Images from the story

To help me visualize scenes, I often searched online for images of what something looked like back then. Here are a few samples to add a bit of depth to the story.

Artwork in Ben’s Office at Columbia University:

In Part II, Chapter 4, one of the book’s characters inquires about the artwork on Ben’s office walls.  Here are images of the two works: a Portrait of Count Tolstory and Michael’s Castle in Petersburg.



Ben’s 1937 Pontiac Coupe:

This is Ben’s “spiffy coupe” that he was forced to sell because it “stood out.”  I found the photos online at: when the car was for sale. I wanted something stylish that would match Ben’s dress and personality – and was not a Ford! White walled tires were not that common then, nor were two-toned cars.





Ben’s Greenwich Village apartment building:


When Ben lived in Greenwich village under the alias Nicholas Stevens, his apartment was similar to the one(s) depicted in this image. I first located the street he lived on using street maps presented in “The WPA Guide to New York City,” which was published in 1939, the same year Ben met Chester and moved to Greenwich Village. I then went apartment hunting online to see what the residential buildings on that street look like presently. The buildings are old, so probably looked much the same then. I captured this image.

The WPA Guide to New York City:


Wow! What a godsend. This 1939 tome (650+ pages) was an invaluable resource. Maps, restaurants, night clubs, subways, newsreel theaters, you name it. It’s all here. The New York Times review excerpt on the front cover says, “One of the ten best books ever published about New York.” For me, an author with a story set in New York circa 1939, it is the best, hands down.

Interborough Rapid Transit Route Map:


I also relied on this 1939 IRT Route Map a lot. A larger version can be viewed at:

A ring that figures in the story:


The Cascais, Portugal safe house where Ben gave his case officer an ultimatum:


Note: Second story, corner building. The building is modern; didn’t look quite this way in the fall of 1942. I visually created the actual building/office used in the novel after viewing images for orientation aids. I wanted something close to the shopping area and a beach.