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Let Us Do Evil

    Let Us Do Evil

Let us do evil that good may come Romans, Chapter Three ,Verse Eight

It is June1942. In Prague British trained commandos assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, Reich Protektor of Bohemia and founder of the SS intelligence service. One of his disciples is an Anglo-German SS officer who was raised in Palestine as part of its affluent Templer community, descendants of Bavarian evangelicals who often embrace Hitler as firmly as their grandfathers embraced God. The Templer decides to avenge Heydrich by killing Sir Henry MacMichael, Palestine's High Commissioner. 'Our Reich Protektor for theirs.'

The means already exists. Although Haganah, the main Jewish underground has a wartime truce with London others have not. The Stern Gang still target the British and Sir Henry is their bullseye. Fearing that Germany will win the war Stern has even contacted Berlin promising to intensify attacks on the British in return for Berlin's support for making Palestine a Jewish homeland. Although the German response has been lukewarm the Templer has overseen the training of one of their emissaries - a schoolteacher named Lang – who has been returned to them with a radio transmitter. Now the Templer decides to follow him.

When Palestine Police Inspector Walter Calderwell discovers some parachute silk has become a lady's underwear, he jumps at first to all the wrong conclusions. What follows in this fiction firmly rooted in fact (as the Author's Note explains the Stern Gang did ask for help from the Nazis) is a tale that relentlessly gathers pace as Calderwell tries to hunt down the Templer and Lang who, having just failed to murder MacMichael, are determined to try again. Twice with the aid of a radio direction-finding unit he almost catches the pair as Lang comes on air to talk to Nazi occupied Athens. A 500-mile chase ensues as Calderwell pursues the Templer and the Jew from Jerusalem to the Egyptian border and on through the Nile Delta to the Alamein front line itself where they believe MacMichael is flying to visit a forward HQ to discuss contingency plans for a withdrawal to Palestine. Then the German receiving sttion in Athens receives one last message, the Luftwaffe makes an appearance and the course of history is changed.

As in Spies of Jerusalem, Smith's novel based on the fall of Jerusalem to the British in 1917 in which Calderwell mad his first appearance, this is all told against a well understood backcloth of real events: Palestine and Egypt in the summer of 1942 when Rommel seemed unbeatable. Smith lived in Jerusalem and Cairo as The Observer’s Middle East correspondent, and his military histories include the widely acclaimed Alamein: War Without Hate.


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