A very compelling description of a time and place, with all the elements that make the central question so compelling, why in the world would anyone who had any kind of choice stay in Berlin in 1939? And Downing presents a plausible set of answers for the many characters introduced in the story, as they answer for themselves and suggest answers to one another. The foreshadowing and darkness of the situations are well known to most readers, but the answer to the question of how so many people might have continued to participate in an incredibly terrible situation is the real mystery that is explored here, rather than the spy story itself.
Even though I have read many accounts of these times, both history and fiction, I was surprised to learn of the down side and tenuous nature of the supposed German economic miracle of 1939.
I found this book illuminating in many ways.