The latest installment of Stella Rimington’s Liz Carlyle series, The Geneva Trap (2012), is another quick, engaging read. Like the other books, it’s authentic, subdued, carefully plotted, a bit emotionally flat, but generally entertaining. The case begins when a Russian source in Switzerland makes contact with British intelligence, specifically requesting Liz, whom he knows personally from a long-ago encounter. Liaising with MI6, Liz makes the rendezvous to be told that a joint British-American military drone project has been penetrated by an enemy agent. The job of rooting out this threat, which the Russians hope to exploit, falls to the combined intelligence services of the British and the French, with Liz and her DGSE boyfriend Martin Seurat right in the middle of the action.
The Geneva Trap serves up nothing the series hasn’t delivered before, but it’s a mostly satisfying spin on the formula: a nicely unfolding mystery, well clocked and with an interesting premise. Its even tone and prosaic style can be on the dull side at times, but mostly I like it: clean, simple storytelling, measured and intelligent. For me, the Liz Carlyle books are the spy novel equivalent of comfort food, and I’m happy to come back for more.