British author John Herman Mulso Sherwood (1913 - 2002) was known primarily for his 11 cozy mysteries featuring amateur sleuth Celia Grant, a professional botanist and horticulturist who operates a retail nursery. Sherwood also penned half a dozen standalone crime fiction novels, including Undiplomatic Exit (1958), shortlisted for Gold Dagger Award.
Another series Sherwood created was the five-book series with Charles Blessington, an official with the Ministry of the Treasury. Blessington is a middle-aged civil servant who enjoys his sedentary lifestyle and dull routine in his drab, gray little office wearing his plain gray suits. However, his sharp intelligence, logical outlook, stubbornness and keen perception allow him to see clues others don't. He can even be deadly when he has to.
The 1952 installment Ambush for Anatol (also published as Murder of Mistress in the U.S.), is set in post-World War II Britain and follows young married couple Philip and Diana Abinger, who want to keep up appearances despite being strapped for cash. Philip, a dashing former Air Force piliot, is particularly desperate in his search for a job that isn't dull or routine like everything else in post-war Britain.
Their prayers seem to be answered when Philip and Diana bump into an old wartime flying acquaintance of Philip's, the Polish Count Jan Piatovksy, who is with his lady friend, Lena Watson. The Count has a financial proposition for the Abingers, and arranges for them to meet a man named Anatol on Bank Holiday Monday at Hampstead Heath. At the last minute, however, the Count has a change of heart and refuses to introduce the couple to Anatol.
Annoyed, Philip and Diana secretly follow the Count and Lena to some bushes in the Heath where they are seen meeting with the mysterious Anatol, although the Abingers wind up leaving empty-handed. Not too long afterward, the bodies of the Count and Lena are discovered behind those same bushes.
Blessington reluctantly gets dragged into the mess, leaving his quiet desk at the Treasury as his investigation uncovers currency fraud, illegal mercury trade, sexual deviance, kidnapping and ultimately involves a chase by train across Italy and France ending up at the Louvre.