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A Game of Lies: A Hannah Vogel Novel    by Rebecca Cantrell order for
Game of Lies
by Rebecca Cantrell
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

A Game of Lies is the third in Rebecca Cantrell's historical mystery series starring journalist Hannah Vogel in Nazi Germany. And though I had not read the previous entries, I enjoyed this episode on its own and was able to follow it easily.

Though Hannah had previously escaped to Switzerland, where she lived with her lover Boris and her eleven-year-old adopted son Anton, she has returned to Germany as this third episode opens (against Boris's wishes), in 1936 just prior to the Berlin Olympics. She continues to spy for the British and plans to cover Olympic events, in order to keep her job with a Swiss newspaper.

To avoid recognition and arrest by the Gestapo (who still seek her), Hannah poses as Swiss reporter Adelheid Zinsli, lover of SS officer Lars Lang, who had previously saved her life. Lars has also been feeding her information on Nazi plans to send to the British. But there's something different about him this time - he's erratic and drinking too much. What is going on and will it put Hannah at risk?

Part of the reason for Hannah's risking Berlin is a request for a meeting from her old mentor, Peter Weill. But no sooner do they connect at the stadium than Peter dies in her arms - poisoned? As Hannah begins to investigate, and finds links to a Project Zephyr and to valuable stamps, she leaves more corpses in her wake, and is attacked herself before she learns what Peter had tried to tell her.

Though I found the characterization (and especially the relationship between Hannah and Lars) in A Game of Lies rather awkward, I enjoyed reading it for the atmosphere of 1936 Berlin and the coverage of the Olympics. Don't miss the Author's Note at the back of the book, that talks about the parts that are not fictional, including the impressive success of black and Jewish athletes (in 'defiance of the Nazi ideology') in the Games.

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