After his return, he gets involved in a search for a missing woman, Claire Romily, that he had a brief affair with. He is helped by her roommate, Hester Wallace, who has aspirations to take a more central part in code breaking, but has been passed over and given clerical work because she is a woman.
Publisher's Weekly described Enigma as a "high-adrenaline thriller." It felt more slowly paced to me, although towards the end as Tom and Hester take chances to trace some missing cryptograms, it does ratchet up the tension.
My husband's review at Goodreads:
Enough time has elapsed since original publication (1995) that I believe this mystery thriller of World War II code breaking can be considered a genre classic. The thriller aspects center on Bletchley Park and efforts to break (rebreak actually) the extremely complex German Enigma codes. Worked into the plot are fascinating details on code breaking in general and the Enigmas in particular. Mystery aspects mostly involve the shadowy figure of Claire Romilly. Who she is, what she has done, where she has gone. A film version was released in 2001 and I remember it as not particularly involving. Given my positive reaction to the book, I plan on giving the movie another look.This is a clever story with convincing characters. Not all of them are likeable or admirable. The author also gets across the lack of food and supplies in World War II Britain.
This was where the devil of the war resided: in the details, in the thousand petty humiliations of never having enough toilet paper or soap or matches or clean clothes. Civilians had been pauperized. They smelled, that was the truth of it. Body odor lay over the British Isles like a great sour fog.I like the author's style of writing, but it is possible that I liked this story even better because it is an espionage story and it is set during World War II. I am eager to try more of the author's books. I have had Fatherland and The Ghost for five years now, so it is time I got around to reading them. I bought An Officer and a Spy shortly after it was published in the US.
Publisher: Random House, 1995.
Length: 320 pages
Setting: UK, 1943
Genre: Espionage fiction
Source: I read my husband's copy.