Item description for The Cambridge Theorem by Tony Cape...
When Simon Bowles commits suicide, no one is too terribly surprised. A graduate student at Cambridge University, Bowles had a long history of depression. But as Detective Sergeant Derek Smailes soon discovers, he also had a passion for investigating historical mysteries, and an extraordinary knack for solving them. His most recent project: uncovering the identity of the fabled "fifth man" in the notorious Cambridge spy-ring of the 1930s. Could Bowles possibly have solved that mystery? And could his solution -- his "theorem" -- have brought about his death? Rooted in the (thoroughly researched) history of the Cambridge Spies, The Cambridge Theorem will delight anyone for whom the name Kim Philby rings a bell, as well as readers of intelligent, tightly crafted espionage.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 7.5" Weight: 1 lbs.
Release Date Aug 15, 2005
Publisher Felony & Mayhem Press
ISBN 1933397039 ISBN13 9781933397030
Reviews - What do customers think about The Cambridge Theorem?
Classic spy story Jul 26, 2008
"The Cambridge Theorem" is one of a batch of high quality mysteries from the 1970s and 1980s in reprint by Felony and Mayhem publishers. Kudos to the company from reviving some great stories.
"Cambridge Theorem" is crafted around the idea that after the British spy scandals of the 1960s and 1970s, there remained a final member from the original Cambridge University group of Communists and fellow travelers actively working for the Soviet Union who managed to stay underground and continue working for the KGB well into the 1980s. The story slowly unfolds as a brilliant and geeky math student who's into conspiracy theories (e.g. the Kennedy assassination) becomes a threat to the remaining Cambridge spy. The student dies under increasingly suspicious circumstances and the local cop assigned to the case, Sgt. Derek Smaines, painstakingly reconstructs the death and the events that led up to it. Smaines turns over a lot of rocks with his investigation and, inevitably, a lot of vermin scurry out.
While this is a spy story first and foremost, author Tony Cape has built in a lot of police procedure into the novel and has not neglected character development. Sgt. Smaines, for example, is an increasingly likeable guy, who deserves better than life has given him so far. He eventually gets his due after doggedly clearing away the red herrings and other deceptions that protect the object of the spy search. The story closes with one surprise after another. You will find yourself saying, "I didn't see that coming," more than once as you plow through this very good page turner.
Dynamite Spy Novel by "Oregon Reader" Jul 22, 2007
Havn't enjoyed a spy novel this much since LeCarre was in his prime. The first half is a little plodding, but stick with it for the big reward. The second half speeds up with a marvelous convoluted ending. Full of trivia about English/Russian spy apparatus of the 40's-60's.
A fine first effort Oct 30, 2006
This is really a fine first novel. Though the plot revolving around the "fifth man" of the Cambridge stars, the famous Soviet agents embedded deep in the British establishment, is not terribly original the characters are. Or more precisely the principle character, Derek Smailes, a somewhat off the beaten track detective sergeant is quite original. Also well drawn by inference and retrospect, since he dies at the first of the book, is Simon Bowles, a brilliant Maths student at Cambridge. Similarly a strong presence is felt in Derek's deceased father, also a policeman in Cambridge. The picture of Britain's class conscious society set in the early 1980s is fairly uncompromising and may well be accurate enough. Two female characters are in play, on major and one minor and I think less fully realized.
I don't give this five stars due to a too lengthy introduction (to American tastes - we like to see characters defined by action rather than introspection)to Derek Smailes in the beginning and a confusing and too involved subplot about intrigue and backbiting in the KGB. Yet, this book has one great merit, the utimate test of the novel, ... at the end of the day I cared about the character. I cared about what happened. If we don't why read books of fiction ?
Fascinating book combining espionage, recent history and interesting characters Mar 9, 2006
I really loved this book. It starts out a little confusing, with an old spy (he's even called "the old spy") in Moscow trying to manipulate his boss. But if you know anything about spies in the 20th century, you figure out pretty quickly that the "old spy" is actually Kim Philby, who famously defected from England to the Soviet Union in 1963, after years and years and years of stealing British and American intelligence secrets.
But after the opening with the spy, the book moves to Cambridge. where a young graduate student at the university has apparently committed suicide. The local cop who is called out on the case is Derek Smailes, who is a bit of a misfit - he's divorced and has a passion for all things American, especially cowboy boots and Willie Nelson music. In doing a routine examination of the student's belongings, Smailes finds a bunch of files - research relating to a famous mystery in U.S. history. It's against the rules, but he can't help himself - he swipes the files. And what he finds in the files begins by leading him to question the nature of the student's death, and goes on to reveal layers and layers of betrayals, ultimately leading back to the infamous Cambridge "spy ring" of the 1930s, in which Kim Philby played a starring role. For anyone who likes history, and has any interest in espionage - or in really well written police procedurals, a la P.D. James' "Inspector Dalgliesh" books - "The Cambridge Theorem" should be at the top of your list.