What if Old Hollywood’s most dashing star had been an international man of mystery? In 54, this uneven but enthralling novel by five Italians billed as Wu Ming, Cary Grant is recruited by British intelligence in 1954 for a secret tête-á-tête with Yugoslavia’s Marshal Tito. As things go awry, personages both historical (Lucky Luciano, Grace Kelly) and fictive (a Grant fan and his Communist father) enter the fray. Readers expecting a fast-moving spy yarn will be daunted by a surfeit of subplots and languid pacing. Patience pays off, however, with a wrap-up that tweaks Hitchcock and James Bond while plumbing mysteries of personal identity, national loyalty, and idealism lost and regained.