25 March 2010

Forgotten Book: SPY STORY, Len Deighton

On my way to becoming a crime fiction addict, I took in a healthy dose of thrillers and spy stories, including Cold War tales. SPY STORY by Len Deighton appears in my records 32 years ago.

Fantastic Fiction tells me this was #5 in the Harry Palmer series, published 4 years before I read it.

From the secretive computerized college of war studies in London, via a bleak, sinister Scottish redoubt, to the Arctic ice-cap where nuclear submarines prowl ominously beneath frozen wastes, a lethal web of violence and double-cross is woven. And Europe's whole future hangs by a deadly thread.

Without doubt Deighton's most famous novel was #1 in the Harry Palmer series THE IPCRESS FILE. However there seems to be some doubt about whether the nameless narrator in THE IPCRESS FILE  is in fact Harry Palmer. The film THE IPCRESS FILE starring Michael Caine was made in 1965 and Michael Caine is credited with giving the character his name.

Harry Palmer
1. The Ipcress File (1962)
2. Horse Under Water (1963)
3. Funeral in Berlin (1964)
4. The Billion Dollar Brain (1966)
5. An Expensive Place to Die (1967)
5. Spy Story (1974)
6. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Spy (1976)
     aka Catch a Falling Spy

 From the Harry Palmer series Deighton moved into
Bernard Samson
1. Berlin Game (1983)
2. Mexico Set (1984)
3. London Match (1985)
4. Spy Hook (1988)
5. Spy Line (1989)
6. Spy Sinker (1990)
7. Faith (1994)
8. Hope (1995)
9. Charity (1996)

4 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - An excellent choice for Forgotten Books! Thanks for reminding me of Deighton's thrillers : ).

R. T. said...

Wow! I had forgotten about Deighton, a favorite of mine from long ago. Your posting reminds me that I need to reacquaint myself with his superb thrillers. Thanks for the much needed nudge.

Rob Mallows said...

The main character in Spy Story was not in fact the 'Harry Palmer' character of the previous novels, though many readers often think so. Len Deighton in the 25th anniversary of the book confirmed he is not the same character, although he is described as "obviously a close relative" - make of that what you will. It doesn't detract from what is a cracking story anyway.

Anonymous said...

Having read Spy Story after the other Harry Palmer books I have come to the opinion it IS the same character.He even meets Colonel Stok if my memory is correct and Stok recognises him.
Len Deighton may not admit he is the Harry Palmer individual but I reckon from what I have read he mosr certainly is.

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