Bored and broke, Marlow quits retirement to search for a mole within MI6.
It’s springtime in Scotland, and an aging spy is tending to his bees. Smoke rises from his bellows as he looks in on the colony for the first time since winter. When his wife goes to check on him, the bellows are still smoking but her husband has disappeared. He may be dead, he may be kidnapped - or he may have gone over to the other side.
To locate the missing beekeeper, the secret service turns to Peter Marlow, a veteran agent who is finding retirement no substitute for life in the field. He soon discovers a byzantine Russian conspiracy, of which the vanished spy is either the architect or the victim, operating deep within British intelligence. In the shadows of this secretive government agency, there are more pressing dangers than the sting of a frightened honeybee.
The Oxford Gambit is the third book in the Peter Marlow Mystery series, which also includes The Sixth Directorate and The Valley of the Fox.
I've read the first three books of this series and each one gets more bogged down in Marlow's love interests. Hone's story premises begin with great promise often in the best Le carre tradition, but the plot always seems to grind to a halt when Marlow gets interested in some girl. Horn goes through the same formula, "Is she in love with him? Is she working for the other side?" Yet we just don't care.
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