The Herr Graf was a familiar sight to the residents of the Rhineland village of Grauhugel. After all he'd been walking the halls of the local castle at night and occasionally nodding to the servants ever since he drowned some 86 years ago. No one was the least bit alarmed by the Graf's spectral walks. The castle's major domo found it all quite comforting. After all the young Graf had been quite popular while he was alive.
When the actor hired to play the dead Graf in a movie is felled by an accident, the film's director is overjoyed to come across a talented replacement who seems to have been born to play the part, little realizing that the Graf and his faithful servant – who perished in the same accident – had only recently decided to materialize in public.
The Graf isn't stagestruck. He's back among the living to correct an old wrong. Along the way, he adds a bit of realism to a cinematic duel, befuddles a blackmarketeer, breaks out of jail, and exposes a charlatan spiritualist. At the same time, his amorous servant Franz is in the grip of an awkward dilemma. What if he's pursuing the granddaughters of village maidens he dallied with eight decades in the past?
Manning Coles is the pseudonym of two British writers, Adelaide Frances Oke Manning (1891–1959) and Cyril Henry Coles (1899–1965), who wrote many spy thrillers from the early 40s through the early 60s. The fictional protagonist in 26 of their books was Thomas Elphinstone Hambledon, who works for the Foreign Office.
Manning Coles. Wikipedia.