Spies and More Spies edited by Robert Arthur (Random House, 1967)
Once more I delves back into the books of my youth with Spies and More Spies, another anthology for young adults by Robert Arthur. Now if I just had my Man From UNCLE briefcase with the radio that turned into a rifle. I wasn’t lucky enough to get the James Bond attaché case. At least mine had the hidden camera built into it.
There are 12 stories in this selection. Arthur did select quite a few literary gems. The Saul Lambert illustrations are economical and to the point. I wonder how many kids thrilled over this collection when they took it home from the school library.
My own favourite is “The Future of the Service” by Michael Gilbert. A spy has been detected with information detrimental to the future of an unnamed nation (I assume Britain). An assassin is dispatched to take out the spy before he can make contact with his handler. But the spy is killed by someone else not connected withy the service. Why?
Robert Arthur reprints his own story, “The Adventure of the Four Quarters” from the earlier Alfred Hitchcock’s Solve-Them-Yourself Mysteries (1963). Two teenagers are kidnapped by a pair of foreign agents because their father holds the secret to an atomic formula. They are allowed one message to him to prove they are safe. The pair is able to send their father coded information and they are rescued.
There’s also a Dr. Gideon Fell story by John Dickson Carr. Called “The Proverbial Murder”, Fell is brought in to solve a murder which implicates a spy. Naturally, his extensive library of knowledge comes to play. It’s nice to see a mystery icon included in this book.
Spies and More Spies is an interesting variation for a Robert Arthur short story collection. Unlike Thrillers and More Thrillers, there are no supernatural stories. Nor does the volume come with an introduction. But it’s still a fun read on a rainy afternoon