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Liz Hardy worked for many years in the book trade. She is now a freelance journalist and contributes to a selection of major true-crime periodicals both in the UK and the US.
' This brilliant and serious novel is Frayn on absolutely top - if unashamedly smart - form' DAILY TELEGRAPH 'Deeply satisfying ... Frayn has written nothing better' INDEPENDENT 'Bernard Shaw couldn't do it, Henry James couldn't do it, but Michael Frayn does do it: write novels and plays with equal success' JOHN UPDIKE, NEW YORKER 'In Michael Frayn's novel Spies an old man returns to the scene of his seemingly ordinary suburban childhood. Stephen Wheatley is unsure of what he is seeking but, as he walks once-familiar streets he hasn't seen in 50 years, he unfolds a story of childish games colliding cruelly with adult realities. It is wartime and Stephen's friend Keith makes the momentous announcement that his mother is a German spy. The two boys begin to spy on the supposed spy, following her on her trips to the shops and to the post, and reading her diary. Keith's mother does have secrets to conceal but they are not the ones the boys suspect. Frayn skilfully manipulates his plot so that the reader's growing awareness of the truth remains just a few steps beyond Stephen's dawning realisation that he is trespassing on painful and dangerous territory. The only false notes occur in the final chapter when the central revelation (already cleverly signposted) is too swiftly followed by further disclosures about Stephen and his family that seem somehow unnecessary and make the denouement less satisfyingly conclusive. This is a much sparer and less expansive book than Headlong, Frayn's Booker Prize-shortlisted 1999 novel, more understated in its wit, but it is, in many ways, more compelling.' - Nick Rennison, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW 'Beautifully accomplished, richly nostalgic novel about supposed Second World War espionage seen through the eyes of a young boy.' - SUNDAY TIMES