In the depths of a winter snowstorm Colin Brentwood is up in the little town of Higlett on the Yorkshire coast, clearing up after his parents’ recent deaths, when who should make his exhausted way to the house but his wife’s former fiancé, Boris Sudenic. Twenty years ago, Boris was a young aide to the Polish military attaché in London and now, what? He had escaped, so he said, from the Russian trawler that had been galebound in the bay. Was he a spy? Colin himself is high up in the Foreign Office and his wife, Margaret, has allowed her memories to sap the foundations of her marriage.
This is a spy story with a difference. Boris’ arrival causes endless disturbance in the lives of everyone he comes in contact with: Colin, of course, and Margaret, their au pair Louise, Scziliekowicz and the Free Poles, John Carfax of M.I.5 and not least Sergei Voliniak and the ice-maiden Margrethe Olsen. But England is no longer the England he knew before, and Boris’ cruel experiences have intensified the differences between his world and character and theirs.
Josephine Bell is a shrewd and humane observer, with an eye for social realities and unrealities and exciting through her story is, her main interest is in the impact of this alien on England and vice versa.