East Germany, 1966. Major Werner Gottwald has dedicated his life to Communism, keeping western visitors under constant surveillance as an agent of the secret police Stasi. His latest assignment is the American millionaire Zane Smith as well as Smith’s lover, the beautiful Shoushan Kariyan. At first, it seems to be just another mission. But there is more to Zane Smith than meets the eye and soon Gottwald finds himself in over his head. For it turns out that he underestimated the deviousness of the Communist brethren of the KGB. And he definitely underestimated Shoushan Kariyan…
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Some background information:
- This story is 8500 words long and was originally published in Thriller UK No. 9.
- The story was intended to pay homage to the great spy fiction, films and TV shows of the 1960s.
- The Other Side of the Curtain is actually the second story to feature Zane Smith and Shoushan Kariyan and a sequel of sorts to The Dark Lily, a novelette which explains how they first met.
- The scene where several East German border guards are baffled by Smith’s American car is based on a real incident I witnessed during a visit to East Germany in the late 1980s.
- The Leipzig expo and the town of Schkeuditz where Smith and Shoushan stop for dinner are also real, as is the Ratskeller restaurant. The customer service attitude of East German waiters also matches reality.
- Everything else is fictional, though.
- For what it’s worth, The Other Side of the Curtain is my Mom’s favourite of all my stories.
- The cover image is a Warholized version of a stockphoto by Stefan Wagner of the old border installations in the village of Mödlareuth, now a museum.
- The original cover is here. The image shows the wall around a local junkyard doubling for the Berlin Wall.