The Man With The Golden Typewriter

Title:                      The Man With The Golden Typewriter

Author:                  Ian Fleming

Fleming, Ian (2015), Fergus Fleming, ed. The Man With The Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming’s James Bond Letters. New York: Bloomsbury,

LCCN:    2015298100

PR6056.L4 Z48 2015


  • A collection of letters by the creator of James Bond includes correspondences written on his gold typewriter to such recipients as his wife, publisher, editors, fans, and friends, including Raymond Chandler and Noël Coward.


  • Casino Royale — Live and let die — Moonraker — Notes from America — Diamonds are forever — From Russia with love — Conversations with the Armourer — Dr No — Goldfinger — For your eyes only — The Chandler letters — Thunderball — The spy who loved me — The Liebert letters — On her majesty’s secret service — You only live twice –The man with the golden gun — Afterword — The works of Ian Fleming — The James Bond films.


Date Updated:  April 6, 2017

Complied and Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake[1]

When Ian Fleming finished his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale[2], he ordered “a gold-plated typewriter—a Royal Quiet deluxe, $174.00—from New York.” Ian Fleming, then a few hundred thousand dollars shy of being a millionaire, asked a diplomat friend to send it on as part of his luggage to avoid customs duty. (p. 13) But as author-editor Fergus Fleming reveals, his famous uncle almost didn’t submit his book to a publisher. (p. 3) These and other insights about Ian make reading The Man with the Golden Typewriter an enjoyable and informative experience.

Readers should not be misled, however, by the subtitle: there are no letters from Bond. The book concerns Ian Fleming’s correspondence with friends and notables in the James Bond era. As a bonus, Fergus Fleming adds a “potted biography” (p. 3) that outlines his uncle’s early life at Eton and Sandhurst— the latter did not go well—and subsequent events that led to his writing career. He adds further personal details throughout the book, for example, Ian’s serious book collecting—an admirable hobby that led to acquisitions of first editions such as The Communist Manifesto—and his purchase of a bibliophile’s magazine, The Book Collector. (p. 11)

The book is roughly arranged with a chapter for each Bond novel, which quotes the associated letters. Fergus intersperses ancillary material that deals with Ian’s sometimes awkward relationship with his wife, his battles with his publisher and movie producers, his extensive correspondence with friends and other writers, and his often precarious health. In the chapter entitled “Notes From America,” Fergus provides a fascinating account of Ian’s friendship with Ernest Cuneo, a wartime friend and intellectual colossus who was the wartime liaison between OSS, BSC (MI6 in New York), and the White House. In a curious comment in the chapter on You Only Live Twice[3], Ian writes: “Just off to lunch with Allen Dulles! Perhaps he will inspire me. Ever seen him? I doubt his powers to enthuse.” (p. 351)

Ian Fleming’s extensive research efforts, after writing Casino Royale from memory, are described in the chapter, “Conversations with the Armourer.” While discussing Diamonds Are Forever, Fergus includes an account of how his uncle came to write his nonfiction book, The Diamond Smugglers. After completing The Spy Who Loved Me, Ian suffered a major heart attack and spent his convalescence writing the children’s novel, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Ian’s Fleming’s Bond books have sold more than 100 million copies in English. (p. 378) He truly was The Man with the Golden Typewriter.

Reviewed in The Intelligencer[4]

On August 16,1952, in a period of doldrums while living in his Jamaican retreat “Goldeneye,” Ian Fleming wrote to his wife, Ann, “My love, This is only a tiny letter to try out my new typewriter and to see if it will write golden words since it is made of gold.” He had bought the golden typewriter as a present to himself for finishing his first novel, Casino Royale[5]. It marked the arrival of James Bond, Agent 007, and the start of a career that saw Fleming become one the world’s most celebrated thriller-writers.

On it he banged out a stream of letters that touched on various aspects of publishing, royalty payments, and the jousting relationship between Fleming and his editor, William Plomer; Fleming’s private passions of scuba diving, fast cars, golf, cards, “along with women, tobacco, martinis, and scrambled eggs,” and the dissolution of his marriage and impact of fame and fortune on his life.

Before his death in 1964 he produced fourteen best-selling Bond books, two works of non-fiction and the famous children’s story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. The correspondence ranged from badgering Jonathan Cape about his quota of free copies, to apologizing for equipping Bond with the wrong kind of gun. His letters also reflect his friendship with such contemporaries as Raymond Chandler, Noel Coward, and Somerset Maugham.

