Louis Passau is America's greatest living orchestral conductor, a legendary, world-acclaimed artist whose ninetieth birthday will be marked by a glittering celebratory concert at New York's Lincoln Center. But a double shadow hangs over the event: Passau has recently been accused of spying for Hitler and, worse, the British Secret Intelligence Service have now linked his name to KGB clandestine operations in the USA during the Cold War. The Maestro agrees to be interrogated, but only after the concert. British Intelligence call in Big Herbie Kruger to question the Maestro, and thanks to the once-famous agent-runner Passau survives an assassination attempt in his moment of glory. Still a target, he now insists on dealing only with Kruger, who desperately seeks a safe-house to conduct the debriefing. As he grapples with the elusive truth about the conductor - from the man's first memories of his Bavarian village, to his adventures as a young immigrant in New York, his experiences in Capone's Chicago and his ruthless rise to fame and fortune - Herbie Kruger finds himself ensnared in the Maestro's dangerous secrets and deceits.
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