The Honest Spy by Andreas Kollender Translated by Steve Anderson

Four stars

Available from Amazon

In this fictionalized account of a legitimate hero, Fritz Kolbe was a mid-level Foreign Office employee stationed in South Africa before World War II began. He was a widower with one daughter, whom he adored. In September 1939, after the invasion of Poland by Germany, South Africa joined the free world in declaring war on Nazi Germany. Fritz, as chief of staff to the self-important German ambassador, was requested to return to Germany by the ambassador. He berated and embarrassed Fritz so, that he chose to return.

Shortly after assuming his station in Berlin, Fritz’s ambassador was pushed to the side and Fritz moved to work with a more important official. This gave him access to top-secret documents that were for the top Nazi officials only. As his hate grew for the Nazis and Hitler, he found out what they were doing, he came up with a way to deliver the papers or summaries to the US. During the war years, he took remarkable chances to deliver the information. Additionally, he starts an affair with a married nurse.

This intriguing true-life adventure is well-told and worth the read of mystery, thriller, and WWII history buffs. It’ll give perspective to the life in bombed-out Berlin and neutral Switzerland. The only complaint I have is the way the novel is structured, you know his fate before the substance of the story, which minimizes tension. Still, a good read for the genre.