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Posted November 2, 2014
The Mystery Writers of America regularly ask some of the best-known authors in the thriller/mystery genre to contribute to a collection of short stories on a single theme, with the proceeds funding the organization. This volume, edited by Jeffery Deaver and Raymond Benson, is based on the Cold War, so it is no surprise that several take place in the divided city of Berlin and its famous Wall as a center piece. For example, Alan Cook wrote a story on how a father smuggled a young daughter from East Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie. .And another, by Raymond Benson, is set in the Austrian capital of Vienna, separated into Soviet and Allied zones.
Mr. Deaver presents the lead-off tale about a Soviet spy sent to the United States about the time of the Kennedy assassination to protect an unidentified “Comrade 35.” Sara Paretsky presents a very personal story which reflects a childhood memory involving her father. Laura Lippman created a clever story about a bored Baltimore housewife who becomes a “spy” with the National Security Agency at Ft. Meade.
Gayle Lynds and John C. Sheldon, on the other hand, turned their attention to another topic: the spies who worked to steal industrial or military secrets, clandestinely passing them off to their controllers. T. Jefferson Parker writes about a mother whose dislike of her daughter-in-law unexpectedly results in her son being arrested as a Soviet spy. John Lescoart is left to prepare a story involving the Cuban Missile Crisis. And Joseph Finder writes about revenge on a Nazi responsible for war crimes. All in all there are 20 new stories, each a gem in its own right.