Fourth in the sixteen book series about an English secret agent. The first is 1951’s “Secret Ministry”(“The Nazi Assassins) The last published was 1971’s “Sunburst.” In this one Johnny has to stop the Soviets from taking over Trieste and rescue his girlfriend from the Russians.
British intelligence agent Sebastion Trout leads a team that captures Gregor Panagos. He’s a Soviet agent with a plan to take over Trieste. An offer comes in from the Russians. They’ll release a British agent captured on the Hungarian border and Marie-Andree Videl, Johnny’s girlfriend who was arrested in the Soviet zone of Austria.
The man Trout arrested claims to be Giuseppe Farinati, a radio mechanic from Genoa. Johnny and Trout go to Trieste to investigate. A search of Farinati’s apartment gets them nowhere. Trout puts an ad in the paper asking for any information about Farinati. A man named Partini gives Johnny a lead that gets him the name and address of Farinati’s girlfriend.
They go to her place. Trout tells her he’s from the Passport Department to distract her with questions. That covers for Johnny who sneaks in the back way to search the place. He finds a photo of her with Farinati they think really is Panagos.
The next day at his hotel a scared Partini shows up and says he’s being followed. As a cart comes by outside the noise distracts attention from a gunshot that kills Partini. Johnny goes to the window and fires back but misses. It all results in Johnny being escorted out of the city. The British counsel is afraid there’ll be a riot because the people believe a Brit killed an Italian.
On the way to Udine where Johnny will be held prisoner he sees an opportunity to escape. He takes it. Johnny goes back to Trieste and meets up with Trout. Johnny notices something in the photograph that changes everything. Lots of excitement to come.
This is a good series that got started before James Bond so no imitations here.