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In a Bookshop

Peter Campbell: Penguin by Illustrators, 10 September 2009

... the jacket sets. In one of a series of brief contributions by illustrators to the Penguin book, Len Deighton (who is rather dismissive of his own cover drawings, made around 1960 to tight deadlines) makes the case against cleverness. A writer now, and on the writers’ side, he says: ‘The cover should bring a subtle and intimate promise of what the ...

Mistaken or Doomed

Thomas Jones: Barry Unsworth, 12 March 2009

Land of Marvels 
by Barry Unsworth.
Hutchinson, 287 pp., £18.99, January 2009, 978 0 09 192617 5
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... offset by two younger English people at the dig: John’s assistant, Harold Palmer – the echo of Len Deighton is presumably accidental – and the daughter of a friend of Edith’s, Patricia (no surname), just down from Girton and full of daring ideas about women’s suffrage. Edith is shocked when Patricia announces that she intends to join the ...

Making strange

John Sutherland, 19 March 1981

Other people 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 223 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 224 01766 7
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The Magic Glass 
by Anne Smith.
Joseph, 174 pp., £6.50, March 1981, 9780718119867
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The Book of Ebenezer Le Page 
by Gerald Edwards.
Hamish Hamilton, 400 pp., £7.50, March 1981, 0 241 10477 7
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Sharpe’s Eagle 
by Bernard Cornwell.
Collins, 266 pp., £6.50, February 1981, 0 00 221997 2
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XPD 
by Len Deighton.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £6.95, March 1981, 0 09 144570 1
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... Hornblower’s quirkiness: but Cornwell’s novel is very efficiently written. The XPD of Deighton’s enigmatic title should be glossed as ‘expedient demise’. His latest blockbuster is based on the factoid that there are three unaccounted-for days in Churchill’s and Hitler’s movements in June 1940. What happened, we are to believe, is that ...

Lucky Kim

Christopher Hitchens, 23 February 1995

The Philby Files. The Secret Life of the Master Spy: KGB Archives Revealed 
by Genrikh Borovik, edited by Phillip Knightley.
Little, Brown, 382 pp., £18.99, September 1994, 0 316 91015 5
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The Fifth Man 
by Roland Perry.
Sidgwick, 486 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 283 06216 9
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Treason in the Blood: H. St John Philby, Kim Philby and the Spy Case of the Century 
by Anthony Cave Brown.
Hale, 640 pp., £25, January 1995, 9780709055822
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My Five Cambridge Friends 
by Yuri Modin.
Headline, 328 pp., £17.99, October 1994, 0 7472 1280 5
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Looking for Mr Nobody: The Secret Life of Goronwy Rees 
by Jenny Rees.
Weidenfeld, 291 pp., £18.99, October 1994, 0 297 81430 3
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... of the supposedly bipolar Kulturkampf, it did leak out to a wide public through the fictions of Len Deighton and John Le Carré. Watching the shadow-play on the walls of the Cold War cave, and seeing the literal interpenetration of opposites as Karla penetrated ‘us’, and ‘we’ reciprocated, one could make the induction that the spy game was a ...
... own review of Other People also includes the latest novel by the unquestionably best-selling Len Deighton, ‘who shares top billing with Forsyth’ at Hutchinson’s, and it reports that the book was being sold by gun-jumping. London booksellers several days before its publication date. The same was reported to me of Other People, as it happens.The ...

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