Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Spy Novels

By chance the other night I spotted a book on the shelf in the family room and wondered what it was. When I plucked from the shelf it turned out to be The British Spy Novel by John Atkins. I started to look through and pretty soon settled down to read it front to back. It pretty much covers the major spy novelists from the beginning, probably Erskine Childers’ SandThe Riddle of the Sands up to the year 1984. Not very contemporary, is it? But I realized that I hadn’t read any spy novels, or as Atkins likes to say, espionage and counter-espionage novels, for a very long time. When I get onto a kick like this I like to visit the Fantastic Fiction website and make lists. (A very useful website for anyone who reads a lot.) I ended up with a dozen spy writers I would like to read more of. Then it was a dash to the library on Sunday afternoon before they closed at five. I came home clutching Len Deighton’s City of Gold and Eric Ambler’s Journey Into Fear in my hot little hands. I’ll let you know how they are. But I am confident from reading previous books by each of these authors that I’m in for an exciting ride.


Blogger Archie said...

Funny you should mention that. I just picked up from the library "The Faithful Spy" which just won the Edgar for best first novel. It looks really promising.

I love Deighton, especially that first game set match trilogy that begins with Berlin Game. LeCarre of course is wonderful. My favorite Ambler is probably A Coffin For Demitrios.

Right now I'm reading another Edgar winner for this year The Janissary Tree and it's absolutely marvelous. An easy read but still rich in detail. I highly recommend read it and try to do so without looking at the sleeve or the blurbs or learning anything about the book at all.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Frank Denton said...

I'm glad that I caught someone's attention. I'll have to look for The Faithful Spy. I tried The Janissary Tree but couldn't get past 30pp. Something about the style and the syntax of the writer. I really wanted to like it, but alas!

7:21 PM  

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