In “The Geneva Trap” http://www.amazon.com/The-Geneva-Trap-Carlyle-novel/dp/1608198723, Stella Rimington’s 7th Liz Carlyle espionage novel, the spycraft shares time with a subplot involving Carlyle’s mother’s boyfriend’s daughter, who is being harassed by a cult for money to use in some terrorist scheme. Its a strange marriage for a spy book, but seems to be part of the story because the spy story is fairly thin, linear and overall easily solveable.
In the Liz Carlyle portion of the story, Alexander Sorsky, a Russian spy, who used to know Carlyle when she was a student in university, approaches the English and asks to speak to Carlyle. When Carlyle meets with Sorsky in Geneva, he tells her that he has learned of a plot to steal secrets from a US-British drone program. Sorsky says its a third nation that is involved in the plot, and not his own. Carlyle immediately informs GeoffreyFane, her colleague, and the Andy Blokus, the chief American spy in England of the plot and each nation starts the work of trying to find out who has gotten a hook into the drone program, which appears to be having outside technological interference during tests.
Carlyle, however is barely involved in the initial internal investigation part of the story as she is meeting with Sorsky – so she sends her protege, Peggy Kinsolving, to do the footwork of interviewing members of the drone program. Kinsolvings soon finds a security breach because of an amorous couple who are using an internal “drone only computer system” to send messages to each other. It seems the computer system may have been hacked.
After a meeting in which Sorsky reveals that a colleague mentioned while drunk that he knew of a third power involved in the plot, Sorsky is caught snooping and hustled out of Geneva by the Russians.
Meanwhile the Swiss are investigating the murder of one of their top spies, who was killed in an apparent car accident. It seems to be connected to the spy plot and may be someone who worked with Sorsky.
At the same time as this plot is unfolding, Liz is informed by her mother’s boyfriend Edward, a former soldier, that his daughter Cathy and grandson seem to be in danger from members of a French cult. Carlyle asks her lover Martin, a member of a French security force, to look into the cult, and it turns out that it is already being investigated by the French for suspected terrorist aspirations and there are agents in place. Even though the French go after the cult leaders, one does escape and a real confrontation occurs in England between the cult’s enforcer and Edward.
At the same time, as the English and Swiss close in on the spy plotters, Liz is kidnapped and threatened by the spy who caught Sorsky snooping and killed the Swiss agent. Can the English and Swiss save Liz before she is killed?
Although its interesting to read about the lives of the characters in Liz Carlyle’s family and see how there are tie-ins between her spylife and her family, I found this book wanting. The spy story was a little too linear and the family drama just not that believable or compelling.