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Mission to Paris - not a great read
on 29 September 2013
I've read a few Alan Furst novels, my favourite being The Polish Officer, so came to this new novel with anticipation of a good, juicy read. From the beginning (and my eyesight is not to blame here), I found the small font size very annoying. Far too small and nothing like the usual font used in Furst's novels. It took at least 100 pages to get into and I set the novel aside for a time as it just wasn't working for me. Fredric Stahl is a decent man who gets involved in Nazi intrigue but compared to other Furst novels, this one dragged, although pre-war Paris and Hungary are beautifully described and Furst clearly has a love of the French capital. You can smell the Gauloises in cafes and railway stations.
I agree with the reviewer who said the Brasserie Heininger story has been told before (see Philip Kerr's Field Grey for his description) so it's become a bit predictable by now. Furst's women are a mixed bunch and they seem to be either femme fatale types (Kiki) or "plain" women like Orlova or even Renate, nothing in between, and I wonder if Furst actually likes women that much!
The ending was unsatisfactory, as if the author was in a hurry to complete the novel so I'm afraid this one will be consigned to my local charity shop. 3 stars at a push.