A Compelling Read
Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook by Celia Rees is a marvellous historical suspense that captivated me from the start.
World War II is over but the hunt for Nazi war criminals in just beginning. Ordinary men and women were recruited in Britain to do ordinary jobs in Germany but were to seek out the worst perpetrators to bring them to justice. There was a conflict between those wanting to see justice served and those wanting to use the brains of the scientists for progress. Each agent had to decide to which department they were reporting. It was a time of concealment of truth, mistrust, deceit and the twisting of facts. Each person could only be responsible for their own choices. Each person had to live with the consequences of their actions.
The reader witnesses the war criminals trying to justify what they had done. “I saw what I wanted to see … The acceptable version of things.” Too many people turned a blind eye to the persecution of others. There were many with blood on their hands. They were guilty of doing nothing.
The war criminals used cunning and lies to blend in. Even those trained in espionage and deception would be taken in by a front of innocence.
In 1946 there were still those in Germany who believed Hitler was alive and a 4th Reich was a possibility. These were dangerous people.
Much of the novel is set in Germany. The reader sees the destruction of Berlin and Hamburg. We are reminded that cities in Britain suffered a similar fate, in particular Coventry in November 1940.
The novel was extremely well written and captured my attention from the start. Celia Rees drew me in and I ‘journeyed’ through the novel as the lead character. Comprehensive descriptions enabled me to ‘see’ the various locations.
Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook was a compelling read that entertained and also horrified me. I did gasp out loud at times as horrendous situations struck at my heart. I cannot wait to read more by Celia Rees.
I received a free copy from Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.