Synopsis: After assisting a foreign nation, "Costa Verde," with a little assassination, Helm is assigned to track down and eliminate Heinrich Von Sachs, a Nazi leftover with grandiose plans for a Russian missile acquired in Costa Verde. The missile is allegedly one that was sidetracked when the Soviet Union removed their missiles from Cuba after the blockade, which places the date of this mission around 1963. With some help from a Russian agent, and a little hindrance from one of his own people, Matt succeeds in saving the U.S. from another evil foreign plot.

The Players:
  • Sheila, one of Mac's people, rescued by Helm from Costa Verda. She then is assigned as Matt's partner in his mission to get Von Sachs. She survives, but is eased out of the agency after it is learned she cannot bring herself to kill anyone.
  • Heinrich Von Sachs, who is killed by Matt Helm during a duel with machetes.
  • "Vadya," alias Catherine Smith, a Russian agent whose mission it is to destroy the missile. Keep her in mind, she will be back in Matt's life in later episodes.
  • Colonel Hector Jiminez, a military-type in Costa Verde, who winds up the president of that country with the help of the long-range rifle left behind by Helm.

Scorecard:
Amorous conquests: Vadya and Sheila, who both survive. Sheila calls him "darling," but Vadya doesn't.

Dead: A bunch ("El Fuerte" of Costa Verde and a lot of his troops, killed by Helm and Jiminez' soldiers; Von Sachs and a lot of his men, killed by Helm and Vadya; Trudie Head, former Nazi, killed by Vadya or Max; Max, associate of Vadya's, killed by Helm)

Injuries to Matt Helm: Some burns on his chest from a soldering iron wielded by Vadya, painful but not serious. However, it was mentioned that on a mission prior to his trip to Costa Verde, he had suffered a bullet wound in the leg; no other details of that mission were provided.

Quote: "You won't shoot." His furrowed face was scornful. "You will not dare! You are an American agent."
     I said, "Max, you're making a mistake, friend. You'll never reach that gun."
     His deep-set eyes stared at me, daring me to act. His hand moved under his shirt. I shot him accurately through the forehead, and he came down joint by joint like a marionette when you release the strings from above. The little .22 cartridge seemed to make quite a racket in the confined garage, but I doubted that outside it would have been heard very far away.

Conclusion: At book's end, Matt learns Vadya's real identity, but is too sentimental to kill her, although she was way up on the "priority list." Vadya also had orders to remove Helm, but chooses to ignore them. They each go their separate ways, and the next time we meet Eric is in . . .
         

Matt Helm ™ is the property of Donald Hamilton.
and is a Trademark of Integute AB
This independent reference to, and appreciation of, the Matt Helm book series
is copyright 1998-2012 - Don Winans
Originally posted in June 1998 - Last Modified 22 July 2000
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