British agent Michael York is sent to Berlin to solve the mystery of his predecessor’s death. A member of the Berlin String Quartet, four talented musicians, had offered the British Intelligence officer valuable information. But another member had betrayed him, and turned him in to the Gestapo. Each of the musicians has access to vital information and can easily be the one who betrayed York’s predecessor.
York finds the quartet difficult to assess. Amanda Hamilton is lead violinist and a former Brit. Her husband is a German citizen, Manfred Richter, a high ranking Nazi. She could be the Gestapo informant, loyal to her husband even with his indiscretions. An amateur photographer, she has chronicled ten years of life in Germany, and is a favorite of Hitler.
Erika Jaeger, second violinist, works in the logistics department of the War Ministry. Viola player Gerhard works as a draftsmen for the Armaments Department, with access to secret weapons. The last of the quartet, Albert Kaiser, has access to valuable information through highly-placed relatives.
With the aid of a British master spy, Max, York works painstakingly to solve the riddle and gather information for the Allies. He must tiptoe through the streets of Berlin, always cautious, always aware, knowing that a child could betray him as easily as a grandmother. He approaches each member of the quartet, watching and waiting, probing their weaknesses and avoiding their strengths. As the months pass, he observes and assesses, learns their secrets, and evaluates their loyalties.
Michael York must decide who is on his side, who is dangerous, and who is in danger. As the Gestapo slowly begins to close in on York, his friendship with Amanda blooms to romance and they plan their escape from Germany. Nothing can prepare him for the revelations that follow.
This is a well written and touching story of espionage during the zenith of World War 2. It reads like a mystery and most chapters end with tension so it’s difficult to put down. In fact the last 20% of the book is a nail biter. It’s a realistic and unique story that will keep you involved throughout.