We expect certain things from a spring break beach read: intrigue, romance, engaging characters, and a fast-moving plot. Denverite Francine Mathews’ Too Bad To Die delivers on all fronts. The World War II spy novel is a riveting, fictional account of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin’s 1943 meeting in Tehran, Iran, to plan the Allied attack on the Germans. The only wrinkle (besides a few steamy—and potentially career-killing—affairs): A German assassin is hidden among the ranks, awaiting the opportunity to take out the Allied leadership. If it sounds like a Bond movie, well, it should. The novel’s central character is none other than British Naval Intelligence officer Ian Fleming, an attractive and astute desk jockey with a penchant for penning stories at night about his covert day job. A former CIA analyst herself, Mathews spins an exciting tale that adheres as neatly as possible to Fleming’s biography—as well as the events of the historic Tehran Conference. While readers might guess the identity of the bad guy by midbook, the hunch should do nothing to diminish their enjoyment of the second half. And along the way Mathews manages to check one more beach-read box we hadn’t even considered: Too Bad To Die is also a little educational (in this case, historically so)—just enough to help keep your brain engaged until Monday rolls around.