This old espionage detective, written in 1968, may well be in the home library, the compilation of which began in the seventies of the last century. It would seem that there is no point in storing old books on the shelves, especially in the digital age, when almost any work can be easily found on the Internet.
Nevertheless, sometimes unexpectedly found in a sideboard novel in soft cover, published about half a century ago and since then kept only five chapters, and the others lost on the waves of time, can deliver real pleasure. It was only necessary to start reading this partly survived book, how its dynamic style, rapid action, the kaleidoscope of cities, countries, and events densely dragged into their world of espionage passions, heavy reflections, insidious schemes, and bold penetrations.
Getting acquainted with this novel, you can involuntarily think about the fact that in literature there are undeservedly forgotten or simply dropped out of public attention works that are in no way inferior to modern trendy bestsellers, and in some, perhaps, even surpass them. By the brightness of the psychological experiences of the hero and the depth of his stream of consciousness, which is now commonly called a reflection, this novel can be safely put on a par with the classics of the twentieth century, to which it most likely will be attributed.
Rainov went down in the history of literature not only as a detective master but also as the creator of detailed verbal pictures of famous European cities. This novel begins in Venice, and from the very first pages the author reveals his ability to describe its squares, streets, cafes, public transport, restaurants and buildings so that you can involuntarily transfer to this city and it seems as if you are wandering along it with crowds of tourists, which, by the way, strongly irritated the protagonist - the Bulgarian intelligence officer Emil Boyev - but at the same time served him as a reliable cover from possible surveillance.
Quite slowly and everyday development of the action takes on a dramatic turn when, in front of Boyev, his companion-in-arms Ljubo Angelov perishes under the wheels of Buick. This road accident was in no way like randomness and was clearly prepared by representatives of a hostile camp. Shocked by the sight of the deceased friend, Boyev, without giving out his feelings, hastily retires, but at the same time he keeps track of the fact that from the ambulance which carried away the man hit by the car the body covered with the sheet was taken out, and therefore there is no point in hoping for Angelov`s miraculous salvation.
From this moment the novel`s action begins to unwind, like a mechanical roundabout. Very soon Boyev discovers that Arturo Conti perished too, who was sitting in the same Buick, and who apparently pointed its driver on Angelov, who shortly before his death tried to make Conti his agent. The scene of discovery by Boyev the murdered Conti is built by the author so that the illusion of being present in the cinema is created - the moment of turning on the light in the dark curtained room and finding out by spy the body lying five steps away on a blood-soaked carpet looks so realistic.
This is the second victim of the affair of Zodiac company, a foreign-trade European organization, under whose guise the espionage center carrying out reconnaissance in the countries of the socialist camp of Eastern Europe is operating. Thus, the author aggravates the tension in the case entrusted to Boyev, about the extreme danger of which he had already been warned.
For the reason that the narrative in the novel is conducted on behalf of the protagonist, the reader begins to gradually identify himself with Emil and looks at the constantly changing situation with his eyes. This allows to plunge deeply into the attitude of a scout performing a life-threatening task, but at the same time not losing his self-control for a second and ready to leave the scene just a moment before there will be a danger.