The lead character in Mission to Paris is an Austrian-American actor named Fredric Stahl. Stahl arrives in Paris in late summer of 1938 to star in a movie as part of a studio exchange deal. Those were the days when the big studios owned exclusive contracts with their stars, and were mostly able to dictate when and where those stars worked.
The movie-making business is complicated, however, by the pre-war politics of Europe. Stahl is gradually drawn into anti-Nazi activites, acting as a courier to smuggle secrets out of Berlin. Another complication is a love interest, a German emigre costume designer.
As usual in this series, several recurring characters from earlier books return in Mission to Paris. In Berlin, Stahl meets the mysterious Russian emigre actress and spy Olga Orlova, who previously appeared in The World at Night and Red Gold. Jean Casson, French film director and protagonist of those two earlier novels, is mentioned in passing when Stahl passes the door of his Paris office. The Hungarian Count Polanyi appears as the owner of a partly-ruined castle used as a filming location. And, of course, the Brasserie Heininger - which I believe appears in every one of these novels - is the setting for a Paris dinner.
Since the twelve novels are so similar in plot and structure, my five criteria can be applied to them as a unit.
The five criteria:
- Did the novel inspire me to further historical research?
- Did the novel include enough history to make it an interesting historical story?
Score = 3-4
- Was the depiction of historical events accurate?
Score = 3-4
- Was the depiction of historical characters accurate?
Score = 3
- Would I read another novel by this author, continuing in this historical period, with these characters (or new ones)?
Score = 4.