By Samborombón Bay, Character profile, Spy novels

Richard Blandy

We first meet Blandy on what proves to be his final assignment with Cadogan Ten, the highly secret unit of Her Majesty’s government tasked with covert operations.

“To his colleagues, he was firm but fair, a skilful planner, reliable, trustworthy and daring. A man with Olympic calm and reasoned authority, his voice rarely cranked up an octave, but when it did, people took note and listened.”

However, Blandy’s personal life is a disaster zone. He has a failed marriage behind him and is wracked with guilt for causing a car accident that has left his eldest son, Tim, paraplegic. Blandy is driven by a desire to make enough money for Tim to live independently with all of the special adaptations needed.

When Cadogan Ten is unexpectedly disbanded, Blandy starts up as a private investigator. He is tasked with investigating the disappearance of young German diplomat Carl von Menen, who was last seen in Argentina in 1945.

Blandy is intrigued by the forty-year-old mystery and lured by the potential for high financial rewards. But as he delves into the past, events take a sinister turn and he soon discovers that his own life is in danger.

Character profile, Out of Mecklenburg, Spy novels

Eva Schilling

In the final character profile for Out of Mecklenburg, I’d like to introduce the “dazzling” Eva Schilling, who becomes Manfred von Leiber‘s wife during the course of the novel.

Eva is a world-famous soprano, very beautiful and sixteen years younger than Manfred. Together, however, they make a good couple and their differences seem to complement each other. Eva enjoys the limelight of the stage but craves discretion in her private life.

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Character profile, Out of Mecklenburg, Spy novels

Manfred von Leiber

“‘Uncle’ Manfred von Leiber, a confirmed bachelor whose hair had turned prematurely grey at the age of thirty, was a handsome, robust and genial individual with a sharp and incisive wit… It was von Leiber who had instilled in von Menen his love for the sea, taught him how to sail, explained the complexities of terrestrial navigation and instructed him in the use of nautical instruments. It was a very special relationship.”

Manfred von Leiber is a Vice Admiral of the German Navy, based at U-Boat Headquarters in Bernau, but he is first and foremost a close and trusted friend of the von Menen family.

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Character profile, Out of Mecklenburg, Spy novels

Katrina and Jürgen Lanze

Katrina Lanze, née von Menen, was born in 1915 and is two years younger than her brother Carl. Although recently married, she still lives at the family home in Mecklenburg because her husband Jürgen is often away on duty.

Jürgen Lanze is a Lieutenant Commander in the German navy. Like Manfred von Lieber, his remit is U-boats, and he is often needed at Lübeck.

When we first meet Jürgen, Carl congratulates him on his Knight’s Cross, but he downplays the attention. He is highly skilled but modest and is far more concerned about the safety of his crew than earning medals.

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Character profile, Out of Mecklenburg, Spy novels

Hans Steiger

“One metre ninety and with a face like the north side of the Matterhorn, Hans Otto Steiger, the highest-decorated warrant officer in the entire German army, stood with his hand on the open door of a black Mercedes, waiting for a man he had served under for twenty-eight years.”

Hans Steiger saved General Klaus von Menen‘s life during the First World War, and the trust between the two men is absolute. They have risen through the ranks together and, although Steiger shows deference when they are on official business, outside of the army they have a firm kinship.

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