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The Torch of Tangier
Sequel to A Fly Has a Hundred Eyes

by Aileen G Baron

      If you have read A Fly Has a Hundred Eyes, then you will remember Lily Sampson, the American archaeologist caught in North Africa during WWII. Four years on she is now in Tangier, and digging up a Neanderthal site while Nazis and Spanish police strut around as if they own the place - probably because they do. Things take a turn for the worse when Germans break into Lily’s hotel room, and she is asked to help the American Legation by taking on an undercover mission as part of Operation Torch. By a set date, the Allies hope to control North Africa and have those Huns on the run, but Lily has a knack for getting embroiled in murder cases and soon the bodies begin to pile up, and the days tick by towards 8 November.

Fans of Michael Pearce and David Roberts take note, as here is a book that is likely to appeal to you. Like the former, Ms Baron revels in tangible descriptions of North Africa, and like the latter, she has a talent for getting under the skin of what life must have been like for an ordinary person in this period. She does not, I felt, have a great talent for telling a story (or creating characters that one can care about) and has an obscure, indirect manner that does not make for an exciting read. It was difficult to feel involved and was rather akin at times to looking down the wrong end of a telescope. But it certainly wasn’t easy to guess whodunit, which is always a good thing, and the plot kept me on my toes until the last page, possibly even after that. Like the first book, though, I was left with those wonderful descriptions of the time and the place, which kept the pages turning, plot and characters notwithstanding.

The Book

Poisoned Pen Press
January 2007 (UK edition)
Historical Crime - 1942, Tangier, Morocco
More at US || UK

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2006