[1] Hayden Peake in The Intelligencer (22, 2, Fall 2016, p. 131).  Hayden Peake is the Curator of the CIA’s Historical Intelligence Collection. He has served in the Directorate of Science and Technology and the Directorate of Operations. Most of these reviews appeared in recent unclassified editions of CIA’s Studies in Intelligence. Other reviews and articles may be found online at

[2] See footnote 5

[3] Fleming, Ian (1964). You Only Live Twice. London: Cape

[4] The Intelligencer: Journal of U.S. Intelligence Studies (21, 3, Fall/Winter 2015, p. 139).

[5] Fleming, Ian (1954). Casino Royale. New York, Macmillan



Best Spy Novels

Title:                      Best Spy Novels

Author:                 Good Reads

Date Posted:      January 10, 2017

Date Updated:  June 7, 2017

The following books were listed by Goodreads ( as the best 100 spy books they recommend. Caveat. Perpendat itaque lector cavendum (civilis).[1] Some readers will not accept book, such as Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books as valid “spy novels.” I have included all items on the list because they involve some element of espionage, from assassination to government conspiracies.

The best spy novels from the 20th and 21st centuries.

  1. Le Carré, John (1974). Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. London: Hodder and Stoughton
  2. Ludlum, Robert (1980). The Bourne Identity . New York: R. Marek Publishers
  3. Le Carré, John (1964). The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. New York, Coward-McCann
  4. Clancy, Tom (1984). The Hunt for Red October .Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press
  5. Forsyth, Frederick (1971). The Day of the Jackal. New York, Viking Press
  6. Larsson, Stieg (2008). The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo. London: MacLehose Press
  7. Follett, Ken (1978). Eye of the Needle. New York: Arbor House
  8. Le Carré, John (1980). Smiley’s People. New York: Knopf
  9. Flynn, Vince (2011). American Assassin: A Thriller. New York: Pocket Books
  10. Forsyth, Frederick (1972). The Odessa File. New York: Viking Press
  11. Clancy, Tom (1988). Patriot Games. New York: Putnam
  12. Greene, Graham (1958, 2007). Our Man in Havana. New York: Penguin
  13. Clancy, Tom (1989). Clear and Present Danger. New York: Putnam
  14. Smith, Martin Cruz (1981). Gorky Park. New York: Random House
  15. Ludlum, Robert (1990). The Bourne Ultimatum. New York : Random House
  16. Brown, Dan (2004). The Da Vinci Code. New York : Doubleday
  17. Clancy, Tom (1986). Red Storm Rising. New York: Putnam
  18. Fleming, Ian (1957, 1981). From Russia with Love. Geneva: Edito-Service
  19. Clancy, Tom (1988). Cardinal of the Kremlin. New York: Putnam
  20. Sewell, William (2013). Nonofficial Asset: The Iran Affair. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse
  21. Silva, Daniel (2000). The Kill Artist: A Novel. New York : Random House
  22. Larsson, Stieg (2009). The Girl Who Played with Fire. New York: Alfred A. Knopf
  23. Le Carré, John (1977). The Honourable Schoolboy. London: Hodder and Stoughton
  24. Fleming, Ian (1954). Casino Royale. New York: Macmillan
  25. Morcan, James (2011) and Lance Morcan. The Ninth Orphan. Papamoa, N.Z.: Sterling Gate Books
  26. Higgins, Jack (1975). The Eagle Has Landed. London: Collins
  27. Le Carré, John(1989). The Russia House. New York: Knopf
  28. Buchan, John (1915, 1935). The Thirty-Nine Steps. London: W. Blackwood & Sons
  29. Child, Lee (1997). The Killing Floor. New York: Putnam
  30. Greene, Graham (1955, 2004). The Quiet American. New York: Penguin Books
  31. Le Carrè, John (1986). A Perfect Spy. New York: Knopf
  32. DeMille, Nelson (1988). The Charm School. New York, NY: Warner Books
  33. Clancy, Tom (1993). Without Remorse. New York: Putnam
  34. Flynn, Vince (2004). Memorial Day. New York: Atria Books
  35. Baldacci, David (1996, 2016). Absolute Power. New York: Grand Central Publishing
  36. Fleming, Ian (1981). Goldfinger. Geneva: Edito-Service
  37. Flynn, Vince (1999, 2015). Transfer of Power. New York: Pocket Books
  38. Clancy, Tom (1991). The Sum of All Fears. New York: Putnam
  39. Forsyth, Frederick (1974). The Dogs of War. London: Hutchinson
  40. Matthews, Jason (2013). Red Sparrow: A Novel. New York: Scribner
  41. Flynn, Vince (2001). Separation of Power. New York: Pocket Books
  42. Berenson, Alex (2006). The Faithful Spy. New York: Random House
  43. Morcan, James (2012) and Lance Morcan. The Orphan Factory. Papamoa, N.Z: Sterling Gate Books
  44. Silva, Daniel (2011). Portrait of a Spy. New York: Harper
  45. Grady, James (1974). Six Days of The Condor. New York: Norton
  46. Conrad, Joseph (1907, 2007). The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale. New York: New American Library
