For a while I've felt a little guilty about borrowing books and then returning them unread, but I think I'm not going to feel guilty about this anymore. In thinking about my little project to keep my library's fiction books circulating, it seems a good thing to borrow them and hope to read them rather than assume I won't get to them and leave them on the shelf untouched and ignored. So this week's book rescue is one that I already had on my list to read, and how handy that my library has a number of her works! I think Helen MacInnes's works are now out of print, so it's fortunate that I have access to so many of them.
MacInnes wrote quite a few books in the spy/thriller genre. Her career spanned some forty years. She was born in Scotland, worked as a librarian where she met her husband and eventually moved to New York. Her first novel, Above Suspicion, was published in 1941 and made into a movie a few years later. It concerns a newlywed couple who get mixed up spying on the Nazis while on their honeymoon. It seems to have been quite popular at the time it was published if the New York Times is anything to go by.
"Mark down on your pending reading reading list Helen MacInnes's thriller called Above Suspicion. Put ** after it, for that matter, if you can abide thrillers at all. I can't, as a rule, but this one seems to be A-1 and fairly wonderful, even unto some terrific business about a big, black, stolen, swastika-hung Mercedes, a series of forged passports and a fierce and ultimately spitted dog. Perhaps I am prejudiced: I read it the other afternoon while taking a four-hour train ride in an open-windowed, plush-upholstered day coach, with the temperature up around 85 or 90 and the New York Central's best quality of soot and cinders in my hair. Under the circumstances, any novelist should have been a nuisance or a menace, but Miss MacInnes was a comfort and an angel in disguise."
Well, there won't be any 85 or 90 degree temperatures here anytime soon (wishful thinking), but maybe it will do just as well on a cooler day? I'm still reading Daniel Silva, but I now have this one on my pile to get to sometime soon. By the way I haven't a clue what the writer means by an "ultimately spitted dog", but I am transcribing my quote faithfully.
"Miss MacInnes's highly educated spy story should do for almost any Summer reading list. The directors of the N. Y. C. could do worse than install a copy in every open-windowed car running north of Harmon between now and Labor Day."
*Quotes taken from the New York Times, Jul 9, 1941.