The following is an excerpt from "A Woman Reading" from The Holloway Library official
Working at a library, as you might imagine, I brought home stacks of books everyday. My collection of borrowed books was unrealistically high and my husband was concerned that I might read myself blind. (Not to worry, my eyes are fine.) I put North From Rome on the top of the stack and began reading it that night. For me, the novel turned out to be one of those books that you stay up until 3 am to finish. It was just that good.
The next day I returned to the library and checked out every Helen MacInnes book they had (And you will find that almost every library has most of her titles. They might be collecting dust in a basement somewhere but they have them.) and proceeded to read them throughout the week. I found her books to be addictive. But then again, someone who was known as the “Queen of Spy Writers” must have known what she was doing, d’accord?
He offered cigarettes for ladies and had a strong sense of honor. A sort of James Bond without the ego or instinct for killing, although her characters always knew how to handle a gun when necessary. He typically was a writer, working in publishing–maybe a lawyer going abroad for business, and then he stumbled into international intrigue and danger. I mean, it was always an accident that propelled the hero into the plot.
And there was romance with a pretty girl and bad guys with a political agenda. MacInnes’ writing is almost Hemingway-ish in its understatement but always very witty. And the suspense is of the on-the-edge-of-your-seat variety. Many call her the precursor to Robert Ludlum (That’s the guy who wrote the books the Jason Bourne movies were based on–you did know there were books first, right?). Even though her stories, for the most part are set during World War II and the Cold War, I found her stories to be relevant and somewhat timeless. I mean, there will always be political unrest and countries using espionage in the interest of national security, yes?
What really appealed to me in her stories were the international settings: Rome, Venice, Athens…all places I love or imagine I would like to go. Often or not, the characters of her novels were racing from one fabulous European destination to the next. After reading her novel, you felt as if you had visited the cities that the story took place in, I mean literally walked the streets and knew your way around. And if you found yourself on the way to the areas written about, you had a genuine list of tourist spots, restaurants and cafes to visit.
for the rest go here: http://awomanreading.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/does-anyone-remember-helen-macinnes/