  47. Le Carré, John (2004). The Little Drummer Girl. New York: Scribner
  48. Steinhauer, Olen (2009). The Tourist. New York: Minotaur Books
  49. Flynn, Vince (2006, 2007). Consent to Kill. New York: Pocket Books
  50. Silva, Daniel (2002). The English Assassin. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
  51. Deighton, Len (1983, 2012). Berlin Game. New York: Sterling
  52. Robbie, Vic (2012). In Pursuit of Platinum: The Shocking Secret of World War II. Los Gatos: Smashwords Edition
  53. Ludlum, Robert (2003). The Bourne Trilogy. London: Orion
  54. Flynn, Vince (2000). The Third Option. New York: Pocket Books
  55. Fleming, Ian (1963). On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. New York: American Library
  56. DeMille, Nelson (1997). Plum Island. New York: Warner Books
  57. Follett, Ken (1980). The Key to Rebecca. New York, NY: Morrow
  58. Forsyth, Frederick (1985). The Fourth Protocol. New York: Viking
  59. Baldacci, David (2005). The Camel Club. New York: Warner Books
  60. Baldacci, David (2012). The Innocent. New York: Grand Central Publishing
  61. Fleming, Ian (1954). Live and Let Die. London: J. Cape
  62. Le Carré, John (1996). The Tailor of Panama. New York: Alfred A. Knopf
  63. Fleming, Ian (1958, 1968). No. London: Cape
  64. Trevanian (1979, 2005). Shibumi: A Novel. New York: Three Rivers Press
  65. Deighton, Len (1962). The IPCRESS File. New York, Simon and Schuster
  66. Littell, Robert (2002). The Company: A Novel of the CIA. New York: Overlook Press.
  67. Le Carré, John (1965). The Looking–Glass War. London, Heinemann
  68. Clancy, Tom(1994). Debt of Honor. New York: Putnam
  69. Clancy, Tom (1996). Executive Orders. New York: Putnam
  70. Child, Lee (2005). One Shot. New York: Delacorte Press
  71. Hayes, Terry (2014). I Am Pilgrim: A Thriller. New York: Emily Bestler Books/Atria Books
  72. Clark, Norm (2013). The Saladin Strategy. publisher not identified
  73. Gallagher, Michael James (2014). Tsunami Connection: A Kefira Mossad Thriller. Kindle edition
  74. Silva, Daniel (2009). The Defector. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
  75. Ludlum, Robert (1986). The Bourne Supremacy. Franklin Center, PA: Franklin Library
  76. Furst, Alan (1988). Night Soldiers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
  77. Flynn, Vince (2008). Extreme Measures: A Thriller. New York: Atria Books
  78. Morcan, James (2013) and Lance Morcan. The Orphan Uprising. Papamoa, N.Z.: Sterling Gate Books Ltd
  79. Le Carré, John (2001). The Constant Gardener: A Novel. New York: Scribner
  80. Le Carré, John [pseud. for David John More Cornwall] (1962, 2102). Call for the Dead. New York : Penguin Books
  81. Silva, Daniel (2012). The Fallen Angel. New York: Harper
  82. Fleming, Ian (1961). Thunderball. London, J. Cape
  83. Silva, Daniel (2008). Moscow Rules. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
  84. Deighton, Len (1984, 2012). Mexico Set. New York: Sterling
  85. Child, Lee (1998). Die Trying. New York: Putnam
  86. Flynn, Vince (1997). Term Limits. New York: Pocket Books
  87. Flynn, Vince (2012). The Last Man: A Thriller. New York: Emily Bestler Books/Atria Books
  88. Silva, Daniel (2010). The Rembrandt Affair. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
  89. Child, Lee (2007). Bad Luck And Trouble. New York: Delacorte Press
  90. Furst, Alan (2006). The Foreign Correspondent: A Novel. New York: Random House
  91. Silva, Daniel (2006). The Messenger. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
  92. Clancy, Tom (2002). Red Rabbit. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
  93. Greene, Graham (1943, 1950). The Third Man. New York, Viking Press
  94. Le Carré, John (1962, 2012). A Murder of Quality. New York: Penguin Books
  95. Childers, Erskine (1903, 2005). The Riddle of The Sands: A Record of Secret Service. New York: Barnes & Noble Books
  96. Lustbader, Eric (2004). Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne In The Bourne Legacy: A Novel. New York: St. Martin’s Press
  97. DeMille, Nelson (2007). Up Country: A Novel. New York: Grand Central Pub.
  98. Greene, Graham (1943). The Ministry of Fear: an entertainment. New York: The Viking Press
  99. Child, Lee (2010). 61 Hours. New York: Delacorte Press
  100. Ambler, Eric (1939, 1996). A Coffin for Dimitrios. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers

[1] On occasion, personal loyalties and opinions can be carved in stone and defended with a vengeance — at times with some venom thrown in. In these situations, the actual importance of the subject matter is dwarfed by the amount of aggression expressed. Retain a sense of proportion in all online and in-person discussions. [From The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies.]


