Then We Take Berlin

Category: Adults, Mystery, Novel, Thriller

Joe Wilderness is a World War II orphan, a condition that he thinks excuses him from common morality. Cat burglar, card sharp, and Cockney wide boy, the last thing he wants is to get drafted. But in 1946 he finds himself in the Royal Air Force, facing a stretch in military prison . . . when along comes Lt Colonel Burne-Jones to tell him MI6 has better use for his talents.
Posted to occupied Berlin, interrogating ex-Nazis, and burgling the odd apartment for MI6, Wilderness finds himself with time on his hands and the devil making work. He falls in with Frank, a US Army captain, with Eddie, a British artilleryman and with Yuri, a major in the NKVD and together they lift the black market scam to a new level. Coffee never tasted so sweet. And he falls for Nell Breakheart, a German girl who has witnessed the worst that Germany could do and is driven by all the scruples that Wilderness lacks.
Fifteen years later, June 1963. Wilderness is free-lance and down on his luck. A gumshoe scraping by on divorce cases. Frank is a big shot on Madison Avenue, cooking up one last Berlin scam . . . for which he needs Wilderness once more. Only now they’re not smuggling coffee, they’re smuggling people. And Nell? Nell is on the staff of West Berlin’s mayor Willy Brandt, planning for the state visit of the most powerful man in the world: “Ich bin ein Berliner!”

John Lawton was born in Washington in 1947, Lawton began his working life as a housepainter and gardener in the early 1960s. Settling in England he had a brief and unspectacular career in London publishing prior to becoming, by the mid 1980s, a documentary television producer at the newly-created Channel 4. In 1993 he settled in New York, and in 1995 won a WH Smith award for his third book Black Out. He went back into television in England in 1997, and by 1999 had dropped off the TV and books map completely. He returned in 2001 with Riptide (American title: Bluffing Mr. Churchill), which was snapped up by Columbia Pictures. For most of the 21st century, so far, he has tended to be elusive and itinerant, residing in England, the USA and Italy. He appeared in New York, in 2008, with a reading in Greenwich Village. Earlier the same year he was named in the Daily Telegraph (London) as one of ’50 Crime Writers To Read Before You Die.’ In October 2010 he read in Ottawa, Toronto, Portland and Seattle, ending up at the Mysterious Book Store in Tribeca, and later that year was named in the New York Times Review’s ‘Pick of the Year’ for his novel ‘A Lily of the Field’.

Lewis Hancock was born in Canada and now lives in Derbyshire. He trained at the Central School (class of ’76) and has appeared in rep at Cheltenham, Canterbury, Derby, Chester, Leicester, Leeds, Nottingham, York, and at the Chichester Festival. He has been seen on screen in Heartbeat (YTV), Dangerfield (BBC), Cold Feet (Granada), and Chasing Liberty (Warner Brothers). His personal vocal highlight is Clancy Sigal’s Goodbye Little England for Radio 4.

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