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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boy's Own
To be honest you never really know what a teen thriller is going to be like until you start reading it. Never hearing of the author before I thought that this may be interesting, and was pleasantly surprised. This is being touted as a cross between James Bond and Indiana Jones, but really I think this is more like something by the great Eric Ambler - which those in the...
Published on 1 Oct 2009 by M. Dowden

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Old-fashioned action thriller that doesn't quite hold together
It's 1927 and T Drummond MacIntyre III (Trey for short) is the youngest son of a wealthy Chicago industrialist. A keen fan of detective fiction, he's excited when his father invites him to go on a grand tour of Europe, but his dreams of adventure soon disappear when his father disappears into business meetings for hours at a time, leaving Trey bored and fed up...
Published on 18 Sep 2010 by I Read, Therefore I Blog


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boy's Own, 1 Oct 2009
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Spy: The Constantinople Caper (Paperback)
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To be honest you never really know what a teen thriller is going to be like until you start reading it. Never hearing of the author before I thought that this may be interesting, and was pleasantly surprised. This is being touted as a cross between James Bond and Indiana Jones, but really I think this is more like something by the great Eric Ambler - which those in the know will admit is very high praise indeed.

The story is set in 1927 Europe. Trey is on holiday with his father, although he is left alone quite a bit as his dad is doing business all the time. First Trey feels that they are being followed, but of course this could be his imagination, after all he loves the crime pulp mags of the time. Full of historic detail such as Mario de Benardi and his Macchi seaplane and even the Citroen driven by Ahmet, as well as capturing the atmosphere of Constantinople with all the machinations going on at that time, you almost feel that you are there.

Whilst in Constantinople, Trey returns to his hotel suite one evening to find the place in a mess, blood on the floor and his dad disappeared. Trying to get help he comes into contact with Duan Hendek and his family, and with them and two of their children and the two Stanhope-Leigh children from the British Embassy they hope to find his dad. Unfortunately Trey is himself kidnapped, and the search is on for him. Will Trey be saved? Will his dad be found safe?

All in all this is a great little thriller, full of espionage, with spies and double agents, a family secret and lots of intrigue. Being an adult I would recommend dads to buy this for themselves, or borrow it from their sons if they have it. This is a brilliant tale told the good old fashioned way.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Graham Marks is right on the mark, 27 July 2009
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Book Addict - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Spy: The Constantinople Caper (Paperback)
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Trey and his father, a wealthy American industrialist, are supposedly on a holiday together touring Europe; however Trey sees very little of his father due to his business commitments. A fan of detective comics, Trey initially believes his imagination is working overtime when he spots a moustached man on several occasions, but soon he becomes convinced this man really is following him and his dad. Yet his holiday remains incident free until Trey arrives in Constantinople; when his father disappears from their hotel and he is nearly captured by gun toting strangers.

As the title of this book would suggest, this story really is a caper. Espionage, kidnapping, spies and unfortunate cases of mistaken identities are wrapped up tightly in an exciting and entertaining thriller/mystery tale set in 1927. I liked the story, enjoyed Trey's accounts of his visits to a variety of European locations, and I also enjoyed how the author incorporated real time characters from the 1920's, such as Lindbergh and his sole flight across the Atlantic (which I had heard about) and Thelma Todd (she prompted an internet search as I had no idea who she was). The story line was fast paced enough to maintain my interest throughout, whilst the various situations Trey found himself in certainly grabbed my attention.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Old-fashioned action thriller that doesn't quite hold together, 18 Sep 2010
This review is from: I Spy: The Constantinople Caper (Paperback)
It's 1927 and T Drummond MacIntyre III (Trey for short) is the youngest son of a wealthy Chicago industrialist. A keen fan of detective fiction, he's excited when his father invites him to go on a grand tour of Europe, but his dreams of adventure soon disappear when his father disappears into business meetings for hours at a time, leaving Trey bored and fed up.

All this changes though when they board the Orient Express and Trey discovers that two of the passengers are trailing his father. As they go from city to city en route to Constantinople, he becomes certain that something sinister is going on and is determined to solve the mystery. But once in Constantinople Trey's thirst for investigation puts him in danger and soon he's relying on a strange mix of friends to help him get of trouble - and even save his life.

In this old fashioned adventure mystery peppered with spies and thrills, Marks puts the reader in the world of the 1920s when people didn't have telephones and modern technology to get them out of scrapes. Marks has clearly done his research - there are references to historical events such as Lindberg's ticker-tape parade in New York and Trey's love for detectives is clearly influenced by the dime store fiction of the time - but sometimes the details get in the way of the action and makes the story drag.

Trey is a resourceful character - keen to get closer to his businessman father and desperate to do something interesting with his holiday. His Americanisms are a little overdone though and the reliance on 1920s slang became a little grating after a while. Still, he fares better than the two English children in the book - Christina and Arthur whose posh English accent and Bertie Wooster affections became very annoying, very quickly.

