Friday, January 4, 2008

Pavel & I-Dan Vyleta

Pavel & I
Dan Vyleta
Bloomsbury, Jan 22 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9781596914513

Germany surrendered to the allies just over a year ago, but the occupation remains everywhere in the battered country divided up between America, France, England and Russia. Adding to the despondency is the weather is icy cold as 1946 turns into 1947.

American G.I. Pavel Richter remains in brutally freezing Berlin. His friend Boyd White arrives at his home asking for help as he has the corpse of a local midget to dispose of. Getting over his initial shock, Pavel agrees to help conceal the body in his place for now. However soon afterward Boyd is killed and Pavel learns the body living with him is a Russian double agent Suldmann whose delivery package is missing. Pavel’s neighbors British Colonel Fosko and his prostitute Sonia along with German and Russian agents seek whatever Suldmann was carrying while Pavel just wants to get out of the mess he inadvertently finds himself in although he is in love with Sonia.

This is a fabulous historical mystery in which the atmosphere of Berlin just after WWI owns the well written story line. The prime players especially Pavel seem genuine. However the cast of a zillion support characters bring alive the war battered residents struggling with sustenance in any way possible as any pre war ethics mean nothing on an empty stomach; but intrudes on the main plot of deadly rivals competing to find Suldmann’s cache.

Harriet Klausner