Category Archives: John le Carre

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 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

KISS KISS, BANG BANG by Mike Ripley

The subtitle really does say it all: The Boom in British Thrillers from Casino Royale to The Eagle Has Landed Though I sadly missed the launch party last week due to an international incident (but which sadly I can’t discuss due … Continue reading

Posted in Adam Hall, Alistair MacLean, Clive Egleton, Eric Ambler, Frederick Forsyth, George Smiley, Gerald Seymour, Ian Fleming, James Bond, James Mitchell, John le Carre, Lee Child, Len Deighton, Mike Ripley | 26 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

2016 Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt

For as long as I’ve been hosting this blog, I’ve participated in Bev Hankins’ irresistible vintage mystery reading challenges. The rules have been amended over the years, but the basic criteria is the same – review a mystery from two … Continue reading

Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, 2016 Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt, 87th Precinct, Albert Campion, Bill Pronzini, California, Canada, Catherine Aird, Chicago, Cosy Cozy, David Callan, Don DeLillo, Dorothy L. Sayers, Edgar Wallace, Ellery Queen, England, Fletcher Fliora, Florida, Germany, Gideon Fell, Inspector Wexford, Italy, James Hadley Chase, James Mitchell, John Dickson Carr, John le Carre, Kansas City, London, Louisiana, Margery Allingham, Middle East, Montana, New York, Noir, Ostara Publishing, Patricia Moyes, Police procedural, Private Eye, Radio, Ruth Rendell, San Francisco, Stark House Press, Vintage Mystery Cover Scavenger Hunt 2016 | 18 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

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

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

Top 20 Spy movies

The release of Ben Affleck’s smart historical satire Argo, based loosely on the true extraction by the CIA and Canadian officials of six American Embassy staff members out of Tehran in 1980, made me reflect on the spy genre as … Continue reading

Posted in 'Best of' lists, Adam Hall, Alfred Hitchcock, Amnesia, Billy Wilder, Brian de Palma, Cold War, Elleston Trevor, Eric Ambler, Espionage, Film Noir, George Smiley, Ian Fleming, James Bond, John Frankenheimer, John le Carre, Len Deighton, London, Michael Powell, New York, Paris, Quiller, San Francisco, Scene of the crime, Spy movies | 77 Comments

CALL FOR THE DEAD (1961) by John le Carré

The recent film adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré, with its impressive rogues gallery of character actors and a mesmerising central turn by Gary Oldman as George Smiley, has re-ignited interest in the series of Cold … Continue reading

Posted in Columbo, Espionage, George Smiley, John le Carre, London, Scene of the crime, Spy movies | 11 Comments

John le Carré at 80

David Cornwell, aka John le Carré, turned 80 yesterday and celebrations are definitely in order. Not only is the feature film adaptation of his 1974 novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy a roaring critical and box office success but he is still publishing new work that is attracting praise from all quarters. A master of the espionage story, he has branched well beyond the constraints of genre fiction to produce work that in its topicality, lucid prose style and in its charting of the decay of the late and unlamented British Empire can certainly bear comparison with that of his great literary mentor and inspiration, Graham Greene. Of his most recent work, The Constant Gardener (2001), a trenchant conspiracy thriller and exposé of the ethics big pharma, he may well have produced his finest work to date, though there is a real bounty to choose from. Continue reading

Posted in 'In praise of ...', Espionage, George Smiley, John le Carre | 3 Comments

Top 100 mystery books (almost)

The plan was to come up with a top 100 that I was prepared to stand by – but I wanted to re-read so many of the books that I might have included but now remembered too vaguely (such as Ngaio Marsh’s output or books like Tey’s hugely popular The Daughter of Time) that I thought I should publish only a partial list. Not to mention finding it a bit hard to just settle on one book by Georges Simenon given the enormity of his output – I have placed a list of 80+ titles on the site and am extremely open to suggestions …

So here are My (Nearly) Top 100 Mystery Books  Continue reading

Gallery | 2 Comments

THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM (1965) by Adam Hall

The Alphabet of Crime community meme over at the Mysteries in Paradise blog this week reaches the letter Q, and my nomination, is …

THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM by Adam Hall

“As I walked back to the hotel the only tracks in the snow were my own.”

1965 was a vintage year for espionage. At the cinema Sean Connery was James Bond for the fourth, and most financially successful, time in Thunderball, Michael Caine was ‘Harry Palmer’ in Len Deighton’s The Ipcress File, John le Carre’s The Spy Who Came in From the Cold was filmed with Richard Burton and Rod Taylor was John Gardner’s The Liquidator; while on TV, Diana Rigg joined Patrick Macnee in The Avengers and The Man from UNCLE went from black and white into colour – and, perhaps the best of their kind, in the UK there was Patrick McGoohan as John Drake in Danger Man and all over the globe one could find I Spy starring Bill Cosby and the late Robert Culp – in fact the genre was doing so well that parodies were already popular, with Carry On Spying (1964) already a hit at the cinemas and Get Smart and Wild Wild West were just getting started on TV.This was also the year that Elleston Trevor as ‘Adam Hall’ began publishing the adventures of his secret agent ‘Quiller’. The first book in the series was originally published in the UK as The Berlin Memorandum but the title was altered under its better known variation The Quiller Memorandum for the US release and as it was also used for the popular movie version, that is how it best known today. Continue reading

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