The story itself is bitty, with the meat of the story not becoming apparent until the final quarter when everything is explained within a couple of chapters. There's plenty of action, which is well-handled - particularly a scene where Trey must escape down the laundry chute of a hotel.

All in all it's an okay enough read, but the lack of cohesive plot and stereotypical characters makes me unlikely to read the next in the series.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rip Roaring Adventure for Boys, 7 Aug 2009
By 
Alessi Lover "C.A.D." (Knightley UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Spy: The Constantinople Caper (Paperback)
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A rip roaring adventure book for boys set in the 1920's.

I know the time era does make you think what youngster will understand or know much about the 20's era, but that is not a issue when you begin to read the book. Well at least it didn't appear to be one with my son just about to turn eight. He thoroughly enjoyed the book, this is the only one he has ever read that has been set in a different time era than now, so I was quite interested to see what he thought or made of it.

At least this book does not have a follow on, so can be read as a stand alone one.
Hopefully more books like this will come out by this writer in the near future, as I think both my youngest and myself enjoyed this adventure romp. One that has no mobile phones or games stations in it, gives children a taste of what life was like without some of the items they take for granted today.

It tells the tale of a boy called Trey who accompanies his father on a working holiday to Constantinople, Trey feels as though his father cares more about work than him, and Trey doesn't really want to go along with his father but has no choice. His imagination goes into overdrive, possibly due to the amount of detective/spy books he reads to fill his time whilst his father is busy.

Pretty soon Trey gets embroiled in mystery, murder and mistaken identity just to name a few of the happenings in this book. A book that will boys rather than girls would love, as the main character is possibly a boy that lurks in the majority of male adults (one who wants a fun packed adventure, full of daring, spies and intrigue).

The story rides along through various countries with Trey becoming scared and worried about his father ...... will that man be who Trey thinks he is? Where is his father really? Various questions go through Trey's mind, but what is real and what is not? Scary in places and has you gripping the pages (well it did for my youngest). Read the book to find out more.

A great book for a long air flight (just keep an eye out for you son looking at people on the plane though, as he too might just think he is involved in a adventure, but this time a 21st century one).
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great stocking filler for 10 to 15 year old boys, 28 Oct 2009
By 
E. Heckingbottom "elaineheck143" (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Spy: The Constantinople Caper (Paperback)
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I really enjoyed this book, finding it intriguing and gripping, and am sure that children who enjoy the Robert Muchamore series or The Young James Bond books will enjoy this one.

Set between the wars in 1927 Italy and Turkey, this book is gripping and intriguing. It contains a lot of the things that will appeal to boys of that sort of age - espionage, kidnapping, guns, car chases, escapes, traps and so on. The historical detail appears accurate, and there are interesting vocabulary choices which remind me of things MY parents and grandparents used to say - 'toot sweet and the tooter the sweeter' was one that brought back a great many memories and made me giggle!

Well worth a try.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most enjoyable; highly recommended for boys and girls, 18 Oct 2009
By 
Beansmummy (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Spy: The Constantinople Caper (Paperback)
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I ordered this primarily to read to my young son. In fact he is a little too young for it at 6, but I'm sure will love it in a year or two. I certainly did (at 30-something).

It is a real boys own tale, written with pace and in a style that maintains the reader's interest throughout. It is set in the 1920s, but doesn't ram this home unrelentingly like so many other 'period' books. Yes, the young reader will probably notice the absence of mobile phones and sat nav in the story if they are used to a high-tech daily existence, but the language is all modern (apart from some of the turns of phrase of the young English boy, Arthur Stanhope-Leigh who uses great expressions like "a beezer wheeze!"...).

Unlike some of the other reviewers, I found the main character Trey to be a likeable teenager, whose descriptions of boring educational trips devised by adults will strike a chord with any normal child! The book is ideal for boys, especially the large number who find it difficult to find literature they really enjoy, but girls will appreciate it as well.

Briefly, American teenager Trey, an avid reader of detective stories, travels with his businessman father on an 'educational holiday' - a European tour. He is largely bored with the trip, but becomes aware that they seem to be being followed. Once they arrive in Constantinople, he encourages their driver, Ahmet, to help him keep an eye on their pursuers.

Meantime he strikes up a grudging friendship with the very English Stanhope-Leigh children with whom he is unwillingly thrust together by his father to keep him occupied, and with some local children whose father just happens to be the resident hub of information. His father disappears in mysterious circumstances and then Trey himself is kidnapped. He escapes, and strives to return to Constantinople to find his father, while back in the city, his friends are doing all they can to track him and his kidnappers down. Evidence suggests that his father might actually be a German spy...

