The Contract: A Novel of Suspense - Gerald Seymour Poor Willi Guttmann. Like a dying bear in a pit with fighting dogs. That's the image Seymour conveys as British agents attempt to learn about his father's role with a Russian weapons system. They had helped Willy escape from the Russian trade delegation in Geneva after he had fallen in love with a girl and got her pregnant. His escape was designed to be seen as an accident. The KGB is not so certain. And MI6 soon realizes that Willi has nothing to offer, Willi learns Lizzie was not really pregnant, thinks MI6 might be out to kill his father, and he becomes a pawn in a much larger game.

There is much to like in this story and a great deal that resonates even today: the conflict between the intelligence service and the Prime Minister (there is a marvelous scene with the two sparring verbally) the service knowing the chief is but a temporary occupant of the post; incompetence coupled with arrogance leading to accidents; fear of a superior's opprobrium justifying not passing alone information he really should have been given; the disdain of field officers for the blokes at the head office who have no clue how to do things; and the inevitable things going wrong as the best laid plans get all f'd up.

Seymour's characters are believable, the setting seems quite real, and I would put his books up against Le Carre any day.