Out of Mecklenburg, Spy novels, Writing

Cracking good reads for winter

The forecast in the UK for this weekend, and indeed the forseeable future, is rain and drizzle with the occasional downpour!

I hate this time of year, but the only consolation for the evenings drawing in so early is that it feels an absolute *necessity* to curl up with a good book. In my eyes, Frederick Forsyth and John le Carré are the all-time greats. No doubt I will revisit my favourites in the coming weeks, but are there any other cracking good reads you can recommend?

By way of thank you, here’s the first chapter from Out of Mecklenburg. You can read it either by clicking here or simply scrolling down the page. Happy reading!

1

Monday 23rd June 1941
German Foreign Office, Berlin

It was terse, wholly unexpected and positively unnerving:

LEAVE CANCELLED. REMAIN IN YOUR OFFICE.
By Order, Doctor Alfred Wehmen, Assistant Under-Secretary of State.

Carl von Menen read the memo again and again, each time the author’s signature sending a shudder of fear surging down his spine. Wehmen, the spirit of Machiavelli. Why the hell hasn’t Clarita phoned me?

Convinced that the lid had been lifted on his clandestine life, von Menen paced impatiently back and forth the entire length of his office, wanting desperately to call a number at Wittenberge, but thinking better of it. If Wehmen has the merest hint of my covert activities, he’ll have alerted the switchboard and ordered all my outside calls logged.

He sat down, took a deep breath, picked up his phone and dialled an internal extension. There was no reply. Over the next three hours, he tried the same number repeatedly. No reply.

An hour later, his phone knelled into life. He reached hesitantly across his desk, lifted the handset and brought it slowly to his ear, as if he were half-expecting to be shot in the back of the head.

‘Von Menen,’ he said cautiously.

‘Carl, it’s me.’

Von Menen sprang to his feet. ‘Thank God! Where’ve you been? I’ve been phoning you for hours.’

‘Shopping; he gave me a few hours off.’

‘But I’ve been ordered to stay in my office and you knew I’d planned to leave early today. Why didn’t you phone me?’

‘Er… yes, sorry about that… but he wants to see you, immediately, with all your files.’

‘All my…! Why?’

‘No idea, but he was very insistent.’

Von Menen replaced the receiver and stared at the ceiling. He knows… Wehmen knows.

Continue reading “Cracking good reads for winter”

Character profile, Out of Mecklenburg, Spy novels

Carl von Menen

Carl von Menen is the protagonist of Out of Mecklenburg: The Unwilling Spy. He is only 28 at the start of the novel, a talented young diplomat who works at the German Foreign Office and keeps his loathing of Hitler well hidden.

Man with a briefcase on a train station

Continue reading “Carl von Menen”