Wednesday, March 23, 2011

#11: Assignment Girl in the Gondola by Edward S. Aarons

Agent Sam Durell fights enemies on all fronts as China stands ready to launch a nuclear holocaust in Edward S. Aaron's Assignment Girl in the Gondola, a solid entry in the lengthy and underrated spy series.

This one from the early 60s has the Red Chinese sneaking nuclear missiles into Albania, triggering the involvement of various spy agencies including Durell's hated Soviet counterpart (who has a trademark knife blow that is quickly felling those around Durell).  Although many of the early Aarons novels seem claustrophobic to me, this one takes place on a bigger stage, with Durell jetting between Greece and Italy and involving all kinds of international politics and intrigue.

Although that plot element strays away from Aarons' norm, Durell still has the curious ability to find women who want to erase a recent trauma with a strenuous night of lovemaking; in this novel, not one but two like-minded partners.

I found this at a used bookstore and chose it to read next because I will be visiting Italy in a few months.  However, this one mostly takes place in Greece; but I wasn't too put out as I found it to be a really good novel in the series. 

I have discovered Aarons in just the last year or two and can't recommend the series highly enough to pulp fans, having yet to stumble on a lemon.


  1. Agreed. Thanks for introducing me to this series. I'm really enjoying it. It's interesting to hear you talk about the claustrophobic nature of his settings. I have found so far that the places he features in his novels really take on a life for me. They have a pretty good atmosphere. Can't say why, because he really doesn't spend a lot of time describing them, but they are memorable all the same.

  2. Agree! I am really enjoying these.