The Charlie Muffin Series

The Charlie Muffin spy series by a Brian Freemantle is among one of the most underrated spy series. Running sixteen novels over the course of forty years it's followed the trials and tribulations of the working class Muffin as well as the state of Russia from the height of its power in the Cold War …

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A Small Town in Germany by John le Carré – An appreciation and rarity

I recently read A Small Town in Germany by John le Carré and loved it. It's surprisingly maligned by most critics and fans but it’s very readable. The book follows Alan Turner, the Foreign Office cleanup man, as he's sent to the British embassy in Bonn, Germany to track down some damaging files that have …

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 John Le Carré – Time Magazine Profile

Just before the release of The Honourable Schoolboy, Time published a cover story profile of John Le Carré. If you're too lazy or busy to read Adam Sisman's recent doorstopper of a biography, the Time profile is a very good shortcut. The work of Stefan Kanfer, Dean Fischer and Anne Hopkins, it's a very nice …

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Geoffrey Household – Attacks of Taste

Throughout the 1960's Evelyn Byrne, a teacher at a New York public school, wrote well known authors and asked if they would write back with the books that had the biggest impact on them as they were in their teens. She would then print these responses in the school newspaper in hopes that it would …

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Art of le Carré

The recent biography by Adam Sisman spends a bit of time on the early professional life of le Carré when he was attempting to become a working artist. He didn't have much success as a working painter, to our advantage as readers, but he did get at least one commission for a book cover. The …

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The Spy Who Joked

If you are a male of a certain age who grew up in America then chances are that you held an issue of Mad Magazine in your hands at some point in your adolescence. You always knew something was big in the popular culture when you saw it in Mad. In the September 1966 issue …

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The Spy Who oddities – Part 3

We left off discussing an abridged version of "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" and I'm back after digging up another one. From 1937 to the present Readers Digest condensed books have been providing shortened versions of the popular fiction of the day. The Winter 1964 release saw a collection of four novels.Included …

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