Night Over Water by Ken Follett

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Some books are just great summer reads and this is one of them. “Night over Water” is part spy thriller, part adventure story and part Agatha Christie style mystery.  It’s September, 1939 and war has just been declared in Europe when a huge luxury Clipper airplane leaves England carrying a mixed passenger list of the rich and infamous. Among the passengers are a wealthy American widow, an aging movie star,an FBI agent escorting a mafia kingpin, an aristocratic Nazi sympathizer,  a dangerous industrialist bent on revenge, a master jewel thief and a refugee Jewish physicist whose fate may change the outcome of the war.  Everyone on the plane seems to have a secret and as the slow flight heads to New York, the sense of danger begins to increase.

Woven into the mosaic of subplots and dazzling dialogue, there is a saboteur on board the flight who has a personal motive of trying to prevent the plane from reaching New York. Follett is a master of storytelling and with novels like “Eye of the Needle” and “The Key to Rebecca”, he has the flair for mixing great characters  with sharp dialogue and the tension-filled nature of wartime Europe. “Eye of the Needle” is a taut novel about a sleeper spy sent to England to find out the details of the D-day invasion. When Lucy, a young English housewife, takes in a boarder on an isolated Scottish island, little does she know the he is the most dangerous German spy in England, “Die Nadel”-(The Needle) or that her life and the fate of the war rests in her hands.

In”The Key to Rebecca”, Follett heads south to the front in North Africa. Based on a true story, a Nazi spy, the son of European aristocrats with ties to Egypt is sent to pass  information to the Germans as part of  Rommel’s battle plans in the North African campaign. With his abilities to blend as a native in any setting and his skills as an assassin, Alex Wolff,  uses Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, “Rebecca”, as the key to pass vital war secrets.

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