Sunday, 13 December 2015

A Cold War Spy Hunt by a Crummy Army Newspaper

Thank goodness! A new and utterly wonderful book from novelist Tim Topps!

A Cold War Spy Hunt by a Crummy Army Newspaper tells the story of how Tim Topps, a recently commissioned officer (but one who does not feel in the slightest bit military-minded) is assigned to a laid-back army base in Shropshire, two years after the end of World War 2. Most of the people assigned to the base are "coming down" from the five years of the previous war.

But now a very different type of war was beginning to become noticeable, even at Tim's base. For this was the era when the Cold War began to become evident.

However, all Tim knew was that he was to perform the duties of an officer at the huge base, including being in charge of the stores, but what he might not have expected was that he would also have another duty dumped on him, that of serving as the editor of a "crummy army newspaper" that is "published" at the base every week.

Tim's remit as editor is to not only lick the weekly paper into some sort of shape, but to expand the paper, too.

However, all is not as it seems. For the true role that Tim is to serve  as the editor of the publication is to turn it into a tool (to "weaponise" it, to use a modern term) in order to trap a Communist sleeper agent who, MI5 is convinced) has managed to plant himself within the civilian staff of the base. 

In the meantime Tim manages -contrary to the rules- to fall deeply and madly in love with a very pretty and charming young ATS -who is also very good at her job- which merely adds to the general Mayhem of the situation as it develops and trundles along on its troublesome way.

Tim and his ATS assistant take their time but manage to narrow down the suspects not to a civilian worker but to an officer.

But is all it seems?

Is there a sleeper? If so, who is it? And who is working under him?

What is the connection with Southern France?

This book is an exciting romp, with some touching romance too, it must be mentioned, through the early days of the Cold War and is another must read book from Tim Topps.

This novel is available via the That's Books and Entertainment Amazon-powered bookshop to be found to the right hand side of this review. It will make an excellent Christmas gift. But may I suggest you order express delivery if you need it to fill a space in a Christmas stocking?

It is published by Matador in paperback at a very reasonable £8.99. 

(Incidentally your reviewer has a message for Tim Topps. When my father spent several years working as a civilian at COD Donnington in the early to mid-1960s, it was still just as laid-back as ever. And still is to this day, if stories are to be believed.)

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