[1] On occasion, personal loyalties and opinions can be carved in stone and defended with a vengeance — at times with some venom thrown in. In these situations, the actual importance of the subject matter is dwarfed by the amount of aggression expressed. Retain a sense of proportion in all online and in-person discussions. [From The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies.]

An Expensive Place to Die

Title:                      An Expensive Place to Die

Author:                 Len Deighton

Deighton, Len (1967). An Expensive Place to Die. London: Cape

LCCN:    67087897

PZ4.D324 Ex2


Date Posted:      September 28, 2015


Deighton’s unidentified English operator, even if he looks exactly like Michael Caine, is in Paris and this new cat and rat chase isn’t quite so complicated as Funeral in Berlin[2], or The Billion Dollar Brain[3], or even the Metro. There he attempts to get the data on Datt, a psychedelic psychiatrist who runs a private clinic where there are all kinds of kinky sexual activities, and where, under drugs, he can open you up “like a cheap watch.” Then there’s Inspector Loiseau; Maria who had been Loiseau’s wife and is Datt’s illegitimate daughter; a painter-pimp; and others. Even without the snappy impudence (particularly in the dialogue) of the other ones, this goes right along without any detente and it should be expedited to a wide market which will read it now, see it later.

[1] KIRKUS review, downloaded September 23, 2015

[2] Deighton, Len (1964). Funeral in Berlin. New York, Putnam

[3] Deighton, Len (1966). The Billion Dollar Brain. New York: Putnam


Title:                      The IPCRESS File

Author:                 Len Deighton

Deighton, Len (1962). The IPCRESS File. New York, Simon and Schuster

LCCN:    63015370

PZ4.D324 Ip


Date Updated:  January 11, 2016

Review by Nicolas Tredell[1]

Like Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1899), Len Deighton’s first novel, The Ipcress File, starts in London, moves out of England through a network that follows the contours of global power, and returns finally to the capital. But Deighton’s narrator, an unnamed intelligence agent, begins his tale, not on a cruising yawl in the Thames, but in a Sheraton chair in a government minister’s well-appointed flat overlooking Trafalgar Square. Edward Milward-Oliver’s Len Deighton Companion[2] (1987) suggests “Ipcress Man” as the most appropriate way to refer to this nameless narrator but we will abbreviate it to “I.”in this article, for the sake of concision and also because it sounds the same as the first-person pronoun Deighton’s storyteller uses and, in its similarity to “K.”, the initial used to designate Franz Kafka’s protagonist Josef K. in The Trial (1925) and The Castle (1926), suggests that I.’s battle with disorientation and misdirection has a Kafkaesque quality, reinscribed in a London-based spy story”.

In his tale to the minister, which is supposed to be the basis of the book we are reading, I. retraces an itinerary that takes him across London districts (for example, Whitehall, Fitzrovia, Soho, Shoreditch) and out of England to Beirut, Tokwe Atoll in the Pacific, and, apparently, to a prison in Hungary, then part of the Soviet-dominated Eastern bloc. But times have changed since the 1890s and this is not Conrad’s London, hub of a mighty empire, but post World War Two London, the faltering heart of a fading imperium, where the USA has displaced British power and the flight of Burgess and Maclean to Moscow in 1951 has partly revealed the duplicity within an intelligence service supposedly pledged to protect national integrity.

Len Deighton knew London well; he grew up in Marylebone, went to St Martin’s School of Art in Charing Cross Road and the Royal College of Art, and lived for a while in Soho. But he also knew from experience the filaments that linked London to distant places across the globe. He had worked for a year as an airline steward on BOAC’s long-haul routes to Africa, Japan and Australia, at a time when crews had long stopovers at many places–for example in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, a place of which, according to Deighton, few people had then heard and which provided the setting for one of the key out-of-London settings of the novel. For the other out-of-London setting in Ipcress, Tokwe Atoll, Deighton drew on research and imagination.

I.s’ story starts in December but is not dated to a specific year. At the start of chapter 13, however, he describes a colleague as a man “who, had he been a few years younger, would have made a John Osborne hero”. John Osborne’s play Look Back in Anger premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London’s Sloane Square on 8 May 1956, so, by this reference, the earliest starting-date for I.’s narrative is December 1956.

