The Paris Agent

Image of The Paris Agent: A Gripping Tale of Family Secrets
Release Date: 
July 11, 2023
Graydon House
Reviewed by: 

“Kelly Rimmer’s scenes in both eras are fraught with anxiety, urging the reader to keep turning the page, anxious to learn about each character’s experiences, right up to the very end.”

Kelly Rimmer’s book The Paris Agent is a deep dig into the world of World War II spies.

The story opens in 1944, with four women being transported by German guards to a destination unknown to them. The women are spies, and they know the destination will not be a good one, but they keep their hopes high for being saved by the Allies.

Rimmer then moves the reader to Liverpool, England, 1970, and the home of Charlotte Ainsworth and her father, Noah. They have recently lost their mother and wife, and it is at this point that Noah begins to reminisce about his wartime activities. He explains to Charlotte that he has a need to find Remy, a cohort during the war who saved Noah’s life.

Charlotte takes on the challenge and joins her father in the search. From here Rimmer takes us back to the early 1940s where we meet Eloise and Josie, the two central figures in the Resistance movement in France during the war.

Each of the chapters, both during the war and in 1970, are written in the first person, providing the reader with background into the activities of each of the spies, their emotional experiences, and their relationships with each other.

When Rimmer takes us into the 1970 era with Charlotte and Noah, she unwinds Noah’s history through Harry Read, an academic professor who is researching the history of SOE (Special Operations Executive), the organization that trained British citizens in the world of spies and how to survive once they are deployed to France to help the Resistance.

It soon becomes clear that there was a mole, a counterspy, in the organization who provided names and plans back to the Germans, and Rimmer leaves enough clues to drive the reader to assume they know who this counter agent is. But that discovery is not as easy as it might seem.

As Charlotte and Noah get assistance from Theo, an aide to Professor Read, Remy is found, but the results that Noah expected are not what he anticipated. Here Rimmer throws some red herrings into the story—Was Noah the hero that everyone thought him to be, or are there secrets, best left alone, that are starting to surface?

As the story progresses it is clear that Noah and Josie, who are thrown together during their deployment, have established a closer relationship than allowed. They share intimate information about their past lives, and when Noah asks about Josie’s life, she shares: “‘It’s just me and Maman. And it’s not that I don’t want to tell you about her,’ I whispered, sighing heavily. ‘We were once close, but that’s changed in the last few years, and we parted on bad terms the morning before I came here.’”

It's this explanation that becomes further detailed as the story moves on; the particulars of which tie the characters from the 1970 chapters with those in the war effort.

As the story moves forward and more information on both sides of the war are explained in more detail, it becomes apparent that Rimmer has designed a maze of relationships between the spies, as well as those who follow them after the war.

The author’s research has captured the tension that those who lived through that time experienced at deep levels. Kelly Rimmer’s scenes in both eras are fraught with anxiety, urging the reader to keep turning the page, anxious to learn about each character’s experiences, right up to the very end.

It should be noted however, that due to the numerous name changes given to the spies, it is sometimes difficult to unclutter who is who. That being said, the story is well written and a good page turner, especially for those who have an interest in history and especially World War II.