Thursday, July 03, 2014

"The Courier" by Dan Fesperman

In Agents of Treachery, ed. Otto Penzler, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 2010.

In 1958, former B-17 gunner and spy Bill Tobin is working at the Federal Records Center, tasked with deciding which documents from World War II get burned, declassified, or locked away, when he comes across the file on Lieutenant Seymour Parker. Shot down during his first mission, Parker was captured by the Swiss and recruited by Tobin because he seemed the sort who would crack if interrogated by the Germans. Allen Dulles and the OSS intended to use Parker to pass bad intelligence to the Germans about U.S. troop movements.

I was drawn into the story as Tobin read the file and recalled his own recruitment by Dulles, and his part in setting Parker up as bait for the Germans. I learned along with Tobin what became of Parker after he was handed over to the Germans in a prisoner exchange fourteen years earlier. Fesperman makes good use of the file to frame this story, and of Tobin's current position to bring about some closure.

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