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We are delighted to welcome novelist James MacManus to celebrate his latest work, Midnight in Berlin, a beguiling piece of historical fiction based on the abandoned British plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.
MacManus will start the evening by introducing the fascinating historical background of the novel. Forfar-born Colonel Noel Mason-Macfarlane, the book’s dedicatee, did in fact propose to assassinate the Führer with a rifle shot from the window of his Berlin apartment as Hitler attended a five-hour long military parade held in his own honour. When pitched to the Foreign Office, however, this was deemed by Lord Halifax and others to be an unsportsmanlike substitute for diplomacy! Mason-Macfarlane thus returned to Berlin, with the Gestapo ever-aware of his hostility toward the Reich.
MacManus’ protagonist Noel Macrae, based on Mason-MacFarlane, finds himself trapped between the blind policies of his government and the dark world of betrayal and deception in Berlin. The Times notes, Midnight in Berlin goes much further than other works in crafting a “vivid portrait of an entire city in turmoil, seething with intrigue and danger. The historical research is convincing and MacManus picks out only the choicest and most entertaining details.”
Midnight in Berlin follows MacManus’ two previous works of historical fiction, Sleep in Peace Tonight, set in London during the Blitz, and Black Venus ,a novel of Charles Baudelaire and his lover Jeanne Duval, which captures the convulsively avant garde literati of 19th century Paris with aplomb. This latest novel recreates 1930s Berlin just as vividly as MacManus previously captured Paris and London. Outside of writing these acclaimed novels MacManus, a St Andrews graduate, has worked in the newspaper business and now is the Managing Director of the Times Literary Supplement.