The Persian Cat

Although re-released as the fourth Black Gat book by Stark House Press, Flagg’s The Persian Cat’s claim to fame was its release as the first of the Gold Medals in 1950 (apparently numbered 103). Flagg sets this excellent espionage novel in 1950 Teheran and post-WW2 as the surviving French partisans are still tracking down Nazi collaborators and bringing them to justice. Gil Denby is an ex OSS officer (the forerunner of the CIA), but is now at loose ends and for sale to the highest bidder, which in this case is the French partisans who are hot on the scent of a chic society woman who betrayed her husband to the Vichy authorities. His mission, should he choose to accept it, is to use his wiles to seduce this cold adulteress and bring her to French Algeria for trial and execution. Flagg sets most of the tale in Teheran, which in those pre-fundamentalist revolutionary days was an exotic international locale half modern European and half like a scene out of the Arabian Nights. Flagg uses this setting to his advantage in this swift moving espionage tale where no one trusts each other’s motives and every step could end with a veritable and often literal knife in the back. A very enjoyable read.

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