Category Archives: Espionage

The Prisoner – volume 2

Following the deserved success of the first volume of this intelligent re-imagening for audio of the classic TV show of the 1960s, now comes its sequel – and it is even better than the first. Mark Elstob is our hero, … Continue reading

Posted in Audio Review, Big Finish, Espionage, Nicholas Briggs, Patrick McGoohan, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 8 Comments

SINGLE & SINGLE (1999) by John le Carré

John le Carré (born David Cornwell on 19 October 1931) is 86 years old today – and to celebrate here is a quick review of a title that is perhaps unfairly neglected. This is one of the later books that … Continue reading

Posted in England, Espionage, John le Carre, London, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey | 16 Comments

The Manny deWitt trilogy by Peter Rabe

This omnibus – a secret review copy of which arrived, via three drop boxes and as many couriers in disguise – comes courtesy of those very nice people at Stark House Press. It brings together the trilogy of decidedly off-beat adventure … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Silver Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Africa, Cold War, Espionage, Germany, Paris, Peter Rabe, Stark House Press, The Netherlands | 15 Comments

THE NIGHT MANAGER (1993) by John le Carré

This is a spy novel that got great reviews from the get-go, but I somehow kept delaying actually reading it and despite several attempts, never seemed to actually crack on with it (I don’t mean that literally – cracking spines … Continue reading

Posted in Bahamas, Egypt, England, Espionage, John le Carre, Switzerland | 38 Comments

Summer of Spies

This Summer the Waterstones bookchain is running a “Summer of Spies” promotion at its Gower Street shop in London, as a run-up to the publication of the new Smiley novel by John le Carre, A Legacy of Spies, due to … Continue reading

Posted in Espionage, George Smiley, John le Carre, Mike Ripley | 8 Comments

OUR GAME (1995) by John le Carré

After several globe-trotting excursions, including The Little Drummer Girl (1983), The Russia House (1989) and The Night Manager (1993), John le Carré got back to basics in this very compact spy novel which doesn’t set foot outside UK until the very … Continue reading

Posted in England, Espionage, France, John le Carre, London, Russia | 37 Comments

MINISTRY OF FEAR (1943) by Graham Greene

A wartime story of espionage and guilt, this was the last and personal favourite of Graham Greene’s self-styled ‘entertainments,’ the term he used to differentiate his thrillers from his more mainstream novels, though several of his books fall into that category … Continue reading

Posted in 2017 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Espionage, Film Noir, Five Star review, Friday's Forgotten Book, Graham Greene, Spy movies, World War II | Tagged | 45 Comments

No Way Out (1987) is now on Blu-ray!

No Way Out, adapted from Kenneth Fearing’s classic suspense novel, The Big Clock (which I previously reviewed here), is a terrific thriller starring a young Kevin Costner and quirky and beautiful Sean Young as young lovers who get caught in a … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, Espionage, Film Noir, Kenneth Fearing, Noir on Tuesday, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Washington DC | Tagged , , , | 36 Comments

THE LITTLE DRUMMER GIRL (1983) by John le Carré

John le Carré remains a true perennial and an astonishing success story. Some 55 years from his debut, he is still a best-selling author and adaptations of his work, like the BBC mini-series of The Night Manager, are big ratings winners and … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, England, Espionage, Germany, Greece, John le Carre, Middle East, Switzerland | 32 Comments

Jason Bourne – cinema review

Regular Fedora visitors will know that I love spy movies and am a sucker for stories about amnesia, so the Bourne saga – about a spy who forgets who he is and searches for answers from his old employers at the … Continue reading

Posted in Espionage, Greece, Las Vegas, London, Reykjavik, Rome, Spy movies, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Washington DC | 84 Comments

And your favourite Hitchcock movies are …

Drum roll please … Having gone through a week of voting for the favourite films directed by Alfred Hitchcock on a decade by decade basis, this was meant to lead to a top 10, though we ended up with a … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, Boileau-Narcejac, California, Cold War, Cornell Woolrich, Ed McBain, England, Espionage, Film Noir, Film Poll, London, New York, San Francisco, Scotland, Spy movies, World War II | 51 Comments

