A Question of Betrayal: An Elena Standish Novel

Written by Anne Perry
Review by K. M. Sandrick

Not long after her happenstance introduction into espionage, British photographer Elena Standish is asked by MI6 to find former lover Aiden Strother. Though labeled a traitor for defecting to Nazi Germany, Strother is an active MI6 agent who has been stranded in Trieste after his handler goes missing. Because of the abilities she demonstrated when pressed to carry a dangerous message to British Secret Service in Berlin in 1933 and her intimate knowledge of Strother, she is considered a better clandestine operative than a skilled agent.

A Question of Betrayal is the second in Anne Perry’s Elena Standish series. The first, Death in Focus, was released in 2019 and introduced Elena and her exploits in Berlin. This story picks up later the same year when MI6’s Peter Howard gives Elena the Trieste assignment. After all, she knows Strother by sight and he would trust her.

Suspicions swirl about under-the-table support of the Fatherland Front and its efforts to overthrow the government of Austria and make the country part of the Third Reich. Elena and Strother evade pursuers on the streets of Trieste as they search for the missing handler Max Klausner. Meanwhile, Elena’s sister Margot attends the wedding of her friend Cicely to a rising member of the Nazi Party in Berlin, and her parents investigate the untimely death of family friend Gladstone Channing, who has been tracking unusual movements of money to the Fatherland Front.

A Question of Betrayal lacks the tension of a world on edge with the rise of fascism in Germany and misses the chance to capture subtleties in 1930s Trieste and Berlin. A typical Perry novel, this is nonetheless fast-paced, light and lively.