The Spy Game, By Georgina Harding

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

On a freezing January morning in 1961, eight-year-old Anna Wyatt's mother disappears into the fog - "a kiss no more than a brush of breath and powdered cheek" - and fails to return. On the same day, five Soviet agents are arrested in connection with the theft of Admiralty documents from the Portland naval base.

Anna and her older brother can't help but link the two dramas, and start to mount a surveillance operation of their own, spying on their neighbours and friends. Polished and beautifully succinct, Harding's appealing first novel remembers an era when espionage was " a homely sort of thing".