Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Come Die With Me by James Eastwood

(AKA: Diamonds Are Deadly)
The third and final Anna Zordan novel is the best one of the trilogy. Too bad there were no more issued after this one was published in 1969. Perhaps the whole spy craze was starting to die down, maybe author James Eastwood wanted to move on to other writing. The world may never know why the series ended so soon. And the conclusion of Come Die hints there will be more to come. It has been forty years...we're still waiting.
The plot for this novel involves a script for a TV series by a British production company which was submitted to the "home office" for approval. As per the Official Secrets act, this sort of thing must've been routine. The series involves assassinations, sabatogue and political unrest designed to bring the UK down. In the interest of public safety, the production company was told that maybe this wasn't the best time to be creating a TV show on these topics and the idea was shelved.
But someone has started carrying out a series of terrorist activities. All of them are following the suppressed series. And someone just murdered the Prime Minister.
Enter Sarratt, the chief of the super secret intelligence service only known as "The Studio". Madam Minister once again summons the spy master to her house (kids playing in the background) and sets him loose. Naturally, he dispatches Anna Zordan after the script writer, who's fleeing for his life. Anna tracks him down quickly and gets at the bottom of his problems (hint: it has to do with family issues).
There's a side plot developing involving a financial wunderkind and his femme fatale traveling companion. They are detoured to an isolated island in the Mediterranean where a master criminal plots world domination. The mastermind has plans for Anna too and lures her to the island.
We learn a little bit more about Sarratt in this book. For instance, his lonliness is partly due to a wife who died 20 years earlier in childbirth. This explains his fascination with both Anna and the Minister. But we never do get a clear description of what he looks like. Perhaps this is part of the mystery.
It's a shame the series ended with this book. It was really taking off at this point.

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