Wednesday 4 July 2012

Win a long-lost thriller by Bond script writer Berkely Mather! ....

Lost for something to read over the summer? How about a fantastic but neglected spy thriller by English writer Berkely Mather, set in the Himalayas?

Last year I ran a successful competition to win a copy of the long-forgotten - but excellent - Undertow by Desmond Cory, one of the long-lost classic British thrillers which are being resurrected by author Mike Ripley through his Top Notch Thrillers imprint.

This year, Mike's been very kind and given the Deighton Dossier another newly issued book to give away in a competition. I'm really happy to raise awareness of what Mike's doing: he's undertaking a one-man mission if you will to bring to light - Indiana Jones-style - some of the lost treasures of the crime and thriller world which, through neglect or simply going out of fashion, have been lost to modern readers.

Through the Top Notch series of reissues by Ostara Publishing, works by writers such as Adam Hall, Andrew York and David Brierley are now available again to enjoy both in print and in e-book format, which Mike informs me is by far the most popular way in which readers are accessing these hidden treasures.

The book available to win is The Pass Beyond Kashmir, by Berkely Mather.

“You only get one or two thrillers a year – if you are lucky – as good as Berkely Mather’s 'The Pass Beyond Kashmir….'.” was the verdict of Anthony Price in the Oxford Mail on the publication in 1960 of a thriller firmly in the British tradition of ‘ripping yarns’.

The plot? A delirious survivor from an ill-fated wartime surveying expedition to the foothills of Tibet raves… ‘Oil – all the oil in the world – on top of the bloody Himalayas!’ Years later, finding the papers of that expedition becomes a high priority for spies, mercenaries, oil companies and governments. Former army intelligence officer, unorthodox insurance assessor and freelance investigator Idwal Rees, an experienced Far Eastern hand operating out of Bombay gets involved in a dangerous game of hide and seek across India and Pakistan attempting to stay one step ahead of the opposition all the way to the pass beyond Kashmir…. where the invading Chinese army is lying in wait.

Among the many famous fans of Kashmir was Ian Fleming who wrote: "Takes the author triumphantly into the small category of those adventure writers who I, for one, will in future buy ‘sight unseen’". When the James Bond thriller Dr No was being filmed, it was Ian Fleming who insisted on using Mather as a scriptwriter and Mather’s subsequent film credits included the historical blockbusters 'Genghis Khan' and 'The Long Ships'.

To win, answer this question: to the nearest 10 metres, what is the height of K2, the second-highest mountain in the Himalayas?

This competition is now closed. The winner was Peter Greenhill. Thanks to readers who entered.


  • Closing date: 31 July 2012
  • There is one book available for the winner, who will picked at random from the emails received
  • The winner will be notified by email and the book posted off to them (overseas by surface mail)
  • The blog editor's decision is final
  • No correspondence will be entered into about this competition.

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