After serving his country as a paratrooper in World War II, Jack Rhyce takes on an even more dangerous mission when he becomes a secret agent in the early years of the Cold War. Now he and fellow spy Ruth Bogart have been dispatched to Tokyo to foil an assassination attempt on a leading liberal politician. Murder is only the first part of this nefarious Communist plot; the ultimate objective is to stir up anti-American sentiment in a country that has formed close bonds with its former adversary in the West.
Undercover as do-gooders employed by the Asia Friendship League, Jack and Ruth are met at the airport by Mr. Moto, a would-be tour guide who offers to make their stay more hospitable. The American spies immediately suspect that there is more to Mr. Moto than meets the eye. But whose side is he on? To stop the cunning mastermind behind the sinister scheme, Jack and Ruth will have to learn the secrets of post-war Japan as quickly as possible. The mysterious Mr. Moto might just be their greatest ally, or their worst enemy.
First serialized in the Saturday Evening Post, John P. Marquand’s popular and acclaimed Mr. Moto Novels were the inspiration for 8 films starring Peter Lorre.
About the Author
By the 1930s, Marquand was a regular contributor to the Saturday Evening Post, where he debuted the character of Mr. Moto, a Japanese secret agent. No Hero, the first in a series of bestselling spy novels featuring Mr. Moto, was published in 1935. Three years later, Marquand won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Late George Apley, a subtle lampoon of Boston’s upper classes. The novels that followed, including H.M. Pulham, Esquire (1941), So Little Time (1943), B.F.’s Daughter (1946), Point of No Return (1949), Melvin Goodwin, USA (1952), Sincerely, Willis Wayde (1955), and Women and Thomas Harrow (1959), cemented his reputation as the preeminent chronicler of contemporary New England society and one of America’s finest writers.
Read an Excerpt
Right You Are, Mr. Moto
By John P. Marquand
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1957 The Curtis Publishing Company
All rights reserved.
Jack Rhyce had not expected to see the Russians in San Francisco. The word in Washington had been that Mr. Molotov and his delegation would have left the city, several hours before Rhyce's arrival; but no one could have notified Jack Rhyce of the change of plans without creating undue attention. It had also been a mistake to make a reservation at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, but they had said categorically in Washington that the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the United Nations would be over. Instead, the Russians were just leaving the Mark Hopkins when Jack Rhyce arrived by taxi from the airport. There was hardly time for him to get his bags out before the driver was shooed away by a police escort, and there was nothing left for him to do but stand in the small crowd that was gathering.
"What's going on?" he asked the bellboy. The question was unnecessary because at the moment he asked he saw the limousines and the faces of the drivers.
"It's the Russians," the bellboy said.
"What?" Jack Rhyce asked. "The Russians aren't staying here, are they?"
"No, sir," the bellboy said, "but Mr. Molotov has been having a cocktail with Secretary Dulles."
"Well," Jack Rhyce said, "good for Mr. Molotov."
It would have looked conspicuous if he had moved backwards. It was better, in his opinion, to stand quietly and watch. The guards were coming out and grouping themselves around the leading limousine. At first glance the men seemed interchangeable with any of the people who protected top-flight Russians — heavy, stocky men with potatolike faces, and not a beauty in the bunch; but then they were not selected for show. Russian features were hard to classify, and he had been out of touch with the problem for quite a while, but he was sure two of them were officers high up in the NKVD. He could only hope that the recognition was not mutual; not that there would have been any great harm in it. After all, nothing could have been more natural than that he should be in San Francisco at this particular time. Still, he would have felt easier if he had not encountered the Russians just when he was on the point of flying to Japan. He knew that one should never underrate them, not even when they were being jolly good fellows in front of the Mark Hopkins Hotel.
"The one with the glasses is Mr. Molotov," the bellboy said.
Jack Rhyce had not seen Mr. Molotov for quite a while, but he was not likely to forget him, with or without glasses, since they had met twice on social occasions and had once exchanged amenities over caviar and vodka, at the end of the war, when Jack Rhyce had been traveling with one of the American missions. Mr. Molotov was in no hurry. He smiled happily as he walked toward the limousine. His expression was exactly the same as it had been in Moscow when he had slapped Jack Rhyce on the shoulder.
"Young man," Mr. Molotov had said, "let us touch glasses in token of a lasting friendship between our two countries."
"This is a great honor, sir," Jack Rhyce had answered.
"No, no," Mr. Molotov said. "You and I both are men."
"Yes, Excellency," Jack Rhyce said, "and all men are brothers."
He was younger in those days, with a lot to learn. He had made his last speech in Russian, when the Foreign Minister had been speaking in English, and Russian had not been necessary.
"Young man," Mr. Molotov had said, "you speak Russian not badly."
Jack Rhyce instantly realized that by showing off his Russian, simply because he was proud of being top of a language class, he had called attention to himself. His chief had spoken to him very roughly about it afterward, and the Chief had been absolutely right.