1956 was also the year in which the Clean Air Act was passed, in belated response to London’s Great Smog of 1952, and the London of Ipcress helps to show the need for that Act: it is a grey-on-grey city, yet to experience the polychromatic pyrotechnics of Swinging London and the later refurbishments of monuments and buildings that, like gigantic tooth-descalings, returned them to a simulacrum of their pristine whiteness.

On the day I. is to start his new job, he draws back his curtains after getting up and finds “December in London–the soot-covered tree outside was whipping itself into a frenzy”. A month or so afterwards, he walks towards Soho on “that sort of January morning that had enough sunshine to point up the dirt without raising the temperature”. This is an anti-lyrical London with sooty trees and soiled sunshine.

Later in the novel, he gazes blankly out one cold April morning “across the chimneys, crippled and hump-backed, the shiny sloping roofs, back-yards of burgeoning trees and flowering sheets and shirts”. If the “crippled and hump-backed” chimneys are an idiosyncratic personification in a Dickensian mode, they are too cramped and static to permit of Dickens’ exuberant amplification, while the “flowering sheets and shirts” are ironic in the manner sometimes found in T. S. Eliot’s Waste Land (1922), in which natural processes, in the “Unreal City” of London, shrivel into artificial ones (“She smooths her hair with automatic hand”).

  1. starts his main narrative with his change of job from Military to Civilian Intelligence, specifically to “one of the smallest and most important of the Intelligence units–WOOC(P)”. (We never learn what the letters stand for.) This involves a move from Westminster to Fitzrovia. I. first goes to the War Office–or, as he sometimes more colloquially calls it, the War House–in Whitehall. “It had always made me feel a little self-conscious saying “War Office” to cab drivers; at one time I had asked for the pub in Whitehall, or said “I’ll tell you when to stop,” just to avoid having to say it”.

This self-consciousness is one mark of I.’s uneasiness in assuming the upper middle-class manner of most of his colleagues. In the War Office, he takes leave of his former boss, Ross, and moves across London to the premises of his new boss, Dalby. “Dalby’s place is in one of those sleazy long streets in Soho, if Soho had the strength to cross Oxford Street”. This sense of an enervated Bohemia, unable to extend beyond its own area, reinforces the sense of decline in the novel.

The street turns out to be Charlotte Street, site of the Fitzroy Tavern (where I. once takes a drink), the pub whose name provided the basis for the dubbing of the district as “Fitzrovia” and the launching of a claim to a distinctive identity of its own rather than being simply a failed continuation of Soho. But this term is not used in the novel, as if to rebut any such claim. Charlotte Street has

a new likely-looking office conversion wherein the unwinking blue neon glows even at summer midday, but […] Dalby’s department is next door. His is dirtier than average, with a genteel profusion of well-worn brass work, telling of the existence of “The Ex-Officers” Employment Bureau. Est 1917”; “Acme Films Cutting Rooms”; “B. Isaacs. Tailor–Theatrical a Specialty”; “Dalby Inquiry Bureau–staffed by ex-Scotland Yard detectives”.

In fact WOOC(P) occupies the whole house and these businesses are fronts for its operations.

The boss of WOOC(P) is Dalby (no forename supplied). Dalby’s responsibility is direct to the Cabinet and he is “almost as powerful as anyone gets in this business”. He is “an elegant languid public school Englishman”, blond-haired and over six feet tall, who has been to a German university in the late 1930s and, unusually in the Intelligence Service, won a DSO and bar in 1941. There is some class-based friction with I., who comes from Burnley and, we infer, attended a grammar school, and who ironically alludes more than once to his lack of a classical education and smokes Gauloises.

  1. also differs physically from Dalby, as we learn when I. finds some images in another man’s wallet that he is rifling:

The other three photos were also passport style–full face, profile and three-quarter positions of a dark-haired, round-faced character; deep sunk eyes with bags under horn-rimmed glasses, chin jutting and cleft. On the back of the photos was written “5ft 11in; muscular inclined to overweight. No visible scar tissue; hair dark brown, eyes blue”. I looked at the familiar face again. I knew the eyes were blue, even though the photograph was in black and white. I’d seen the face before; most mornings I shaved it.

This combination, in its supposed hero, of Northern provenance, a grammar-school education, an absence of classical learning, baggy eyes, horn-rimmed glasses, a tendency to carry too much weight and a preference for Gauloises helped to make The Ipcress File seem, on its first appearance, like an anti-Bond novel, an abrasive counter to the class-burnished self-assurance of Ian Fleming’s hero. But in his introduction to the Silver Jubilee edition of Ipcress, Deighton denies any intention to make the book “a working-class crusade against private school education” and expresses sympathy with those who had to cope with his chippy protagonist.

