Bookshelf: Mission Impossible #4 – Little Ivan

Mission: Impossible #4 – Code Name: Little Ivan
By John Tiger
First Published in 1969
Published by Popular Library
128 Pages

According to Kurt Peer’s TV Tie-Ins: A Bibliography of American TV Tie-In Paperbacks, this novel was “hastily re-written by the editorial staff” due to cast changes in the television series. Martin Landau and Barbara Bain (who played Rollin Hand and Cinnamon Carter) left Mission: Impossible after it’s third season. Leonard Nimoy’s character, Paris, replaces Rollin Hand while a totally new female character, Annabelle Drue, replaces Cinnamon Carter. But Cinnamon is still mentioned on the back cover of the novel.

Little Ivan Front
Little Ivan Front – Copyright 1969 Popular Library

In Code Name: Little Ivan the Impossible Missions Force is charged with stealing a Soviet T-94 tank from East Germany. The armor on the tanks is incredibly resilient and needs to be analyzed for weaknesses. So one of the Little Ivans, as they’re known, has to be secured. After listening to the tape with his instructions on a roller coaster, Jim Phelps puts together his team:

He studied the photos thoughtfully. He would need a beautiful woman to pass as the elegant model. Yes, Annabelle Drue. Sloe-eyed, silky voiced, cool in a crisis and as clever as she was lovely, she had been a top fashion model before joining the I.M. Force three years earlier. She could charm a dictator, crack a safe or disarm an assassin without mussing her lipstick.

Yes, Annabelle was right for this operation.

Rounding out the team for the mission are Paris, Barney Collier, Willie Armitage and Phelps himself. Together they’ll represent Lovely Lips Incorporated, part of Trans-Oceanic Industries, at the Leipzig Trade Fair in West Germany. But their real mission will be to replace a Little Ivan tank being tested nearby with an inflatable fake filled with 10,000 pounds of water and hide the real tank in a fake piece of machinery produced by Lovely Lips Incorporated.

Little Ivan Back
Little Ivan Back – Copyright 1969 Popular Library

To pull off the theft without being discovered will take subterfuge, romance, fake accents, impersonation, ingeniuity and luck. Par for the course. Code Name: Little Ivan has all the elements of a television episode of Mission: Impossible. There’s danger, of course, and the plan springs a leak (literally and figuratively) or two, but with Barney’s intelligence, Willie’s brawn, Jim’s brain, Annabelle’s beauty and the skilled acting of Paris, the IMF manages to get it right.


Leave a Comment