Bibliophile | ‘The French Agent’ is a perfect book club thriller

The French Agent
by Belinda Alexandra
Harper Collins

In 1946, Sabine Brouillette returned to her Paris home after being imprisoned in a camp during the war for working of the French Resistance. Now a war crimes investigator with the French Secret Service, she felt she was living in a state of suspended animation, waiting for the people who once filled her apartment to return.

Sabine’s previous life as a piano teacher, wife and mother was erased when the Resistance cell she was working for was betrayed towards the end of the war and she was finding it hard to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. When information reaches her that the traitor was a British double agent codenamed Black Fox, her quest for revenge sends her to the other side of the world.

At the same time in the Sydney suburb of Killara, landscape designer Diana White has been waiting for six years for her husband Casper to return from the war in Europe. The last time she had heard from his was a letter sent in 1943 where he informed her he was departing on a dangerous mission.

Diana’s son Freddy was only a baby when his British-born father joined the RAF and the man who returns from a convalescent hospital in England is not the easy-going man she fell in love with. Casper has brought anxiety, fear, distrust and a mind that is a million miles away back with him to the house that Diana and Freddy share with her assistant Marilyn.

For some people, the war is certainly not over. As Sabine seeks out the man of extreme cunning who took her family away from her, Diana struggles to keep her family together. The hero she waved farewell to has returned broken and shattered and he has also brought a pistol which he wants to store in the bedside drawer.

Back and forth from wartime Paris to post-war Sydney, this thrilling tale of love, secrets and revenge (which comes with sample questions for book clubs) also addresses the difficulties people faced when the war that had transformed their lives for six years was over.

Lezly Herbert

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