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A Review of

The Spy Who Hated Licorice

by Richard L. Hershatter

 

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Summary

This 1966 spy thriller is set in the Cold War era. One of the characters is a Taiwanese woman who belly dances. Hershatter

 

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Fact Sheet

Title

The Spy Who Hated Licorice

Author

Richard L. Hershatter

ISBN

0-595-19387-0

Publisher

iUniverse.com, Inc.

Category

Spy Thriller Fiction

Rating

StarStarStar

Number of Pages

164

Published In

Originally 1966; iUniverse edition released 2001

 

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Description

This is a spy thriller which was originally published in 1966. Set in the Cold War era, the story centers around a plot in which mercenaries are scheming to trigger an international incident, hoping to spark nuclear war between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. The rogue nation that hired them would then be better positioned to seize world power — if, of course, there would be any world power remaining after nuclear war.

A U.S. spy agency hires the hero of this story to help foil the plot. He is chosen because of his personal ties to someone working for the mercenaries. Along the way, the hero teams up with another agent whose many talents include belly dancing.

This is a very slim book, which I read from start to finish in just a couple of days.

 

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Is It Right for You?

 

You Will Probably Enjoy This Book If...

  • You like spy stories set in the Cold War era.

 

This Book Probably Isn't Right for You If...

  • You're hoping belly dancing will play a prominent role in the plot or character development.

 

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

 

What I Liked:

  • The book is frequently punctuated with humor, especially puns. It gave me a few chuckles.
  • The character who belly dances is portrayed as a smart, competent woman.
  • The author writes the dance scene as if he has actually spent time in clubs that feature belly dancing. He takes the perspective of a somewhat informed audience member.

 

What I Didn't Like:

  • The character's ability to belly dance really doesn't contribute anything to the story, and the only reason I could see for it even being mentioned is that the author wanted to invent an unlikely element to her personality to amuse readers.
  • The one scene in which the woman danced could easily have been cut without disrupting either the plot or the character development, and her status as a dancer does not come into play again after the one scene except for being mentioned in passing.
  • The plot is rather predictable.
  • Reading this decades after the fall of the Berlin wall, the Cold War motif seems a bit tired.

 

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Conclusion

I'm not much of a spy thriller person, and normally I wouldn't read a book in this genre. I bought this one because a web bookstore hyped the fact that one of the characters was a belly dancer.

The plot is a fairly average spy story, and the characters are not particularly interesting. It isn't bad, but the tie-in to belly dancing is not strong enough for me to recommend it to people who want to devour books related to belly dancing.

 

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Disclosures

There is nothing to disclose. I have never had any contact with anyone associated with this book.


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