About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The English Girl by Daniel Silva

(20. - 1045.) The English Girl by Daniel Silva - An English rose, Madeline Hart, disappears in Corsica. Her future had been bright:

With her television good looks, keen intellect, and boundless energy, Madeline was being groomed for a safe seat in Parliament and a ministry of her own. It was only a matter of time. Or so they said.

A few weeks later a video is delivered to the Prime Minister’s director of communications, Simon Hewitt, in which Madeline speaks of her sexual relationship with the PM, Jonathan Lancaster. With it is a sheet of paper that says:

You have seven days, or the girl dies.

He passes it on to the PM’s Chief of Staff, Jeremy Fallon, who contacts Graham Seymour of MI5 who reaches out  to Gabriel Allon, Israeli intelligence agent and assassin and art restorer. Calling on a favour Seymour asks Allon to find Madeline.

I was hooked.

Where should he even start? French police were unable to find a trace of her or even identify the man with whom she had lunch the day of her disappearance.

Not surprisingly Allon looks to contacts in organized crime who have access to different sources of information than the police.

He further contacts an expatriate Englishman, Christopher Keller, who is a former member of British special forces and British Intelligence. Keller is making a living in the dark shadows of the world.

I was surprised by a mystical element to Keller’s life. He wears a talisman and has faith in the visions of an elderly Corsican woman concerning the future.

As the search becomes more complicated Gabriel is called to a meeting at 10 Downing Street:

After a lifetime of service in the secret world, Gabriel had lost count of the number of times he had entered a room in crisis. The nature and setting didn’t seem to matter; it was always the same. One man pacing the carpet, another staring numbly out a window. And still another trying desperately to appear calm and in control, even when there was no contol to be had.

When the kidnapper specifically demands Gabriel handle the ransom it is clear there is clearly a personal connection between the kidnapper and Allon.

There is a disaster and Gabriel seeks revenge.

Gabriel’s search for the mastermind “Paul” is the best part of the book. Where the early section relied heavily on violence there was more intelligence in pursuing Paul.

You need to suspend some disbelief on what the Israeli Secret Service might do for an agent’s personal vendetta but the convincing of Israeli leadership was well done.

Tension built for a classic thriller ending.

The bodies piled up rather easily early in the book but there were none for several hundred pages.

Silva is skilled at moving the thriller forward. I wanted to read the next page and the next and the next. Yet I wished Gabriel used his fine mind more than his killing skills. It is smoothly written but I am ambivalent about reading another in the series.
Silva, Daniel – (2000) - The Marching Season; (2001) - The Kill Artist; (2003) - The Confessor; (2009) – The Secret Servant


  1. My husband is a fan of this series, Bill, and he enjoyed this one a lot. I've not got to it yet, myself, but I think this series is a good place to turn when one's in the mood for a thriller. As you say, it takes some suspension of disbelief, but there are times when that can be fun.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I am glad your husband enjoyed the book. Silva is a good thriller writer. He is adept at suspending disbelief. I wish he would put more emphasis on the "thinking" side of the thriller plot. He has the skill.

  2. I haven't come across this author at all, but I think, like you, I would be hooked by that storyline. Very intriguing.

    1. Moira: Thanks for the comment. Silva has written lots of books. Intriguing is an apt description of the storyline.