Mission to Paris - Furst, Alan
Summary: Arriving in Paris on the eve of the Munich Appeasement in 1938, Hollywood star Frederic Stahl is unwittingly entangled in the region's shifting political currents when he discovers that his latest film is linked to the destinies of fascists, German Nazis, and Hollywood publicists.
*Starred Review* Through his dozen historical-espionage novels, most set just prior to or during WWII, Furst has taken us across Europe, but he is most at home in Paris, which is why legions of his fans, upon seeing the title of his latest book, will immediately feel their pulses quicken. It only gets better. Recalling The World at Night (1996), which starred Parisian filmmaker Jean Casson dodging Nazis in 1940, this equally entrancing tale returns to the world of moviemaking, this time in 1938. Hollywood movie star Fredric Stahl, on loan from Warner Brothers to appear in a French production, arrives in Paris just as Neville Chamberlain is negotiating "peace in our time." A Slovenian who was raised in Vienna, Stahl is quickly contacted by old friends, now all Nazi supporters, who see him as a valuable asset in their "political warfare" against the French. But Stahl has other ideas and, like so many casual hedonists in Furst's books, finds himself drawn into the prewar cloak-and-dagger world—but not on the side of his former friends. There is romance, too, of course, but, as always, it carries that familiar carpe diem double edge, as lovers' attention jumps from one another to an unexpected knock on a hotel door. Furst has been doing this and doing it superbly for a long time now, and fans will note sly nods not only to The World at Night (Casson makes a kind of cameo) but also to Kingdom of Shadows (2001) and The Foreign Correspondent (2006). Is Furst repeating himself? Not really, but who would care, even if he was? Rather, he is revisiting a familiar moment in time but viewing it from a slightly different angle, through the eyes of other sets of characters. Thank heavens for that. It looks like we'll always have Furst's Paris. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Long ago Furst made the jump from genre favorite to mainstream bestsellerdom; returning to his signature setting, Paris, he only stands to climb higher. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.