Broken Covers – Alistair MacLean

Publishers are always looking to refresh the backlist of authors and sell more copies. In the 70's the beautiful painted book covers went out of fashion and photo covers came into vogue. The UK publisher Fontana had paperback rights to many of the well known thriller writers of the time like Desmond Bagley, Alistair MacLean, …

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Broken Covers – Eric Ambler

Publishers are always looking to refresh the backlist of authors and sell more copies. In the 70's the beautiful painted book covers went out of fashion and photo covers came into vogue. The UK publisher Fontana had paperback rights to many of the well known thriller writers of the time like Desmond Bagley, Alastair Maclean, …

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Broken Covers – Helen MacInnes

Publishers are always looking to refresh the backlist of authors and sell more copies. In the 70's the beautiful painted book covers went out of fashion and photo covers came into vogue. The UK publisher Fontana had paperback rights to many of the well known thriller writers of the time like Desmond Bagley, Alistair Maclean, …

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Best of 2017

Last year I put together a short list of some of my favorite things from the past year. I’ve done it again and here they are in no particular order - A Divided Spy by Charles Cumming - This one is a little selfish. I won a auction to have my name appear in the …

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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

  For even more of my posts on John le Carré, click here. 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 …

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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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