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Book Review

August 9, 2012
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‘Mission to Paris’

Courtesy of Beaverdale Books

Review by Harriet Leitch

By Alan Furst

Random House



255 Pages

The setting for “Mission to Paris” is pre-World War II Paris. Fredric Stahl, a handsome movie star, has been sent to Paris for the filming of “Après la Guerre,” which tells the story of soldiers trying to get home immediately following the War to End All Wars. In the run-up to World War, many counties are using appeasement to deal with the threat Germany poses. Other factions in these same countries insist that the best approach is increasing armament.

Fredric approaches his time in Paris with anticipation as he came to the city from Vienna as a youth before immigrating to the United States. He finds the political climate very different, and although he feels he can avoid becoming embroiled in it, he soon finds himself the target of determined pro-Nazi forces. A simple interview is twisted to present him as in favor of appeasement and he is invited time and again to cocktails and lunch where the other guests attempt to enlist his support of the Nazis. It is during interviews with the American diplomat that he realizes he can and wants to work against the pro-Nazi forces.

The remainder of the story involves the exchange of information and money, close calls with the enemy, filming triumphs and missteps, and protection for him and his colleagues offered from surprising quarters. In addition to the spy adventures, a romance blossoms for Fredric. A major movie star, Frederic finds many willing partners during his stay. However, he is most attracted to a Parisian émigré from Germany. The conclusion of the spy action and the romance are not unexpected, but provide a satisfying end to “Mission in Paris.” CV

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