September 24, 1979 12:00 PM

by Harry Patterson

Beautiful Hannah Winter is an American jazz singer in 1940 Berlin, working at her Jewish uncle’s nightclub, an underground anti-Nazi headquarters. She becomes involved in a German SS plot to kidnap the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who have escaped France to neutral Portugal. This is another of those World War II novels that use real people in totally preposterous circumstances. Patterson, who under the nom de plume Jack Higgins wrote the best-selling The Eagle Has Landed, is adept at the fast, vivid scene. And the pace is once again brisk, but this time the violence and twists of plot seem too familiar and too ridiculous. Inept dialogue doesn’t help. The German general’s farewell to Hannah is, “Did I ever tell you that when you sing, you sound like Billie Holiday on one of her better days?” (Stein and Day, $10.95)

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