MI5 intelligence officer Liz Carlisle stars in Dead Line,  the fourth Stella Rimington spy novel.This time, an agent passes along a tip about a threat to a Middle East peace summit being held at a golf resort in Scotland, in which European, American and Middle Eastern heads of state will be in attendance.  Liz tries to anticipate and prevent the unknown event without disrupting the conference.

Rimington was the head of the UK counter-intelligence and security agency in the mid-90’s. Her insider knowledge of surveillance units and the relationships between the Israeli Mossad, the CIA and the home British security agencies is surely authentic.  There are interesting insights as to the etiquette of other friendly nations spying on each other. For example, Israeli diplomats who are also spies are supposed to be “registered” as such.

The MI5 in these books is a more genteel and much less frenetic organization than that of the BBC series, which was all about technology, violence and derring do.  Liz and her courtly boss Charles Wetherby have the occasional turf battle with MI6 but it’s all very civil. It makes for a pleasant change from the hyper and profane American thriller. As a matter of fact, the British make a few snide remarks about their arrogant, but highly polished Secret Service brethren.

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