While there are indeed differences between the Bond books and Ipcress, there are also likenesses. Both seem to offer the privileged cognitive access to a concealed world epitomized in the first line of one of the epigraphs to Ipcress, from Shakespeare’s Henry IV 1: “And now I will unclasp a secret book”. Deighton’s narrator also converges with Bond in his appreciation of good food. When Dalby treats his new recruit to lunch at Wilton’, a venerable Jermyn Street restaurant, established in 1742, that exists to this day, I. takes a gourmet’s pleasure in the “iced Israeli melon, sweet, tender and cold like the blonde waitress”, the lobster salad and the “carefully-made mayonnaise”, even if his more usual lunch venue is “the sandwich bar in Charlotte Street, where I played a sort of rugby scrum each lunchtime with only two PhDs, three physicists and a medical research specialist for company, standing up to toasted bacon sandwich and a cup of stuff that resembles coffee in no aspect but price”.

I.’s first assignment for Dalby is to try to track down a British biochemist, codenamed Raven (all subjects of long-term surveillance have bird names). The Home Office has informed Dalby that Raven has gone missing that morning. He is the eighth top-ranking scientist to disappear in six-and-a-half weeks. Dalby believes that if his unit can find Raven, the Home Secretary will disband his own intelligence department and hand over their files to WOOC(P), an acquisition for which Dalby devoutly wishes. A man codenamed Jay, whom I. has seen with his minder, Housemartin, on covertly shot film, may be masterminding the disappearances. Dalby assigns I. the task of buying back Raven from Jay or whoever else has him and authorizes him to offer £18,000, with the option of going up to £23,000.

  1. meets Jay and Housemartin in a Soho café called Lederer’s, “one of those continental-style coffee-houses where coffee comes in a glass”. Its customers, “who mostly think of themselves as clientele, are those smooth-rugged characters with sun-lamp complexions, half a dozen 10in by 8in glossies, an agent and more time than money on their hands”. Jay’s head touches “the red flocked wallpaper between the notice that told customers not to expect dairy cream in their pastries and the one that cautioned them against passing betting slips”. Today these details are redolent of a past era in which coffee in a glass was an exotic novelty, actors marketed themselves by means of glossy photographic prints rather than on the web, pastries were often filled with artificial cream, and there were no betting shops.
  2. tells Jay he has a financial proposition for him, and Jay and Housemartin take him to what Jay says is a place where they can talk: the narrative offers a montage of I.’s visual impressions and jaundiced thoughts as they walk along Wardour Street:

the three of us trailed out along Wardour Street, Jay in the lead. The lunch hour in central London–the traffic was thick and most of the pedestrians the same. We walked past grim-faced soldiers in photo-shop windows. Stainless-steel orange squeezers and moron-manipulated pin-tables metronoming away the sunny afternoon in long thin slices of boredom. Through wonderlands of wireless entrails from the little edible condensers to gutted radar receivers for thirty-nine and six. On, shuffling past plastic chop suey, big-bellied naked girls and “Luncheon Vouchers Accepted” notices, until we paused before a wide illustrated doorway–“Vicki from Montmarte” [sic] and “Striptease in the Snow” said the freshly-painted signs. “Danse de Desir–Non Stop Striptease Revue” and the little yellow bulbs winked lecherously in the dusty sunlight.

Inside, left alone by Jay and Housemartin, I. decides to explore the premises by himself and finds an upstairs room whose floor is studded with six armor-glass panels, looking like mirrors from below, for covert observation of the gaming room beneath. Looking through the central panels, I. sees Raven lying unconscious on a gaming table. He takes a huge typewriter from an office nearby, drops it through the glass and descends through the hole it has made into the gaming room; but Housemartin has taken Raven away and I. has to make a quick exit when the police raid the premises.

Dalby takes I. to Beirut where, in a bold and brutal ambush, they retrieve Raven; but in the process I. inadvertently kills two American agents. Back in London, a Scotland Yard acquaintance tips him off that a man posing as a police inspector is in custody at Shoreditch Police Station. I. hurries there only to find that Jay’s accomplices, posing as I.’s colleagues, have got there first. He finds the arrested man dead in his cell; it is Housemartin. I. learns from the policeman who arrested him that Housemartin may have come from a big secluded house that has recently undergone alteration. I. orders a raid on this house at 42 Acacia Drive, “a wide wet street in one of those districts where the suburbs creep stealthily in towards Central London”, but the house is empty.

