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November 1943 Weary of his deskbound status in the Royal Navy intelligence officer Ian Fleming spends his spare time spinning stories in his head that are much exciting than his own lifeuntil the critical Tehran Conference when Winston Churchill Franklin Roosevelt and Josef Stalin meet to finalize the D Day invasion With the Big Three in one place Fleming is tipped off that Hitler's top assassin has infiltrated the conference Seizing his chance to play a part in a real life action story Fleming goes undercover to stop the Nazi killer


10 thoughts on “Too Bad to DieA Novel

  1. says:

    Too Bad To Die wouldn't Lee Child have loved that title? is so brisk and light on its feet that you’ll be sucked right in to this whirling plot involving British Naval Intelligence Officer Ian Fleming and the Tehran Conference of 1943Told with fast shifting points of view and a library’s worth of savory historical detail this spy thriller suspense novel mashes the form in spirited fashion and expects you to keep up precious little spoon feeding allowedI’m no World War II buff but Francine Mathews lays out the basics with ease The setting is Cairo and Tehran as Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt and later Josef Stalin meet to finalize the D Day invasion Our hero Fleming with a significant legacy to live up to and just beginning to understand his true talents is assigned to ferret out a plot to assassinate the Allied leaders Fleming is warned that the mastermind of the plot known by his handle “The Fencer” may have wormed his way into either the delegation of the Brits or the Americans Too Bad To Die is a busy book in a good way Be prepared for a large cast Mathews fearlessly switches point of view between chapters Historical figures abound from Alan Turing to Averell Harriman to Elliott Roosevelt Mathews’ two years of research shows but she deals out the tidbits in smooth fashion The chapters about Fleming who invents the James Bond alter ego for his undercover work set the anchor He's got something to prove and some determination to get the job done Along the way there are hidden transmitters vodka guzzling pilots decoy dignitaries fake Russian waiters you get the pictureAs Mathews notes in her acknowledgements “Fleming was up to his eyeballs in secret plots” as the assistant director to British Naval Intelligence in wartime London “His shadow falls across many of the most daring and ingenious deception operations of the war particularly disinformation campaigns against the Axis A great number of myths have grown up around him as well—from the outset he was a character meant for fiction”Too Bad To Die proves leaves little doubt of that fact Case closed


  2. says:

    Having read and enjoyed Mathews' previous historical thriller Jack 1939 I looked forward to reading Too Bad to Die and I was not disappointed I was hooked in the prologue when I learned the origin of the book title Too Bad to Die is an excellent blend of history literature and cinema as it gives us the background of Ian Fleming the creator of James Bond and the importance of the meeting between Roosevelt Churchill and Stalin Mathews' research blends seamlessly into her narrative Her portraits of the world leaders are at once informative and familiar By sharing scenes from his boyhood we can also read and smile and trace the beginnings of one of literature's most famous characters While the book satisfies on both history and mystery levels it also delivers with a good solid pace and exciting action seuences although a scene of torture towards the end of the book may make some readers uncomfortable My radar must be in fine shape because I did find the identity of the super spykiller a bit too easy to guess but there's a lot to this book than whodunnit If you're a fan of well researched high octane historical thrillers Too Bad to Die is too good to miss


  3. says:

    This book was not my 'thing' but I needed it for a book challenge I listened to the audio and it took me 4 days to get through it when it only reuired one afternoon I thought the story was creative and well thought out but the narrative style was my least favorite when listening to audios It felt a little to clinical for my tastes I wanted than what things looked likeI wanted what it felt like and what the thoughts were I could see the characters but couldn't feel them I did like the way the author pulled it all in at the ending so 2 stars


  4. says:

