I hadn’t even heard of Holly Roth before I spotted one of her vintage Penguin crime books at the Edinburgh St Andrew’s and St George’s booksale. I find that very few Penguin crime books turn up at sales so I usually snap up any that I see.
This book was first published in 1954 but it’s 1948 when the story begins. Terrant is an Englishman working as a journalist in Berlin, he took up that career after spending four years in the infantry during the war, before being wounded. Berlin is an exciting place to be for a 32 year old bachelor like himself but when he meets Ellen Content he realises that he has found THE ONE.
Unfortunately she disappears after just a few days, and it seems to be linked with nefarious Cold War activities. Two years later Terrant sees her name printed in The Times. It says – “Among the other passengers is Miss Ellen Content of New York, who after a brief stay in England, is returning to America to fill a series of dancing engagements.” Apparently Ellen had sailed on the Queen Elizabeth and Terrant had to follow the lead.
I enjoyed this Cold War thriller and I’ll read more of her books if I ever find any, but I am a complete cynic and really had to suspend my disbelief at the thought of a hard bitten reporter immediately falling in love and pining for years for a woman he had only met a few times. But that’s probably just me, I have very little of the romantic in me, which is a jolly good thing, and I’m sure that’s why we’ve stayed married for nearly 37 years!