Wednesday, the 15th of September, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

My pick for today is a book I have had on my shelves for a while (actually one from my parents’ shelves) but one I’ve been meaning to read but which had slipped my mind. I was reminded of this from a Goodreads group discussion of an entirely different book (a Christie, in fact) where a member mentioned this one. The book is The Salzburg Connection (1968) by Helen MacInnes. Helen MacInnes was a Scottish-American author known for her espionage novels. She wrote 21 of these and some of the early ones were set during the Second World War and involved ordinary people working as spies for the allied effort. Her husband, Gilbert Highet, who taught the classics at Oxford, also worked as an intelligence agent at MI6 and some her experiences travelling with him are used in her novels. Four of her books including The Salzburg Connection were adapted into films. I have previously read only one of her books, Above Suspicion (1941) which was also adapted into a movie version (which also I have seen).

In The Salzburg Connection, twenty-one years ago, a sealed chest was hidden by the Nazis in a lake in the Austrian mountains; its secrets ‘as deadly as an unexploded bomb’. Bill Mathison, a lawyer from New York, finds his routine business trip to Salzburg become a macabre journey in a dark underworld of spies and murderers–connected with the mysterious chest, of course. He also crosses paths with two beautiful women, one of whom betrays him–spies, secrets, danger–this book has it all.

I’ve always meant to pick up Helen MacInnes’ books but haven’t done so till now except Above Suspicion which I enjoyed very much, though it is perhaps a little slow moving. So I am keen on picking up this one. Also the fact that this involves Nazi secrets but is set in a period long after their defeat makes it sound all the more interesting. What also makes me want to read this is that I haven’t as such read very many spy novels except a few Graham Greene and barely any La Carré.

Have you read this one or any others by Helen MacInnes? Which one/s and how did you like it/them? Which spy novels are your favourites? Looking forward to your thoughts and recommendations!

Cover image from Goodreads; author info from Wikipedia; and book info from the blurb behind my copy (Fawcett Crest Books 1991).

Lisa’s pick this week is The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows, historical fiction set in 1938 in which a senator’s daughter finds her allowance cut off and herself having to take employment.

2 thoughts on “Shelf Control #151: The Salzburg Connection by Helen MacInnes

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