Monday, June 12, 2017

Coming Soon: Girl in a Big Brass Bed/The Spy Who Was 3 Feet Tall/Code Name Gadget - Peter Rabe

Lobbe wants his painting back. Goering confiscated it when the Nazis raided Rotterdam. But now, years later, it has been located, and the German government wants to return it. So Lobbe sends his assistant Manny deWitt to Munich to fetch it. The painting is Vermeer's Apple Girl, Lobbe's prized possession. The mission seems easy enough. But as deWitt soon discovers, those who have the misfortune to come in contact with the elusive Vermeer seem to experience an early and unpleasant death. The sooner he gets the painting and gets out, the better. If only it were that simple.

This time Lobbe sends Manny to a recently emerged African nation called Motana. It's deWitt s job to negotiate the contract to build a road through the country. As usual, Lobbe doesn't muddy the waters with too much information for deWitt. But this time, everyone seems to be up on the project but him. Yum Lee, the Chinese emissary who also wants the contract, is one step ahead of him. Inge, Lobbe's delightful niece, is strictly undercover. And then there's his ubiquitous taxi driver, Baby, who is much more (or less) than what he seems. Just what the hell is so important about this road anyway?

As gadgets go, it was supposedly a fairly large one, large enough to fill a medium-sized factory. Manny's mission is to buy it for his boss Lobbe before the competition beats him to it. The mission takes him to England under the eccentric guidance of a pilot named Max Garten, and into the unexpected arms of Meghan Bushmill. Together, the three of them form a kind of team as they try to figure out who are the good guys and who are the bad guys and if it even makes any difference anymore. Because whoever has the gadget can destroy the world, and even Lobbe may not be able to buy his way out of that one.

I had copies of all these books in their original editions back in my younger days and never got around to reading any of them. (Sadly, an all too common occurrence where me and books are concerned.) Now I can remedy that because Stark House is reprinting them in one big volume with a great introduction by Rick Ollerman. I'm really looking forward to these.

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