The Matchmaker: A Spy In Berlin

Mysterious Book Report No. 474

by John Dwaine McKenna

The Matchmaker: A Spy in Berlin, (Pegasus Crime, $25.99, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-643313-865-7), by Paul Vidich, opens in 1989 and life, as she knew it, is about to change forever for an American woman named Anne Simpson. She’s living in West Berlin, speaks several languages, works as a translator at the Joint Allied Refugee Operations Center, and is happily married to a German named Stefan Koehler; a professional piano tuner who travels around Europe.  As the novel begins, Anne is expecting her husband to return from Austria—where she thinks he’s been working—when a U.S. Embassy Official named James Cooper knocks on her apartment door and informs her that Stefan is missing and presumed dead . . . his wallet found alongside Landwehr Canal.  The investigators believe he drowned, but his body has not been found.  That’s when a German intelligence officer informs her that they believe Stefan is a spy for the East Germans, working with a notorious spymaster known as “The Matchmaker”, to steal secret information about NATO forces and equipment as well as how they’re deployed.  At first, when Anne digs into her husband’s background, trying to exonerate him, she believes he’s innocent.  But as more information about the man she’s been married to for only two years becomes known, she’s forced to accept the fact that Stefan has been leading a double life.

Set against the background of the end of the Cold War when the Berlin Wall fell and the end of the Soviet Union and East Germany, Anne’s world crumples, piece by piece as she learns the sordid details of her husband’s secret life as well as his treachery.  This one’s for hard-core espionage lovers who’ll enjoy the re-telling of a well-used plot.


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