As the quest for Jay seems to founder, Dalby invites I., and I.’s new and attractive assistant Jean Tonnesen, to go with him to the Pacific island of Tokwe Atoll to witness the test explosion of a neutron bomb. There, I. starts to realize he is suspected of being a double agent and he is arrested after allegedly being in contact with a Soviet surveillance submarine and killing a young US soldier by connecting a metal watch tower where he is on guard to a high tension power line. He is treated as a traitor and roughly interrogated by the Americans. He then finds himself in a prison which is, he is told, in Hungary. Here his rough physical and mental treatment is intensified.

  1. does, however, succeed in getting back to London (it would be a spoiler for those who have not read the novel or seen the film to reveal how), and he does finally uncover a mass brainwashing network which relies on the “Induction of Psycho-neuroses by Conditioned Reflex with Stress”–the basis of the word “Ipcress”. The destruction of this network provides a further revelation near the end of the book, which again we will not disclose here.

The film version of Ipcress (1965), directed by Sidney J. Furie, starred Michael Caine as its protagonist, who was called “Harry Palmer”. In the context of London fictions, its most notable difference from the novel is it has no excursions to Beirut or Tokwe Atoll. It is set almost wholly in London, apart from one

The following are spy novels by Len Deighton

Deighton, Len (1962). The IPCRESS File. New York, Simon and Schuster

Deighton, Len (1963). Horse Under Water. London, J. Cape

Deighton, Len (1964). Funeral in Berlin. New York, Putnam

1966       Deighton, Len (1966). The Billion Dollar Brain. New York: Putnam

1967       Deighton, Len (1967). An Expensive Place to Die. London: Cape

1974       Deighton, Len (1974). Spy Story. London, Cape

1975       Deighton, Len (1975). Yesterday’s Spy. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

1976       Deighton, Len (1976). Catch a Falling Spy. New York : Harcourt Brace Jovan

1978       Deighton, Len (1978, 2012). SS-GB. New York: Sterling Publishing

1981       Deighton, Len (1981, 2012). XPD. New York: Sterling

1982       Deighton, Len (1982, 2012). Goodbye, Mickey Mouse. New York: Sterling

1983       Deighton, Len (1983, 2012). Berlin Game. New York: Sterling

1984       Deighton, Len (1984, 2012). Mexico Set. New York: Sterling

1985       Deighton, Len (1985, 2012). London Match. New York: Sterling

1987       Winter

1988       Spy Hook

1989       Spy Line

1990       Spy Sinker

1991       MAMista

1992       City of Gold

1993       Violent Ward

1993       Blood, Tears and Folly: An Objective Look at World War II

1994 – Pests. A limited edition of just 226 copies. This play was written just after Deighton completed The Ipcress File and was broadcast as Long Past Glory by ABC on 17 November 1963.[18]

1994       Faith

1995       Hope

1996       Charity

2006       Sherlock Holmes and the Titanic Swindle (short story included in The Detection Club anthology The Verdict of Us All, edited by Peter Lovesey; later reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Best British Mysteries, edited by Maxim Jakubowski)

2012 – James Bond: My Long and Eventful Search for His Father. A non-fiction e-book.

[1] Nicolas Tredell in London Fictions. Tredell is a freelance writer. He has served as editor of Palgrave’s Essential Criticism series and formerly taught literature and film at Sussex University. His website is at

[2] Milward-Oliver, Edward (1987). The Len Deighton Companion. London: Grafton Books [LCCN: 88109917]


Ian Fleming

Title:                      Ian Fleming

Author:                Henry A. Zieger

Zieger, Henry A. (1965). Ian Fleming: The Spy Who Came in with the Gold. New York: Duell

OCLC:    516598667

Date Posted:      September 11, 2015

From Literary 007[1]

Henry A. Zeiger is a writer and playwright who analyzed the career of Ian Fleming, and wrote this 1965 biography. Zeiger tells how many of Fleming’s experiences in Naval Intelligence during the War were used in his fictional exploits about “James Bond”.

This book was published only a year after Ian Fleming’s death, so it is a collector’s item, with seemingly few copies available online. For those who are interested in Fleming’s Reuters days in particular, it’s a fascinating read, since it goes into some detail about the Metro-Vickers trial in Moscow that Fleming cut his journalistic teeth on. Ian’s wartime life is well documented including his 30AU commandos.

The book also spends a good bit of time on Valentine Fleming, who was a fascinating man as well. All in all, a good addition to the biographical canon.