It all climaxes with a classic show-down, complete with guns and baddies. No-one gets hurt, but the good guys save the day, and everything turns out well. The denouement is possibly slightly disappointing for an adult reader used to more complex tales, but very satisfying for a novice detective-story reader; it is certainly not expected from the story so far, but is a rather trite reveal along the lines of "oh it was all a dream" or "the butler did it".

All in all a great read, thoroughly enjoyable and recommended especially to boys aged 8 plus (or a little younger if it is being read to them).
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A slow start but gets better!, 19 Nov 2009
By 
Ren (Newcastle, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I Spy: The Constantinople Caper (Paperback)
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Graham Marks seems to have quite a knack for setting the scene. Predominantly set in Constantinople and based in the 1920's, the descriptions were so vivid I almost felt like I was there, which is always a good start in a book.

According to the gumf on the back of the book, it's described as a cross between Indiana Jones and James Bond. I can't say I quite agree with that description, but there are spies and intrigue although no Bond-like gadgets.

Aimed at around the 10-15 age range and as a boys adventure is probably more appealing to boys of that age than the majority of girls. The book is a bit slow to get going, but the second half of the book is much more gripping!

In all, an enjoyable read for the children, and perhaps the odd adult still in touch with their younger self!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Likeable enough, but flawed, 4 Oct 2009
By 
Dr. K. E. Patrick (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Spy: The Constantinople Caper (Paperback)
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I tried to like this book. I even read it to the end, but not really because it was gripping and thrilling and caught my attention, but because I wanted to know what my children were reading if I turned them loose on it.

The biggest problem is the annoying voice which Marks assigns to the main character, T Drummond MacIntyre III. Trey, for short. For one thing, he moans and complains about his boring trip so much that I don't want to be going on it either. For another, Marks peppers Trey's descriptive passages with brackets everywhere, interrupting the flow of his thoughts. Here's an example: "Trey knew beyond a doubt that he had the will (he was a go-getter, everyone said so) it was just that he was more than a little unsure of what the way was."

Then, after 148 pages of Trey's viewpoint exclusively, Marks switches into multiple viewpoints for the rest of the book. This upsets the flow and rhythm of the narrative that had been established for so long beforehand, and it makes it seem either as though he had to add other viewpoints to pad the story-line, or that he couldn't control the plot in any other way. Either way, messy.

Finally, the ending just reminds me of "the alien behind the sofa" -- in other words, the denouement relies on something that the reader has never had any information about. Apparently, some crucial encounter happens while Trey and his father are passing through Scotland, but Trey only devotes two short sentences to his visit to that country as he briefly summarizes the journey that has brought him to the opening scene in France: "He had been taken on a car trip round various Scottish castles -- Scotland being the land of his forefathers, as he'd constantly been reminded by his actual father. From Edinburgh ("the Athens of the North, son, the Athens of the North", which didn't, thought Trey, say much for Athens itself) they'd gone on to visit London ...".

Then 268 pages later, Trey's father says, "You recall that rather grand place we stayed in just outside Inverness, up in Scotland?" Trey nodded; 'rather grand' hardly described it, the place was a castle and staying there had been something of a high point in an otherwise dull-so-far trip."

So much of a high point, it isn't even mentioned. To me, it felt as though vital clues had been left out, and I felt cheated.

Of course, it's not a whodunnit. It's a boy's encounter with exotic places and mysterious figures, and I do think that Marks allows Trey to be a regular boy in dangerous circumstances. He generously sprinkles Trey's imagination with spy books and detective heroes, and the description of Trey's escape down a laundry chute is probably one of the most exciting, page-turning episodes in the book.

Overall, I think it feels like a book with two halves. The interesting, mysterious figure in the beginning fades into the distance after a fortuitous encounter in Venice, and then, roughly at the same time as all the new viewpoints are introduced, Trey becomes dogged by a whole new set of suspicious characters.

And, just in case you're wondering, I think the second half is the better.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Philip Marlowesque Caper, 17 Sep 2009
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artemisrhi "artemisrhi" (Forest of Dean) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Spy: The Constantinople Caper (Paperback)
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The cover of my copy talks of James Bond and Indiana Jones but this is really a Boys Own version of Philip Marlow. The style is a little over egged at the beginning of the book but once the story really kicks off it is really rather good.
I think it would make a great film.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Spy The Constantinople Caper, 12 Sep 2009
This review is from: I Spy: The Constantinople Caper (Paperback)
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I Spy, The Constantinople Caper is a good children's adventure story. The year is 1927 and the author creates a realistic picture of a time.
An American boy who loves detective fiction comics accompanies his father on a business trip to Europe, where he falls into more trouble than he has ever wished for.
Who can he trust when his father goes missing in a Constantinople, a city he discovers is a centre of espionage for the great European powers?
His only guide is what would his comic hero do.
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I Spy: The Constantinople Caper
I Spy: The Constantinople Caper by Graham Marks (Paperback - 28 Aug 2009)
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