Wednesday, 11 August 2010
The Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry
DATE READ: August 2010
NOTES: Paul Christopher is a somewhat disillusioned CIA operative who sets out without any official permission to find out who was actually behind the Kennedy assassination. His search takes him from Italy to Austria, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and North Africa. He has contacts in all these places and his ability to speak the local languages is very much a plus factor. It is a fast paced story – and Christopher is portrayed as a pretty heroic character (but he is not above getting others to do his dirty work).
Although first published in 1975 The Tears of Autumn remains fresh and relevant. An Italian colleague says: “You Americans kill whole countries and it doesn’t bother you…..but for America to be wounded – ah!”
The plotting was a bit overcomplicated and involved the Viet Cong, Viet Minh, the Mafia, horoscopes, dwarf Nazis, Cubans, African nationalists…… Even readers who were sympathetic to the view that Kennedy was killed as a result of an international conspiracy would have had their credibility stretched to breaking point!
However Charles McCarry’s writing style is excellent. “They ate a bad meal, cooked with contempt and served with scorn, in an expensive restaurant in Georgetown that was going out of fashion.”