Frankie’s Letter

Written by Dolores Gordon-Smith
Review by Kate Braithwaite

With his dying breath, an American journalist whispers to Anthony Brooke that there is a gentleman traitor in England feeding vital war information to the Germans. Brooke, a British spy operating undercover in 1915 Germany, makes a dramatic escape from Kiel and reports to his spymaster in London. The dead man’s cryptic final words about Frankie’s letter and ‘star anger’ become a trail of clues that Brooke must follow to find the traitor.

In his hunt for the truth, Brooke travels to the country seat of newspaper magnate Patrick Sherston and is dazzled by the attractions of Sherston’s wife, Josette, while at the same time drawn to the honest bravery of Sherston’s niece, Tara O’Bryan. But Tara’s mother has links with the Sons of Hibernia, a group of Irish activists suspected of connections with Germany, and she is Brooke’s prime suspect until he finds she has been murdered. Events move quickly, and Brooke faces challenge upon challenge, scotching a German plot to kill the royal family, posing as a diamond prospector and putting his life on the line as bait to flush out the real traitor.

Frankie’s Letter is a treat in terms of convincing period detail and old-fashioned English manners. Dolores Gordon-Smith keeps her plot twisting and turning, throwing Brooke into fresh danger until the truth is finally revealed. The subject matter is serious and well grounded in fascinating historical detail, but Frankie’s Letter is above all a cozy, fireside read that would appeal to lovers of Agatha Christie.