Sunday, July 08, 2012


Fawcett Gold Medal
This is the second part of an essay about the six novels Jack Higgins wrote featuring Paul Chavasse titled "Paul Chavasse: An Introduction to the Cold War Spy Story".  The novels were written throughout the 1960s, and owe much to both the James Bond and Matt Helm novels.  The novels were published as by Martin Fallon, and before you read this post, you should read the first segment of the essay here to put this post in context.
The first, and one of the better to feature Paul Chavasse, was originally titled The Testament of Caspar Schultz.  It was published in the U. K. as a hardcover with a limited print run by Abelard-Schuman in 1962, and made its U. S. debut—in a strikingly brilliant silver cover—as a Fawcett Gold Medal paperback (13963-8).  It features a straight forward plot.  A high ranking Nazi named Caspar Schultz has written his memoirs.  It is reputed to be an expose of German and British power brokers sympathetic to the fascist regime, including the man who was to act as the Reich’s Quisling after the successful German invasion of England.  

Schultz’s aide is shopping the manuscript to publishers, and makes the mistake of enquiring a German publisher with fascist sympathies.  The Nazi underground is quickly on his trail, with the goal of destroying both Schultz and the manuscript.  The Bureau is brought into the chase when a British publisher is approached to publish the manuscript and Chavasse is enlisted to meet Schultz’s aide and arrange to acquire the manuscript.

Harper Collins
It is a seemingly simple job, but Chavasse is ambushed on the train he is to meet the aide, and he spends the rest of the story trying to catch up with events.  On the way he meets two Israeli spies tracking Schultz as a war criminal, a bevy of heavies from the underground Nazi movement, an unexpected romance—the only he is to enjoy over the entire series—a friendly German Secret Service agent, and a surprising betrayal. 

Testament is the most personal of the Chavasse novels.  It shows Chavasse as something approaching a cynical romantic.  While in Germany he meets an Israeli agent, Anna Hartmann, and he is immediately smitten.  The two make plans to leave the game, but as nothing happens as it should, Paul Chavasse ends the novel in the same place it opened—alone.        

Testament was republished as The Bormann Testament in 2006.  The only noticeable change is the Nazi leader morphs from Caspar Schultz to Martin Bormann, which is explained in a brief Foreword as the original title, but due to perceived legal implications it was changed from the real life Martin Bormann to the fictional Caspar Schultz.  The assertion that Schultz was originally intended to be Bormann is supported by an early passage that describes Bormann’s failed attempt to escape Berlin in a tank.  Bormann was never conclusively found after the war; however, it is widely believed he committed suicide outside a railway station on May 2, 1945.

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