The Spy Who Lived on Zimmerstrasse

Spy-on-ZimmerstraussVienna, 1938.  The Gestapo arrest two Austrian physicists.

American Evelyn Neery returns to her birthplace of Vienna to help her elderly uncle, only to find that he has died at the hands of the Gestapo and that she herself is being sought.  As the net tightens around her, she seeks help in every avenue available to her.  She is offered a way out of Vienna and accepts it–to impersonate an Austrian woman, Anka Spinnlar, working for the British intelligence organization SOE (Secret Operations Executive).  Anka has been ordered by the German Labor Exchange to report to Berlin to work for military intelligence (Abwehr), but she is leaving the country under an assumed name, with false identity papers that had long been prepared for her, to join her fiancé.  Evelyn takes Anka’s place until the SOE can get her out as well.

At the Abwehr Evelyn works for a Wehrmacht colonel who seems too observant and catches her in small slips she was never trained for or prepared to avoid, deepening her apprehension.  Her primary SOE contact in Berlin trains her as best he can in the circumstances, asks her to keep a close eye on the colonel’s movements, and urges her to try to remember everything she can about her uncle and his work.

Evelyn discovers that her uncle was one of two Austrian physicists engaged in the field of nuclear fission, but that both men had refused to cooperate with authorities and contribute to Germany’s nuclear weapon project.  Both had died while under arrest.  Their research notes had been confiscated, but they were written in a code that had not yet been broken.  Evelyn is the one who has unknowingly held the key.

When her neighbor, a Jew in hiding, is arrested, the true identities and motivations of others come into question, including those of the colonel and her SOE contact.  Evelyn seeks out her secondary contact, only to discover that he is subsequently murdered.

Desperate to protect her uncle’s research and not knowing whom to trust, she finds herself alone, homeless, and on the run in the heart of Nazi Berlin.

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