England. WWI. Philippa Cranston is living a normal life, as normal that is, as one can live when ashamed of your husband who is the only man not working in the war effort. She thinks him a pathetic coward. But when a stranger steps in though her parlor window when she is alone with her sister-in-law to-be, and locks it behind him, it quickly becomes apparent that he is a highly trained spy. An enemy spy.
With his good looks, charm, and a piece of unusual information, he quickly convinces–almost forces–the two patriotic women to shield him and help him in his espionage. What started out as begrudging help quickly slips into affection between Philippa Cranston and Lessingham–the undercover agent. Tension follows as suspicions grow and time is running out…
This tale of espionage and romance is a quick moving and gripping tale. Filled with action, LOTS of dialogue, and narrow twists. I certainly cannot fault the book for any lack of ability to catch my interest and hold it.
It’s the first book I’ve read by Oppenheim, the famous, wealthy, writer of thrillers. I enjoyed his writing style and am not at all surprised that his works were so famous (if this tale is a good sample of his work).
There was one major flaw in the book that kept me from really enjoying it, and that was the main character’s lack of character. Philippa was not only a bad wife after she met the dashing, deceitful spy, but was before he ever appeared in the story. As the book went on, I kept expecting her to improve, but she only became more irritating as the tale plunged on. Near the end she does start to do what she should, but for the wrong reasons. It is merely a change in circumstances that make her decide to fulfill her duties and do what is right at the end—not a change of heart.
And that is very frustrating in a main character!
The story was wonderfully woven with a few delightful new angles and tangles and mysteries not typical to this sort of spy story. It made for a good distraction and a quick novel when I was feeling under the weather one day, and I had great fun tearing apart all Philippa’s poor decisions and coming up with what she should have done instead… Nonetheless, it missed being added to my favorites.
I do love the title, a perfect name for a mystery. 🙂 Zeppelins are airships, much like the blimps of today, and were used extensively by Germany during WWI. They were not a threat to be taken lightly…so when this book came out in 1918 the title carried a strong connection to recent history, especially to all British citizens…