Friday, June 26, 2015

Review of The Interrogator by Andrew Williams (2009, John Murray)

After surviving his ship being sunk mid-Atlantic, Lieutenant Douglas Lindsay is redeployed in Naval Intelligence as a interrogator charged with mining captured U-boat crews for information.  It’s a somewhat unusual appointment given that Lindsay is half-German and his cousin is a U-boat commander.  Headstrong and with a creative, ruthless streak, Lindsay is convinced that the Germans have cracked the British navy’s codes.  His bosses, however, do not share his concerns.  Finding an ally and lover in Mary Henderson, who works in the tracking room at the heart of naval intelligence, Lindsay pursues his suspicions, grappling with Jurgen Mohr, the most senior U-boat commander in British captivity, despite warnings to tow the party line or face disciplinary action.

The Interrogator is a run of the mill wartime thriller in which the main protagonist, Lieutenant Douglas Lindsay of British Naval Intelligence, seeks to crack a senior U-boat commander to determine if the British naval codes have been broken.  Williams’ hook is to make Lindsay half-German, bullish and reckless, and therefore not entirely trustworthy, and to add in a romance to the academic Mary Henderson who has been recruited into the naval tracking room and whose brother works with Lindsay (and needless to say doesn’t like him).  The plot consists principally of two, intertwined battle of wits between Lindsay and Jurgen Mohr, the U-boot commander, and Lindsay and his bosses.  The ending is pretty well telegraphed and the last part fizzles out and was somewhat unnecessary.  Overall, an interesting enough tale, but lacked twists and tension. 

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