Excerpt from Mission to Paris by Alan Furst, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Mission to Paris

A Novel

by Alan Furst

Mission to Paris
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2012, 272 pages
    Jun 2013, 272 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Karen Rigby

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

"Who is it?"

"The desk clerk, sir."

"What do you want?"

No answer. Out in the harbor, a ship sounded its horn. From the room above, the floorboards creaked as somebody moved about. Finally, whoever was in the hall again tapped on the door. Prideaux opened it. The man in the hallway was slim and well- dressed and not a desk clerk. Gently but firmly, the man pushed the door open, then closed it behind him as he entered the room. "Monsieur Prideaux?" he said. "May we speak for a moment?" His French was correct, his accent barbaric. He looked around for a chair but there was no such thing to be found, not in this room, so he settled at the foot of the bed while Prideaux sat by the headboard.

Prideaux's heart was beating hard, and he hoped desperately that this was something other than what he suspected. "You're not the desk clerk, sir."

Herbert, his expression on the mournful side, shook his head slowly. "No," he said. "I am not."

"Then who are you?" But for the whine in his voice, this would have been indignant.

Herbert said, "Think of me as a courier."

"A what?"

"A courier. I've come here to recover something that belongs to us - it certainly doesn't belong to you."

Prideaux looked puzzled. "What are you talking about?" Herbert, no more than slightly irritated, simply said, "Please."

"I don't know what you want, sir, I simply got fed up with life in Paris and came down here. How does that concern you, whoever you are?"

Herbert turned toward the window - this was growing tiresome. "I hope there's no need for violence, Monsieur Prideaux, my associates are downstairs but please don't force me to bring them up here.

Better that way, believe me. I am, as I said, a courier, and my instructions are to take the money you've stolen back to Berlin. After that, we don't care what you do or where you go, it doesn't concern us." Prideaux collapsed very slowly; the hauteur in his expression drained away, his shoulders slumped, and finally his head lowered so that he stared at the floor.

Herbert took no pleasure in this - a show of humiliation was, to him, unbearable weakness. And what might come next, he wondered. Tears? Hysterics? Aggression? Whatever it might be, he didn't want to see it. "I'm sure," he said, his voice reaching for sympathy, "there was a reason. There's always a reason."

Prideaux started to rise, but Herbert stood up quickly, raised a hand like a traffic policeman stopping a car, and a defeated Prideaux sat obediently back down on the bed. Herbert stayed on his feet, stared at Prideaux for a moment, then said, "Monsieur Prideaux, I think it will be easier for both of us if you simply tell me where the money is. Really, much easier."

It took a few seconds - Prideaux had to get control of himself - then he said, so quietly that Herbert could only just hear the words,

"Under the bed."

Herbert slid the valise from beneath the bed, undid the buckles, and peered inside. "Where are your personal things?" he said. Prideaux gestured toward another valise, standing open at the foot of the bed.

"Did you put any of the money in there? Have you spent some of it? Or is it all, every franc of it, in here? Best now to be truthful."

"It's all there," Prideaux said.

Herbert closed the valise and pulled the straps tight. "Well, we'll see. I'm going to take this money away and count it and, if you've been honest with me I'll be back, and I'll give you a few hundred francs - at least something for wherever you're going next. Shall I tell you why?" Prideaux, staring at the fl oor, didn't answer.

"It's because people like you can be useful, in certain situations, and people like you never have enough money. So, when such people help us out, with whatever we might need, we are always generous.

Excerpted from Mission to Paris by Alan Furst. Copyright © 2012 by Alan Furst. Excerpted by permission of Random House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Parisian Highlights

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
  • Book Jacket
    by Tom Jackson
    Growing up in Mumbai in the '70s, I still remember herbs kept fresh in small glasses of water, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Cruel Beautiful World
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A fast moving page-turner about the naiveté of youth and the malignity of power.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    North of Crazy
    by Neltje

    The remarkable life of a woman who carves her own singular path.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    News of the World
    by Paulette Jiles

    Exquisitely rendered and morally complex--a brilliant work of historical fiction.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.