“Howard Blum writes history books that read like thrillers.”—New York Times
A retired spy gets back into the game to solve a perplexing case—and reconcile with his daughter, a CIA officer who married into the very family that derailed his own CIA career—in this compulsive true-life tale of vindication and redemption, filled with drama, intrigue, and mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Goodnight, It’s a real-life thriller whose stunning conclusion will make headline news.
On a sunlit morning in September 1978, a sloop drifts aimlessly across the Chesapeake Bay. The cabin reveals signs of a struggle, and “classified” documents, live 9 mm cartridges, and a top-secret “burst” satellite communications transmitter are discovered aboard. But where is the boat’s owner, former CIA officer John Paisley?
One man may hold the key to finding out. Tennent “Pete” Bagley was once a rising star in America’s spy aristocracy, and many expected he’d eventually become CIA director. But the star that burned so brightly exploded when Bagley—who suspected a mole had burrowed deep into the agency’s core—was believed himself to be the mole. After a year-long investigation, Bagley was finally exonerated, but the accusations tarnished his reputation and tainted his career.
When Bagley’s daughter Christina, a CIA analyst, married another intelligence officer who was the son of the man who had played a key role in the investigation into Bagley, it caused a painful rift between the two. But then came Paisley’s strange death. A murder? Suicide? Or something else? Pete, now a retired spy, launches his own investigation that takes him deep into his own past and his own longtime hunt for a mole. What follows is a relentless pursuit to solve a spy story—and an inspiring tale of a man reclaiming his reputation and his family. It’s a very personal quest that leads to a shocking conclusion.
The Spy Who Knew Too Much includes 8 pages of black-and-white photographs.
About the Author
Howard Blum is the author of the New York Times bestseller and Edgar Award winner American Lightning, as well as Wanted!, The Gold of Exodus, Gangland, The Floor of Heaven, and, most recently, a 2018 New York Times Notable Book: In the Enemy's House. Blum is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. While at the New York Times, he was twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. He is the father of three children, and lives in Connecticut.
“Nail-biting. . . . Blum’s access to Bagley’s writings and a myriad of other sources enables him to craft a page-turning narrative. This reads like a John le Carré novel come to life.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
By going back and forth in time, Blum cleverly makes his pieces part of agency folklore, terrific stories in their own right. This is the Cold War at high noon, missiles loaded, when spies were the front-line troops. If you have even a passing interest in the period, the book will be catnip. . . . The period details are so atmospheric and rich that it would be no surprise to see Kim Philby make a guest appearance. . . . It would be easy to get lost in all this, but Blum lays out his pieces clearly, and entertainingly. — Washington Post
"Howard Blum, a former New York Times reporter, has written an exciting, page-turning account of this internecine warfare, why Bagley persisted in fighting it, and the conclusions he finally reached." — Commentary