    Imagine an espionage novel starring Ian Fleming Winston Churchill Franklin Delano Roosevelt Alan Turing Josef Stalin Lavrenti Beria Churchill’s daughter and daughter in law one of Roosevelt’s sons and a passel of other recognizable characters thrown together at a fateful time in 1943 Oh and you might add James Bond to the mixIn this delightfully wicked novel American crime and espionage writer Francine Mathews builds on known facts about the high powered people who figure in the story — and imagines them as they might have reacted to a Nazi assassination plot directed against Roosevelt Churchill and Stalin The tale is set in Cairo and Tehran where the leaders of the three Allies came together to set the strategy for the invasion of Nazi Europe As best I can tell the broad historical events depicted in this book are entirely consistent with the facts It’s the plot that is fully imaginedIan Fleming was in fact assistant to the head of British Naval Intelligence and was the inventive author of some of the most dramatic deceptions mounted by the Allies He held the rank of Commander As indicated in the book he was the son of a wealthy Member of Parliament who died on the Western Front in 1917 He was in fact educated at Eton and Sandhurst The James Bond series of spy novels Fleming wrote after the war were based in large part on his experience as a master of the craft Much of the rest is fictionToo Bad to Die recounts the events of seven days late in November 1943 Roosevelt and Churchill both ailing old men have flown to Cairo with the ostensible purpose of reaching a joint strategy to deal with Stalin a few days hence at a fateful conference in Tehran Mathews is a careful student of history because the dialogue involving these larger than life figures is entirely credible and their circumstances and the state of their health are all grounded in factThe conceit around which Mathews builds her tale is that Ian Fleming departs from his desk job to tangle with a Nazi master spy who threatens to assassinate the Big Three leaders There’s not a lot of mystery around the identity of the master spy even if Fleming is in the dark but the unfolding events make for a thoroughly enjoyable story


  5. says:

    TOO BAD TO DIEFrancine MathewsTOO BAD TO DIE is a wonderful historical thriller that features British Navel Intelligence officer Ian Fleming who prevents a Nazi plot trying to assassinate Franklin Delano Roosevelt Winston Churchill and Stalin In November 1943 the big three meet at the Tehran Conference and Fleming learns Hitler’s top assassin has been given the assignment Fleming goes undercover to discover the assassin and in the process has to face the fact that betrayal is sometimes just too closeMs Mathews has done an excellent job of including so many real life characters and the intrigue is very suspenseful She is becoming one of the best spy thrillers today She even manages to include “shaken not stirred”Good book


  6. says:

    this would have been a 5 star book except for the fact that I figured out who the bad guy was before the half way mark of the book I hate that


  7. says:

    So you've read the book description and you know the basics Ian Fleming Royal Navy intelligence officer and later creator of Agent 007 learns that a mole within the western delegation to the Allies' Tehran Conference in 1943 is a Nazi agent who has masterminded a plan to kill Prime Minister Churchill President Roosevelt and Premier Stalin Fleming takes it on himself to find out who the traitor is and foil the plotThat's a terrific idea for a historical thriller Though it's not an original idea since it's based on an assassination plan that was rud to be planned at the time I wish a better writer had come up with such a good ideaWith a mole hunting plot writers go one of two ways One way is for the reader to know who the mole is all along so that the thrill and intrigue are in the cat and mouse game The other way is for the reader and the protagonist to investigate together with the big reveal at the end It appears that in this case Mathews intended the plot to work the second way The problem is that the whodunnit is ridiculously obvious almost from the get go I kept thinking there must be some big twist coming but it didn'tMathews also shares a problem that is all too common in historical fiction It's the compulsion to cram the text full of every bit of research the author did This kills all the plot's momentum and the story sinks And it's so unnecessary By contrast I think of Philip Kerr who does a tremendous amount of research on his World War II novels but it's all seamlessly integrated into the storyThis will not be a problem for every reader but I was also put off by Mathews's treatment of her real historical characters She makes the readers voyeurs peeping into the bedrooms of Churchill's daughter daughter in law Chiang Kai Shek and his wife and others It just feels sleazy to me and unfair to the real people who are no longer here to defend themselves––or possibly sue her for libelTo complain about the clunky and overheated writing might be considered overkill at this point but since that was one of the first things that struck me I should mention itA disappointment


  8. says:

    Ian Fleming is best known for creating one of literature's most exciting characters But where did he come up with ideas for such a man A man confident and capable of taking on the toughest challenges Not many know Fleming's background As a child he proved to be something of a rebel He moved around from school to school because he failed to fit in His fluency in German French and Russian made him invaluable to certain people and by the time WW2 came along Fleming had traveled from Moscow to Paris Berlin and back to England He was a shoe in for Naval Intelligence work And one particular assignment which would change the course of the War proved his most undaunting challengeCairo Egypt November 1943President Roosevelt meets Prime Minister Churchill to celebrate Thanksgiving and prepare for their journey to Tehran where they will meet Marshal Stalin to discuss Operation Overlord the invasion of Western Europe Hitler learns of the Big Three meeting from his most trusted spy codenamed 'Fencer' It is believed this man or woman was responsible for some of the most impossible missions which saved Nazi Germany from military disaster Where and how the Fencer gets information is as much a mystery as the Fencer's identifyWhen Fleming arrives in Cairo he is joined by a childhood friend a Yank with whom he shares information about the Fencer and his communiues to Berlin in real time It becomes apparent to Fleming the Fencer has been assigned to assassinate the Big Three at the Tehran Conference thus saving Hitler from military disaster and from having to fight a two front war But how does Fleming get the Big Three to hear his story? Will they believe him?Fleming ever the dashing intelligence officer who knows how to romance women drink play cards and pursue an elusive enemy finds himself with his back to the wall Although he is certain something dangerous is brewing no one will listen or believe his story And so he thus embarks on a journey to seek and destroy the Fencer But the Fencer appears to know his every move How is this possible he wonders Unless the Fencer is closer to him than he thoughtWith help from an unlikely heroine and a wily PolishJewish pilot Ian Fleming finds himself on the most exciting and dangerous mission of his life One that is for the books so to speakI found this copy an unproofed edition in an Amvets thrift shop and liked the cover and title After reading what it was about I was hooked The author has done her research about Fleming and her characters both fictional and real in this story make for a good read I like her clichés with Fleming toying around about the idea of writing spy novels when the war is over and coming up with the right name for his character not to mention an all too tasty drink shaken not stirred I've studied a bit of Fleming's military career and found him to be a bit exciting than some might have believed The time and place where the Big Three met did in fact occur and Hitler most likely did reuest a feasibility plan on assassination This story might well be true Whether it is or not you'll be hooked It has a blend of action history romance suspense and thriller Keep on reading


  9. says:

    I’ve lost count of how many novels I’ve read over the years that fictionalize author Ian Fleming’s involvement in Naval Intelligence in World War II In each case known history speculative biography and obvious literary invention meet Most yarns by the likes of Damian Stevenson and Aaron Cooley seek to present foreshadowings of what Fleming would write in his James Bond books The imaginations of such writers are usually uite fanciful with Fleming being the action figure than he actually was I can’t recall any previous work uite as literate as Francine Mathews’ To Bad to die which weaves flashbacks from Fleming’s childhood into his investigation into a Nazi plot to assassinate Churchill Roosevelt and Stalin at their November 1943 conference in Tehran to plan out the Normandy invasion Very convincingly Mathews sketches many portraits of important historical figures from the “Big Three” to their entourages and family members code breaker Allan Turing broadcaster Edward R Morrow Chinese leader Chiang Kai Shek and US ambassador to Great Britain Averell HarrimanAlthough little of this story happened or could have happened in 1943 Mathews is especially believable creating the milieu in which all these figures walked notably using vocabulary and terms of English schoolboys when Fleming was young Hints of the Bond books to come include references to martinis shaken not stirred a voice inside Fleming’s head giving him the alter ego of 007 a false passport giving Commander Fleming the fake name of James Bond and a torture scene is clearly meant to seem the inspiration for a very similar situation in 1953’s Casino Royale The death of Fleming’s father during World War I is offered as the psychological motivation for Fleming’s spinning out fantastic yarns In short Mathews digs deeper than many other writers to give readers than a hot and fast page turner Obviously Bond fans World War II buffs and lovers of espionage yarns in general are a perfect audience for Too Bad to Die Aficionados of suspense and mystery stories should find much to appreciate from Francine Mathews’ descriptive tale even if few readers will miss the obvious clues that reveal who the main villain is long before he levels a pistol at Fleming Still I can’t help but think the actual creator of James Bond would approve of this oneThis review first appeared at BookPleasurescom on Oct 29 2016


  10. says:

    Author Mathews concocts a fictional thriller set at a real time in history involving Ian Fleming later author of 007 novels It takes place during the middle eastern conference between Churchill Roosevelt and Stalin in their debates and decision making in how to destroy Hitler's forces via D Day Fleming a member the British Naval Intelligence unit was actually involved in the planning of this conference but was not present and was laid up with an illness but Mathews weaves a tale of his being made aware of a plot by a mysterious shadow of a Nazi spy who has infiltrated the conference under the guise of one of the trusted people present The aim of THE FENCER is to kill all the three leaders If you are a fan of James Bond whether via books or movies you will be interested in how she incorporates the many aspects of Fleming's creation into the story including the origins of many of the Bond adventures via martinis women villain ideas and many aspects of 007's nasty confrontations especially one in CASINO ROYALE And I was surprised to learn that SMERSH was real A good summer read of history learned and fictional mysteries solved