The assassination attempt on the American president in London bore the hallmark of the KGB. But with Britain about to hold unilateral talks with the Russians over Berlin, why should Moscow Centre rock the boat? Major Harry Maxim smelled conspiracy. Trouble was, nobody wanted to believe him. So the Major goes hunting, taking with him his old mentor from Downing Street days, George Harbinger, and another colleague from former times, the not so old and much more attractive Agnes Algar, MIS. It's all highly unofficial. But that doesn't stop Maxim shooting and pistol-whipping his way from London to East Berlin via the Cotswolds, Eastbourne and Illinois, until he finally tracks down the Crocus List - a group of earnest patriots playing God and soldiers to open the country's eyes to the Russian menace.
Gavin Lyall (1932-2003) lived in Hampstead and enjoyed sailing on the Thames in his motor cruiser. From 1959 to 1962 he was a newspaper reporter and the aviation correspondent for the Sunday Times. His first novel, The Wrong Side of the Sky, was published in 1961, drawing from his personal experiences in the Libyan Desert and in Greece. Lyall left journalism in 1963 to become a full-time author, writing 17 novels before his death in 2003.