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Cold War Intrigue and Adventure

Hidden Target cover art

So, (like most of the world) I’ve been sick. Never fear, I’m not going to catalog my (piteous) symptoms. Even though Sick Happens, I’m more than ready to move on to the actual topic of this blog.


I know it’s wrong to reread when my TBR is full of new books, but when I don’t feel good, I don’t want new. And yes, I know I have talked about this before, but I’ve been separated from my keeper/comfort reads shelf for a while. I can—and have—lived without my comfort reads for quite a while, but when I’m sick, I need my comfort reads (see above).

So I was feeling sorry for myself until I found one of my keeper author’s books have been releasing in digital. I couldn’t afford to buy all twenty-two books again, so I just grabbed some of my top favorites and curled up under a blanket, letting Helen MacInnes (oh, didn’t I mention her name?) sweep me away from my cold to exotic locales and romantic adventures.

I’m better now, but still mulling how very much I still enjoy reading MacInnes books. I didn’t use to think about the author behind my favorite books. I was content they’d written them and I could read them, but an online friend pointed out MacInnes very interesting back story.

Cloak of Darkness screen shot

She was born in Scotland, became a librarian (#coolfactor) and married Gilbert Highet in 1932. This date would not matter, except it places them as a young couple getting ready to face the drama and danger of WWII. This matters because Gilbert, a classics scholar, belonged to MI6 during the war. This clearly had a huge impact on MacInnes, since she ended up writing 21 espionage thrillers over a span of forty years.

One of her books, Assignment in Brittany, was required reading for Allied agents being sent in to work with the underground in Occupied France. Three of her books were made into movies (the books are better), including her first novel Above Suspicion, a story that drew on her personal experiences traveling with her husband in Europe as Hitler was coming into power.

She wrote her last book in 1984, but it is amazing how still relevant her books are. In fact, her last books dealt with the rise of terrorism, which was pretty prescient of her.

One article I read called her the Robert Ludlum of her time. This 2014 article in the New York Times is also quite interesting, which brings up a point I’ve been mulling since I felt better.

If we forget our past, we will be doomed to relive it. And if we have to remember our past, it goes down easier served up as great fiction.

If you like a little romance and/or connected books, check out The Hidden Target and Cloak of Darkness. I don’t love her books equally, but there are all very well written and interesting. Here’s a peek at which of her books kept me company through my bout of the flu.

iPad screen shot

So, I won’t ask if you’ve been sick, just what you’d reach for if/when you were sick. Do you have keeper books that taught you while it entertained you?

I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value).  (And don’t forget that once a quarter I’ll be tossing in something fun from the Perilously Fun Shop!) Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month.

And yes, I’m late again announcing a winner! But here she is:

Kate Rudolph

Congratulations! AnaBanana will be in touch with you about how to get your gift basket to you! Thanks for supporting the blog!

Perilously yours,


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