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Elizabeth Verkoczy.

Toronto, Simon & Pierre, c1983.
163pp, paper, $9.95.
ISBN 0-88924-117-1.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Ellen Robson.

Volume 12 Number 3
1984 May

Don't judge this book by its cover or you may think it is a large size paperback teenage espionage-adventure story. This is a high tension story of a single woman living alone in her Toronto apartment who does not know that she is the victim of a KGB spy ring who want to infiltrate the American government. Unusual phone calls, strange incidents in her apartment and the disappearance of a best friend lead Gitta Vessey to fear for her sanity. Much of the action arises from or results in sexual activities, described in sufficient detail to make this a read first before purchasing for a school library.

Elizabeth Verkoczy was born in Hungary and escaped to England where she wrote technical articles on medical research before coming to Canada in 1966. She now writes short stories and novellas and is a member of the Canadian Authors Association and the Crime Writers of Canada. It is interesting that her heroine is also a Hungarian immigrant to Canada who is employed at Toronto General Hospital in medical research. Part of the enjoyment of this novel is the recognition of all the Toronto landmarks.

Many of the characters are stereotyped Russians and spies who are easily eliminated at the end. It is only through an accident because of disguises that the heroine survives and not because of any clever or timely action by the "good guys" that the KGB plot fails. The reader is left with the thought that another plot is about to be implemented and the struggle of East vs. West will be unending. In this story, the RCMP do not get their man. Overall this is an exciting read for mature crime novel readers who will have difficulty putting the book down. It is too bad the front cover looks like a junior level novel.

Ellen Robson, Winston Churchill C. I., Scarborough, ON.
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