"Just get it through your head," the Chief had said, "that boys like you aren't supposed to be heard at all, and that you don't wear striped pants all the time. Never try to be conspicuous. Never."
It was good advice, and Jack Rhyce seldom needed to be told things twice.
There was no way for him to discover whether any of the Russian party recognized him now or not. He could only tell himself again that, even if they did, it should make no particular difference. Mr. Molotov, still beaming, waved to the crowd. Then the car door closed. The Russian party was gone as completely as though it had never been there. They had his dossier, of course, but they had him connected with Washington and Berlin. There was no reason whatsoever for them to believe that he was going to the Orient. Still, he wished that he had not seen the Russians.
Jack Rhyce had been a guest in so many hotels that he could instantly catch the atmosphere of any place in which he stopped and could immediately fit into its background. For God's sake, as the Chief had once told him, never chaffer too long at a hotel reception desk, and as rapidly as possible get up to your room, and never be seen hanging aimlessly around the lobby. Experience had taught Jack Rhyce that the Chief nearly always was absolutely right. Twice during the war he had been to the Mark Hopkins Hotel, but only to ascend in the elevator to that popular cocktail room known as the Top of the Mark. He had been with the paratroopers in those days, and he had never dreamed that anyone would select him for what he was now doing, but even then his memory had been excellent. Consequently, he had the general layout of the hotel straight, almost the instant he was inside the door.
"Would you please hand me my briefcase, son?" he asked the bellboy.
The way you handled a briefcase could make you look like a traveling salesman or a corporation lawyer. It was better at the moment, Jack Rhyce thought, to be placed as a corporation lawyer. He printed his name carefully in block letters on the registration card.
"The name is Rhyce," he said. "John O. Rhyce, from Washington, D.C. I don't suppose you have any letters waiting for me? Or telegrams or messages?" He spoke in a gentle, cultivated voice with an accent difficult to identify.
"No messages, Mr. Rhyce," the clerk said, "but we do have your reservation. It's lucky you didn't come a day earlier, what with all the goings on. I hope you saw Mr. Molotov. He must have been leaving just when you came in."
"Oh, yes," Jack Rhyce said. "He was pointed out to me."
"Front," the clerk said — "Room 515."
If Jack's guess was right, he would be in the middle of the corridor, and he always slept more soundly there than at either end. It was a pleasant, airy room which looked toward the Bay.
"Well, thanks, son." Jack Rhyce said. "That extra quarter is for showing me Mr. Molotov."
Until the bellboy left, he stood gazing admiringly at the view, but as soon as the door was closed he started on a tour of inspection which was as routine as a plane checkup. No transom; the door lock sound, and in good order; no balconies or closely adjoining windows; no air shaft in the bathroom. It was five o'clock in the afternoon, ample time in which to make a final appraisal of all his personal effects before he went to dinner.
First he examined his passport. Unlike several others that he had carried, it told his true history except for his occupation — height five feet eleven, hair light brown, eyes blue, no distinguishing marks or features. His place of birth was Lincoln, Nebraska, where as a matter of fact his mother and his elder sister still lived. His date of birth was January 13th, 1920. His occupation was educator. A good deal of thought had been given to his photograph, and the general result was useful, in that it only vaguely resembled him. There was no disguising his high broad forehead, or the arch of his eyebrows, or the firmness of his jaw, but if he changed his expression he could repudiate the whole document, if necessary.
Next, he turned to his briefcase. He had been taught and he understood the great importance of cover. The proper odds and ends and letters in a briefcase could be of the utmost value, and one of the rules of the game was that one never could be too careful with cover details.
The latest advices were that Japan was getting hot again and with a tensing in the Pacific area, there was bound to be increased interest in any strange American in one of several quarters. Thus he expected and hoped that someone would go through his personal effects, either during his stopover in Hawaii or directly after his arrival in Tokyo, and the sooner this happened the better, as far as he was concerned. The main point was to demonstrate as early in the game as possible that he was harmless, with absolutely nothing to conceal.
He put his briefcase on the writing table and drew out its contents, placing the items in a neat row. He was satisfied with the way everything looked. The letters had obviously been well handled, and the odds and ends beside the letters were the sort of things that would get into a briefcase by accident, and each added its bit to the owner's background. There was, for instance, a small box of deodorant powder which confirmed his new personality, since affable people who wished to please dreaded perspiration. The New Testament which was also in the briefcase he had felt was too obvious by itself, and he had compromised by adding a small volume of the sayings of Buddha, published by the Oxford University Press. Both these volumes were also well worn, with many cogent passages marked in his own writing. The letters indicating his family background gave him particular pleasure. He could not forget the work which had gone into the one from Omaha, Nebraska. Not only the words but the handwriting accurately revealed the writer's character.
