A Fly Has a Hundred Eyes
Aileen G. Baron

Academy Chicago Publishing
September 2007
Hardcover/277 pages
ISBN: 0-897-33509-0

". . . a spy thriller set amid Nazi turmoil created in the Palestinian area in 1939 . . ."

I found Aileen G. Baron’s A Fly Has a Hundred Eyes a surprise. Instead of a story of archeological intrigue, it’s a spy thriller set amid Nazi turmoil created in the Palestinian area in 1939.


Lily Sampson, an American graduate student, is in Jerusalem on a dig in the summer of ’39 when violence erupts. At the urging of the Grand Mufti of Syria, with Hitler’s backing, he calls on Arabs to kill all non-Muslims. The first summer morning of the book, a bomb rocks the air and mobs of Arab men rampage through the streets of Jerusalem killing any non-Muslim in their paths. Lily watches in horror as people she knows are slaughtered. But after the mob moves on she ventures out to cover the bodies of her friends. Amazingly the carnage stops when the calls go out for noon prayer so that the devout can clean themselves.

In this climate of instant violence, the leader of the dig is murdered on his way to a museum in Jerusalem and an artifact goes missing. Lily, responsible for the logging and safety of all artifacts at the site, goes searching for the glass vial since British authorities “have too much to deal with” to be concerned with the murder of one man and the loss of one artifact. Suddenly, everyone she knows and everyone she meets isn’t what they appear to be, or they have their own agenda… Spies and partisans are everywhere in Israel and individual life is worthless.

In the midst of this dissimulation and violence, Lily is shot at once, otherwise threatened with violence twice, watches her friends die, and finds one dead body. Somehow she manages to fall in love while solving the murder and unmasking the malevolent Nazi agent—and all within two months.

The writing style contains mostly dialogue and spare language. After a slow start, the book maintains a steady pace to the end. The time and place of the setting, considering similarities with current events, is an interesting choice.

Reviewer: Denise Lowe