It is even amazing how much this novel reminds the famous film "Seventeen Moments of Spring" in the manner of the hero to immerse himself in the world of his meditations, doubts, searches, and anxieties. Perhaps the reason for this is the spirit of the time since Semyonov`s "Moments" were written just a year later, in 1969, and undoubtedly were influenced by the same techniques that prevailed in the art of reconnaissance.
However, in the film, based on the novel by Rainov, in which he was also a screenwriter, the long and uneasy thoughts of Emil Boyev were not conveyed verbally, but only briefly and conditionally portrayed with the help of dramatic techniques, but this film does not last twelve episodes like "Seventeen Moments", and, judging by two hours length, only one or two.
Naturally, for this reason, many important story points were not included into it, because of what the film narration can seem confusing, and to the viewer who has not read the book - completely incomprehensible - but in a short form there is its own charm, too. The tribute must be paid to the cast of this film, especially those who played Emil (Georgiy Georgiev-Gets) and Edith (Elena Rainova), as they managed to enrich the hard spy-detective story with strong lyrical feelings and emotions.
The second chapter of the novel begins with Boyev`s analysis of the consequences of the death of Angelov and Conti. He does not harbor any illusions about the progress of the investigation and immediately says that both crimes will not be solved. Further, the reader is informed that, even before the cascade of murders, Emil perfectly understood how complicated and difficult was the intelligence task posed to him. The elimination of two characters in a short time showed him that this mission to everything else differs with its increased importance, although Boyev cannot understand what the difference exactly is. He notes that in the struggle between the two intelligence services, murder is not an ordinary affair, and even calls such an opinion "the invention of novelists".
On the contrary, in the work of spies, depriving a person of life is an extreme measure, which means that the enemies who killed Angelov aspired at all costs to avoid disclosing some important information. It was the fear of possible exposure that prompted them to eliminate Conti too. In connection with this determination to eliminate people who interfered with them, Boyev cannot understand why the enemies so generously left alive the official from the Venetian branch of the Zodiac, Carlo Morandi, who contacted the recruited by Western intelligence service Bulgarian employee, handed him the radio station and ordered him to get to work. After all, Ljubo Angelov considered Morandi the only thread that could help unravel a tangle of enemy intentions.
This question does not give rest to Emil, for the sake of keeping secrecy constantly being in the midst of tourist crowds and, therefore, far and wide, studying the sights of Venice. In the end, he decides that Morandi was left alive, so that he served as a bait for scouts from the socialist camp, quite possible, still leading in the ancient Italian city their activities. It must be admitted, it is hard to say that Boyev has no visionary mind, as well as ingenuity. Waiting for Morandi to leave for Geneva, Emil, for the sake of obtaining additional information about him, simply spins a romance with Anna Ferrari, the mistress of Morandi.
Having used generous gifts and leading his new girlfriend to luxury restaurants, he quickly causes Anna`s disposition and learns from her that Morandi used to go on errands behind the Iron Curtain. Quite a lot of attention the author devotes to presenting the course of Boyev`s thoughts in the process of recruiting this woman. It can be seen from it that the Bulgarian intelligence officer is sure that it is easy to start the relationship with a woman by showering her with jewelry and buying her lots of clothes. At the same time, the other gentlemen of Anna, including Morandi, appear to be rather poor and even pauper men, who do not have the same elastic wallet as Boyev does.
It is possible that in this plotline lies the ideological order for the image of Western men as losers, who are not able to create for their women the same luxurious living conditions that they can get by the wave of a hand of visiting representatives of the socialist camp. But the realities of the late sixties were somewhat different, and therefore it is hard to imagine that an ordinary citizen of the socialist country would have twisted the romance with a Venetian lady so easily, generously spending a lot of money on her.
Alas, do not be an Eastern European builder of communism a scout who has at his disposal a solid material resource for the task, he would not have bought for an Italian lady even a pair of expensive shoes. By the way, Boyev does not hurry to turn his romance with Anna into a fairy firework too and thinks about how to keep the money spent on this luxurious woman within reasonable limits, so that "the expenditure does not exceed the income", although the money he leaves here and there is not his own, but state`s ones.
Thus, the author did not miss the opportunity to voluntarily or unwittingly let the ideological haze into his novel and show through it that life in the Western countries is not so easy and beautiful as embittered by socialist realities inhabitants of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union could think, the readers of which obviously also were in the author`s mind when writing this book.