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University at Buffalo Libraries

George Kelley Paperback & Pulp Fiction Collection

Passport to Peril

cover image By: Marlowe, Stephen (male)
Publisher: Fawcett Publications, Inc. (Crest Books 296)
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 667: PS3563 .A675 P37 1959
Contributor: K. Quinlivan


Era: 1950s Author as on Cover: Stephen Marlowe Geographic Locale: Vienna, Austria and other eastern European locations Date of Publication: 1959  |  Original Date: 1959 Setting: small mountain towns and remote villages on the Austria-Yugoslav border Motives: murder; opposing political idealogies between Russian and Yugoslav Communist agents

Plot Summary

When Amos Whitlock dies of an apparent heart attack during a vacation in eastern Europe, his nephew, Ed Campbell, travels to Yugoslavia to accompany the body on its return trip to the United States. A routine customs checkpoint at the Yugoslav-Austrian border quickly turns into a nightmare for Ed when he learns that one of his fellow passengers is using his dead uncle's passport as identification. While Ed is busy trying to sort out the confusion with the border guards, the bus he's been traveling in explodes and forty tourists are killed. Determined to find out what really caused his uncle's death, Ed vows not to leave Europe until he has an answer. The local police initially consider Ed a prime suspect in the bus explosion, and he is drawn steadily into a complex web of international espionage and political intrigue. Not sure if he can trust anyone, Ed's search for the truth involves a beautiful ballet dancer and a network of spies, counterspies, and government agents.

Major Characters

Ed Campbell adult male, heterosexual, 27 years old, former minor league baseball player, currently unemployed

Sonia Kopitar adult female, tall, black hair, dark eyes, early 20s, attractive, prima ballerina

Marquis DeSauvy adult male, French, small, trim, middle-aged, manager of a ballet company

Lieutenant Jeuttner adult male, stocky build, Austrian policeman

Payson Denney adult male, early 40s, thinning hair, tour office manager

Anton Nazor adult male, thin, dark, small, sparse hair, tour office clerk

Ilse Bernecker adult female, dark, big, Nazor's mistress

Charlie Goheen adult male, government agent working for the U.S. Information Agency


fists, guns

Level of Violence

several fight scenes with moderate descriptions of physical violence; several characters are shot to death, and there are explosions involving a bus and a small airplane.


Sonia and Ed are instantly attracted to each other, but their sexual relationship is described briefly. It takes a back seat to their main mission.

Gender Roles

traditional; the spies and political activists are men. The only major female character is a dancer; other minor female characters are waitresses or office clerks who rely on men for support and guidance.


there are several brief references to stereotypical characteristics of several eastern Europeans, e.g. "stocky Austrian types...with thick necks," "a buxom waitress," and "Austrians are probably Europe's champion handshakers"

Alcohol/Drug Abuse

plenty of cigarette smoking by most characters, often as a means of calming jangled nerves or easing tension, or sometimes as an ice-breaker in social situations. Alcohol is an accepted part of the scene in bars and restaurants, but no one has a serious problem with alcohol.

Law Enforcement

several members of the police force, along with border guards on both sides, are involved in the political scheming.

Added Features

the sights and sounds of Vienna, combined with a liberal sprinkling of German words and phrases, are woven throughout the novel. The political complexities of 1950s eastern Europe -- Tito's Yugoslavia, the Iron Curtain, Russian Reds, anti-American sentiment, etc. -- provide a backdrop for much of the action.

Subject Headings

Austria - Vienna/ Eastern Europe/ Communism/ Yugoslavia/ International Intrigue/ Spies