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In a Bookshop

Peter Campbell: Penguin by Illustrators

10 September 2009
... to the point where the author’s work can seem to stand as the answer to the crossword clue the jacket sets. In one of a series of brief contributions by illustrators to the Penguin book, LenDeighton (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 ...

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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... roles, they can seem more like allegorical instruments than human beings. The Somervilles are offset by two younger English people at the dig: John’s assistant, Harold Palmer – the echo of LenDeighton 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 ...

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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... may well do so. Sharpe’s Eagle is perhaps too solidly and obviously researched, and the hero lacks any of 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 ...

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 superpower collaboration and symbiosis. And, though this could never be admitted by the ideologues of the supposedly bipolar Kulturkampf, it did leak out to a wide public through the fictions of LenDeighton 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 ...
7 May 1981
... of the various best-seller ‘genres’, and Martin Amis’s books don’t fit any of them. Sutherland’s own review of Other People also includes the latest novel by the unquestionably best-selling LenDeighton, ‘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 ...

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