Results for the Hitchcock poll

Well, the polls are now closed and the results are in. First things first though – the response to this celebration of the 53 films directed by Alfred Hitchcock was really gratifying, so special thanks to everyone who joined in. … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Arizona, Boileau-Narcejac, Cold War, Cornell Woolrich, Ed McBain, England, Espionage, Film Noir, Film Poll, London, New England, New York, Psycho, Robert Bloch, San Francisco, Scotland, Spy movies | 45 Comments

Hitchock in the 60s and 70s – time to vote

Hitchcock’s life and career changed forever with the release of Psycho in 1960. Made on a tight budget, its enormous success made him a very wealthy man and saw him change studios to Universal for the rest of his career. … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Boston, Cold War, Cuba, Daphne Du Maurier, Ed McBain, Espionage, Film Poll, France, Germany, London, New York, Norway, Paris, Psycho, Robert Bloch, San Francisco, Spy movies, Sweden, Washington DC | 63 Comments

1950s Hitchcock – vote for the best

This was the decade when Hitchcock truly became a superstar – along with a string of critically acclaimed and commercially successful films he became the host of his own TV shows Alfred Hitchcock Presents (and later, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour), … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, Boileau-Narcejac, California, Canada, Cornell Woolrich, Edmund Crispin, Espionage, Film Noir, Film Poll, France, London, Los Angeles, New England, New York, Noir, Patricia Highsmith, Ray Milland, San Francisco, Screwball, Spy movies | 65 Comments

Hitchcock in the 1940s – vote now!

With the success of The Lady Vanishes, Hitchcock got a contract with producer David O Selznick and headed to Hollywood to make the Oscar-winning Rebecca – and never looked back. This period saw the director blossom as he got to … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Anthony Berkeley, Australia, California, Cold War, Courtroom, Daphne Du Maurier, England, Espionage, Film Poll, Francis Beeding, London, Los Angeles, New York, Noir, Patrick Hamilton, Philip MacDonald, Screwball, Spy movies, The Netherlands, World War II | 59 Comments

Vote for your favourite 1930s Hitchcock movies

In the 1930s Hitchcock hired a PR firm to get his name in the news and very soon he was cultivating the black humour and publicity gimmicks that would ultimately make him as well-known as the films he made. During … Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Alfred Hitchcock, England, Espionage, Film Poll, Joseph Conrad, Josephine Tey, Scotland, Switzerland | 44 Comments

SMEAR JOB (1975) by James Mitchell

David Callan is a dyspeptic working-class spy employed by a spartan MI6 black ops unit known only as ‘The Section.’ An exceptional marksman with a deep-rooted (and usually well-founded) distrust of authority, his nasty assignments do little to assuage his sense … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, Cold War, David Callan, Espionage, Friday's Forgotten Book, Germany, Italy, James Mitchell, Las Vegas, London, Mexico, Ostara Publishing | Tagged | 18 Comments

CALLAN UNCOVERED 2 by James Mitchell

Following on from the success of the first collection of James Mitchell’s long-thought lost short stories about his classic Cold War secret agent David Callan, here’s comes a very welcome and unexpected surprise – a sequel! The diffident protagonist was … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, David Callan, Espionage, James Mitchell, Mike Ripley, Ostara Publishing | Tagged | 19 Comments

The Man Who Finally Died (1963)

Stanley Baker stars in this above-average conspiracy thriller that boasts Bavarian locations, some neat twists and a first-rate supporting cast that includes: Peter Cushing as a sinister doctor; Mai Zetterling, in one of her last film acting roles, as a … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, Espionage, Film Noir, Germany, Spy movies, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 28 Comments

CALLAN UNCOVERED by James Mitchell

David Callan is an agent for British Intelligence and his great skill is marksmanship – but he is tortured by ethical and moral dilemmas. For every double agent uncovered or paid assassin eliminated, there is always a cost, usually borne … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, David Callan, Espionage, James Mitchell, Mike Ripley, Ostara Publishing | Tagged | 27 Comments

