The Tears of Autumn

Charles McCarry

Taught is a cliche in a spy-fiction review. This 1975 novel is a masterpiece of the genre, though – a genre I have little patience for unless the writing is top drawer.
The story unfolds in the wake of JFK’s assassination, which McCarry relates to the plot to kill Diem. The way he sustains atmosphere as the hero, Paul Christopher moves around the globe, is worthy of close study. The dialogue, too, crackles. There are some rather old-fashioned monologues about women, which haven’t aged well. What’s best here, though, is the book’s examination of the workings of power, high and low, which fills nearly every scene. Heartily recommended.

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