Dear, Darling Bunny:
I am so pleased and so proud that this wonderful chance has come to you after so many years of working so hard for other people. I know you don't know much about the Japanese, any more than I do. But we both know their hearts are in the right place. And your personality that inspires trust in everyone will get through to them, I know, in spite of all the barriers of race and creed. I would be worried about the Oriental women that you are going to meet over there if I did not have a mother's knowledge of a devoted son. I know you will be thinking of me as much as I of you. Send me a postcard every day, and happy landings.
Although Jack Rhyce admitted that the letter might seem exaggerated, at the same time people who skimmed through briefcases often required definite leads, and the Oedipus complex was universal. After all, there could be little sinister about a mother's boy.
The second letter was written in a girlish hand on the stationery of the Department of Sociology of Goucher College.
I'm going to miss you terribly. But seriously, sweetie, I think it's a grand thing that you are going away to new countries for a while, to study how other people live — not that I want you to get interested in any girls there, or anything like that. But seriously, sweetie, although I don't like to be a "bore," I do think the time has come for you to make up your mind. In fact, the time has come for both of us. This doesn't mean that I don't love you dearly, sweetie, but a girl can't stay waiting all the time for any man, can she? And this has been going on ever since we met at your Senior Prom — remember? I know your mother is a darling, but honestly, I don't feel that she need interfere with a happy marriage. I've been reading a lot about these problems lately, and all the authorities say that they can resolve themselves, but we all have to do our part. I simply can't do everything. And so as you wing your way over the ocean, I hope ...
Jack Rhyce did not read the rest of it, because he was familiar with the contents. The letter had been composed, though not handwritten, by an elderly spinster who specialized in cover work, and who had no sense of humor. She was not even amused by the signature, "Loads of love, your Helena."
"Why do you think that's funny?" she asked him. "That's exactly the sort of girl who would want to marry you if you had a mother like that."
Both letters showed signs of constant reading. For the past two weeks he had spent a half hour perusing them before going to sleep, and his fingerprints proved it.
Then there were the more formal letters of introduction to representatives of a completely genuine institution known as the Asia Friendship League in Japan, and all other countries where the League had branches. The beauty of it all was that there was nothing wrong with any of this part of the cover. The organization had been honestly conceived by public-spirited citizens, and, at least in its Washington headquarters, had no employees with subversive records.
Connecting him with the Asia Friendship League had been the Chief's idea. It happened that the Chief had known the man who had given the money to form the Asia Friendship League. He was a Texas oil millionaire named Gus Tremaine who had established a charitable trust for tax purposes, and in fact had not known that the Asia Friendship League existed until the Chief had informed him of it personally. The trust money, Mr. Tremaine had explained, was handled by a board, the meetings of which he seldom attended; but he was most co-operative after the Chief had talked to him, and he had called and written the chairman of the Asia Friendship League personally.
Jack Rhyce now had the letter written to him, as a result, on the League's letterhead:
ASIA FRIENDSHIP LEAGUE
Dear Mr. Rhyce:
It is a real delight to hear from Mr. Gus Tremaine that he has commissioned you, on his behalf, to make a survey of our work in the Orient, and to write a general report for him. This is just the sort of thing we like, and we like it all the better when it shows Mr. Tremaine's interest. You must not be prejudiced by any idle gossip regarding the Institute of Pacific Relations, or anything like that. You will find that in our show we have all the cards on the table and nothing up our sleeves. The main ideal behind our organization, endorsed by all the fine people whose names you see on the left margin of this letter, is in one word — good will. In fact, we have only one ax to grind, if you call it an ax, and that is that a lot of people out in the Pacific area need a lot of help, but not handouts that smack of colonialism. Our concept is simply to help folks to help themselves.
However, I am, as it were, talking out of school. You'll understand our aims better after we have lunch and spend an afternoon together on any day you name next week. And on your travels, you'll find out, too, what a swell, alert team of truly dedicated folks we have in Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Saigon and Thailand.
Well, anticipating a word from you, and looking forward to being of any help to you in any way I can, in what I honestly predict will be for you a real eye-opening adventure —
Cordially yours, Chas. K. Harrington
This letter also showed signs of repeated reading. It had interested Jack Rhyce from the beginning.CHAPTER 2
As soon as he had received the Harrington letter, Jack Rhyce had asked to see the Chief, who listened carefully while Jack read the letter aloud.
"Well," the Chief said, "what's so funny about it?"
"I didn't say it sounded funny," Jack Rhyce said. "I said I thought it sounded phony."
"I wish you wouldn't bother me about these details, Buster," the Chief said. "The whole department is working on this cover for you. We're giving it everything we've got, and then when we come up with something you merely say it's phony."
"I only mean," Jack Rhyce said, "I sort of get the idea that this whole Friendship league setup sounds a little too good to be true."
There was an appreciable pause, and it seemed to Jack that perhaps the Chief was reviewing the bidding. It was the Chief's open mind that had finally put him where he was, in spite of competition.
"Have you read their literature yet?" the Chief asked.
"No, sir," Jack Rhyce said.
Excerpted from Right You Are, Mr. Moto by John P. Marquand. Copyright © 1957 The Curtis Publishing Company. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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