The Jigsaw Man (1983) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

This spy thriller was inspired by the exploits of double agent Kim Philby. Indeed the author went so far as to cheekily dedicate the book to him, and all her ‘dear friends in the KGB’ including those, ‘not yet surfaced.’ … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Cold War, England, Espionage, London, Moscow, Spy movies, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 36 Comments

A MOST WANTED MAN by John le Carré

First published in 2008, this ultra-topical spy thriller by John le Carré (whose work I previously profiled here) deals with money laundering, political asylum, extraordinary rendition and the ambiguities surrounding the tactics used in the ‘war on terror.’ It has … Continue reading

Posted in Espionage, Germany, John le Carre | Tagged | 33 Comments

THE TAMARIND SEED (1971) by Evelyn Anthony

Evelyn Anthony (pen-name of Evelyn Ward-Thomas) turned 86 this month. She began writing historical romances in the Coronation year of 1953 but by the late 1960s had switched to topical suspense mixed with romance. The Tamarind Seed is a perfect example … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Barbados, Blake Edwards, Cold War, Espionage, Evelyn Anthony, London, Paris, Spy movies | 40 Comments

EXPO 58 by Jonathan Coe

Jonathan Coe is one of my favourite authors, a witty and wise chronicler of British mores, foibles and eccentricities who, in terms of book sales, is apparently appreciated even more on the Continent than he is at home – but … Continue reading

Posted in Alfred Hitchcock, Brussels, Cold War, Espionage, Jonathan Coe | 18 Comments

SPYSHIP (1980) by Tom Keene with Brian Haynes

This topical Cold War yarn about a sunken ship marked the fiction debut of two TV journalists. The premise is based on the true case of the Gaul trawler, which sank in February 1974 off the north coast of Norway, … Continue reading

Posted in 2014 Book to Movie Challenge, 2014 Vintage Mystery Challenge Bingo, Cold War, Espionage, James Mitchell | 23 Comments

Callan (1974) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

In the 1970s British cinema was at a particularly low ebb following the departure of the American majors. The number of productions fell precipitously and confidence ebbed away. As a result, for the next few years British cinemas seemed to … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Cold War, David Callan, Espionage, James Mitchell, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, TV Spinoff | 24 Comments

A MAGNUM FOR SCHNEIDER (1969) by James Mitchell

David Callan is a very reluctant spy who undertakes nasty jobs for a black ops unit of MI6 known only as ‘The Section.’ An exceptional marksman with a deep-rooted (and usually well-founded) distrust of authority, his often lethal assignments do little to … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, David Callan, Espionage, James Mitchell, Novelisation, Ostara Publishing | Tagged | 32 Comments

Joseph Losey’s crime movies

In the 1940s and early 1950s Joseph Losey established himself as a new director of rare intelligence and technical dexterity in Hollywood. His promise however was curtailed by the McCarthy witch hunts that destroyed the lives of hundreds of men … Continue reading

Posted in Cold War, Film Noir, James Hadley Chase, Joseph Losey, London, New York, Noir on Tuesday, Paris, Stanley Ellin, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | 23 Comments

DICK BARTON: THE CASE OF THE VANISHING HOUSE (1978) by Alan Radnor

In the 1940s my mum and her sister used to rush home every school night to listen to the next exciting adventure of Dick Barton – Special Agent. Broadcast by the BBC from 6.45 to 7PM, the radio serials debuted … Continue reading

Posted in 2013 Book to Movie Challenge, Cold War, Dick Barton, Espionage, Friday's Forgotten Book, Hammer Studios, London, Novelisation, Radio, Scene of the crime | 43 Comments

Top 20 TV Spies

Not everyone agrees, but for me the spy story is definitely a subset of the crime and mystery genre. However, tales of espionage do come in all shapes and sizes: from contemporary to historical, deadly serious like Tinker Tailor Soldier … Continue reading

Posted in Espionage, George Smiley, John le Carre, Len Deighton, London, Mexico, Robert Culp, Rome, Scene of the crime, The Sandbaggers | 61 Comments