Clive Egleton’s Top Notch thrillers

Here’s some info on the two releases this month in the Top Notch Thrillers series from Ostara Publishing, as supplied by series editor Mike Ripley. Seven Days to a Killing (1973) and The October Plot (1974) were the two books which shot Clive Egleton into ‘the Alistair Maclean bracket’. A career British army officer retiring with the rank of Lt-Colonel thirty years after enlisting (underage) in the Royal Armoured Corps on D-Day in 1944, Egleton (1927-2006) began writing thrillers whilst still a serving officer. Seven Days to a Killing (1973) was his fourth published novel and the film rights were snapped up on first publication by director Don Siegel, then riding high in the success of Dirty Harry (1971) and Charley Varrick (1973) . The film version, starring Michael Caine and Donald Pleasence, was renamed The Black Windmill and released the following year.

The success of Seven Days and The Black Windmill allowed Egleton to retire from the army and become a full-time writer and his next novel, The October Plot, became a huge international bestseller as a World War II thriller to rank alongside Where Eagles Dare and The Eagle Has Landed. Known in America as ‘The Bormann Brief’, the book is a detailed description of an attempt to assassinate Hitler’s Deputy Martin Bormann in 1944, in the wake of the failed July Bomb Plot. Egleton went on to write more than forty novels.

Seven Days To A Killing and The October Plot are the first of his titles to be reissued as Top Notch Thrillers, the print-on-demand and e-book imprint of Ostara Publishing which is dedicated to reviving Great British thrillers which do not deserve to be forgotten. In three years of operation, Top Notch Thrillers have published 28 titles, including novels by authors such as Geoffrey Household, Duncan Kyle, Francis Clifford and Victor Canning.

Full details of all titles can be found on

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14 Responses to Clive Egleton’s Top Notch thrillers

  1. Colin says:

    Cheers for the info. I may pick these up out of curiosity. I did a piece on The Black Windmill before – – and I wouldn’t mind reading the novel that inspired it.

  2. Margot Kinberg says:

    Sergio – Good stuff; thanks for the information! It’s good to hear some of these great thrillers will get a new audience.

  3. TracyK says:

    Very interesting information. Both novels sound appealing and I like what Mike Ripley is doing in publishing out-of-print mysteries and thrillers. The October Plot is right up my alley. I will have to see if I can find the money for at least one of these in my book budget.

  4. John says:

    You always beat me to the punch in helping Mike Ripley publicize the Top Notch Thrillers. I got his PR email a few days ago. If it weren’t for this reprint line I never would’ve discovered Jonas Wilde nor the macabre thrillers of John Blackburn. I’ve reviewed four of the TNT titles on my blog though only three are listed in that long list of reviews. And this reminds me I’m overdue for my next review of a Jonas Wilde spy thriller, too.

  5. mikeripley says:

    Thank you for the kind words. We do our best at Top Notch Thrillers trying to rescue titles and authors from undeserved obscurity. One day I may even reveal the titles we failed to get the rights to thanks to stubborn (and often arrogant) agents, squabbles among an author’s surviving family members and (most common) the original publishers having no record of what happened to authors or who holds the rights now. On two occasions, I have been taken to lunch by authors whose publishers assured me were dead! However, the good news is that we plan more Berkely Mather titles next year and possibly more from Duncan Kyle and Clive Egleton (including a little known World War One thriller) and a tough spy story by Antony Melville-Ross

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