Book Club Discussion Questions for A Spying Eye

  1. Did you know anything about the Ghent Altarpiece before reading this book? Did its history surprise you, and what did you find most interesting about it?
  2. Discuss Hitler’s desire for the Ghent Altarpiece compared to Glenn Forbes’s desire for the Frederic Church painting. Do you think Antonia was unreasonable not to sell the El Rio de Luz to him?
  3. Were you surprised by Hitler’s strange occult obsessions, including his belief that the Aryan super- race resided in the mythical land of Thule?
  4. During dinner at Chateau du Freudeneck, Henrietta learns of Major Wirnhier’s acceptance and promotion of Hitler’s policies of exterminating the “mentally unfit.” Compare this to Oldrich Exley’s desire to send Anna away to an epileptic colony.
  5. There are many suspicious characters and red herrings in this book. Who did you suspect of taking the painting and/or of colluding with the Nazis? Valentine? Monsieur Bonnet? Pascal? Claudette?
  6. Claudette is a complex character in that she is not entirely good and yet not entirely bad. Do you think her actions were justified? Did you feel sorry for her, or did you feel like she got what she deserved?
  7. Were you ever suspicious of Inspector Hartle? Were you surprised by the ending?
  8. Do you think Clive and Henrietta should pursue Hartle, or keep their promise to MI5 to stay out of it?
  9. What are your feelings about Julia’s choice to turn down Glenn’s offer of escape? What would you have done in that situation, considering her place in society and Randolph’s treat to send the boys away?
  10. Clive is often harsh with Pascal and generally aloof with the servants, including Edna. Is this justified?
  11. Do you approve of Melody’s decision to impersonate Elsie at the convent?
  12. Did you think it was wise for Elsie to elope with Gunther? What should she have done instead?

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