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.