel like this.  Historical fact is woven beautifully into fiction, and the larger point made about celebrity– not unlike many a celebrity even today– rising above the immediate demands of their craft for a greater cause.

For history buffs, especially of this era, it is quite the treat to learn of the palpable fear and loathing of the Nazi regime slowly overtaking Europe, and the sheer frustration of France and Britain awaiting the aid of the United States.  This aspect of the novel, I found most fascinating.  Even more so than the somewhat contrived ending– which was harmlessly pleasant– although a shot of adrenaline toward the end is always welcome.  Also, I noticed there were definitely times when I’d had to check the cover to make sure I wasn’t in the midst of a Mills & Boon paperback!

But on the whole, this was mission accomplished.


Leave a Reply