After reading a  book further along in this series and liking it, I decided to start at the beginning of the 18-book series.  (Don’t panic.  I may not get through all of them.  I may not actually live that long.)

The opener of the series featuring the likable Gideon Oliver, a  forensic anthropologist,  finds him on his way to Heidelberg, Germany, to take part as a guest lecturer for a teaching fellowship consisting of a two-month series of lectures at the United States Overseas College (USOC), which serves those stationed at US military bases in Germany, Sicily, Spain, Italy and Holland.

Keep in mind, this was written in 1982, and the Cold War was still chilly-ish, and the I Spy-You Spy thing was still  the Real Deal.  Dr. Oliver, (who I can’t stop picturing as Tom Hanks in The DaVinci Code), affable, self-effacing, improbably fit, lands in Heidelberg and lands in the middle of an internecine clusterf**k within the NATO Security Directorate (NSD)’s counterespionage bureau, and the KGG’s two spy bureaus.

Each organization thinks he is a spy who is courier-ing (is that a word?)  secret information around Europe, and he is attacked a couple of times,  his room is searched a couple of times, and all in all, it’s a pretty big leap from mild mannered professor to Espionage Agent.

The frantic search is on for who really is the mole in the USOC organization, and frankly, even I — the worst detective in the world — figured it out.

Some interesting side identifications of bodies through only a few bones, and of people’s origins, through language use and cultural mannerisms.  Which is why I am reading this series, not because the mysteries are all that fantastic.

Not bad, not great either,  but definitely readable.  On to the next.


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