[1] Literary007 “Top 10 Books on Ian Fleming and James Bond: Part 2,” downloaded Septemb

Literary Agents

Title:                      Literary Agents

Author:                 Anthony Masters

Masters, Anthony (1987) Literary Agents: The Novelist as Spy. New York: B. Blackwell

OCLC:    16005922

PR888.S65 M37 1987



  • Not found in the Library of Congress

Date Posted:      March 12, 2015


A bloody good idea, maddeningly undercooked. Masters’ idea: to look into the real-life exploits of spies who spied for the US and British Secret Services and later became famous spy novelists. For that matter, Masters thinks that spies and novelists are emotional twins—both intelligence-gathers and tremendous liars. Graham Greene: “I suppose. . .that every novelist has something in common with a spy; he watches, he overhears, he seeks motives and analyzes character, and in his attempt to serve literature he is unscrupulous.” Fair enough! But unfortunately Greene—the spy who speaks most directly to us—doesn’t arrive until far into this book, and is preceded by lustreless essays on Erskine Childers (The Riddle of the Sands[1]), John Buchan (The Thirty-Nine Steps[2]), Somerset Maugham (Ashenden[3]), Compton Mackenzie (Water on the Brain[4])—and Malcolm (The Infernal Grove[5]) Muggeridge, who used to accompany Greene to naughty girlie-shows and later delighted in cracking Greene’s knuckles: “I think The Human Factor[6] is a tenth-rate novel whose central character was based on Trevor Wilson [an MI6 case officer]. His best and most accurate spy novel was Our Man in Havana[7].” Muggeridge thought it “impossible to overestimate the stupidity of MI6.” If Greene steals the show, both Maugham and Mackenzie also have their warm, even hilarious moments, while Ian Fleming’s naval-intelligence background lends dash and flair to James Bond, and John Le Carré’s days in MI5 and then MI6—add a certain bitterness and passion to his vision of the Cold War. Also on hand are spymasters Howard Hunt, Dennis Wheatley, Tom Driberg, John Bingham, and—briefly—Len Deighton. This colorful bunch will undoubtedly attract readers—though this is not the lively show it could have been.

[1] Childers, Erskine (1903, 2005). The Riddle of The Sands: A Record of Secret Service. New York : Barnes & Noble Books

[2] Buchan, John (1915, 1935). The Thirty-Nine Steps. London: W. Blackwood & Sons

[3] Maugham, W. Somerset (1941). Ashenden: The British Agent. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co.

[4] Mackenzie, Compton (1933). Water on the Brain. Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, Doran & Company

[5] Muggeridge, Malcolm (1973). The Infernal Grove. Chronicles Of Wasted Time, no. 2. London: Collins

[6] Greene, Graham (1978, 2008). The Human Factor. New York: Penguin Books

[7] Greene, Graham (1958, 2007). Our Man in Havana. New York: Penguin

The Infernal Grove

Title:                      The Infernal Grove

Author:                Malcolm Muggeridge

Muggeridge, Malcolm (1973). The Infernal Grove. Chronicles Of Wasted Time, no. 2. London: Collins

LCCN:    74157829

PR6025.U5 Z515 vol. 2



Date Updated:  March 12, 2015

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

World War I produced its literary critics of secret service such as Compton Mackenzie; World War II brought forth Muggeridge among others. This second volume of his memoirs is a delightful, iconoclastic account of his experiences, including lengthy accounts of his work as an intelligence officer of SIS in Mozambique and intelligence liaison with the French in North Africa and Europe. Superbly written, his book is a collection of memorable phrase and bon mots about intelligence that are good for the intelligence officer’s perspective and sense of humor. Two chapters in particular are recommended (“On Secret Service” and “The Victor’s Camp”) for what Muggeridge has to say about Bletchley Park material and its use in operations and for his anecdotes about Kim Philby and his experiences as a chief of station in Africa. He had, in the past, been a staunch defender of Philby against suspicions of his loyalty. The reader should keep in mind that this was published the same year as Winterbotham’s The Ultra Secret[2] and divulges some of the secrets of the Allied communications intelligence success. Muggeridge had done so earlier (1967) when he speculated in an article that the British used Lucy in Switzerland as the channel to disguise and pass the Soviets intelligence derived from deciphered German traffic. This “ferocious critic” of the wartime SIS, to use an expression from one review, had one of his operations, run jointly with OSS, described in the latter’s history (see Cave Brown’s The Secret War Report of the OSS[3]). Other items to catch the eye in Muggeridge’s account include Philby’s insistence that all Bletchley Park material should go to the Soviets, the British reading of Gaullist traffic, glimpses of the Tyler Kent trial, and the myth of security involving Bletchley Park material, with the French in Algiers supposedly not aware of this source.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 342-343

[2] Winterbotham, Frederick William(1974). The Ultra Secret. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson

[3] Cave Brown, Anthony (1976) ed. The Secret War Report of The OSS. New York: Berkley