Monday 22 October 2012

Mastermind encore!

Having recently posted about Nick Flindall's successful efforts a few years ago on Mastermind to answer questions on the Harry Palmer novels, news comes through the Deighton Dossier Facebook page that another of Deighton's great characters is making an appearance.

This Friday's edition of Mastermind will include a contestant answering questions about the Bernard Samson novels of Len Deighton. One assumes all nine, and that's a bowl-ful of novels with a lot to remember.

No information on who the contestant is - it's not me, but this would have been my specialist subject were I to have ever gone on the show! I look forward to watching it and seeing how many questions I can answer successfully.

What's pleasing is, they link to the main Deighton Dossier website as a source of information!

Update: the questions from tonight's show are below. I'll leave the answers out for now and put them up on the main blog - see how you do! I would have got 10 out of 13.

[NOTE - all questions are copyright (c) BBC 2012]

Mastermind - transmitted 26 October 2012

Contestant: Nick Mazanowicz

Subject: The Bernard Samson novels of Len Deighton

The questions:

  1. Bernard Samson is an intelligence officer working for the secret intelligence services on the German desk at London Central. What nickname is generally used for the service throughout the books? 
  2. Samson unintentionally helps to kills the German businessman Paul Biedermann in a police cell block at Charles de Gaulle airport. What does he give to him not knowing that it’s poisoned?
  3. What cover does Samson use when he travels to Salzburg, an occupation that he’s briefed for by an Austrian, Otto Hoffman? 
  4. In Faith, what is the codename for the Russian colonel who says he owes Samson a favour and agrees to meet him in Magdeburg?
  5. To which European city does Bernard Samson travel to meet Werner Volkmann for the first time since Bernard Samson’s wife has been recovered from the KGB?
  6. In Hook, it is said that when an intelligence network is penetrated there is a danger that it will destroy itself without outside action, in effect killing itself in despair. What does Samson call this effect?
  7. What is the name of the ambitious Controller of German Stations who later also becomes European controller?
  8. What codename was given to the operation ordered by the Prime Minister to investigate the security of sensitive British establishments in West Germany?
  9. When Samson is in Berlin he often stays in the hotel where his father was billeted as a Major in the intelligence corps. What’s the name of the elderly lady who owns it? 
  10. In Spy Hook Bernard Samson is left some papers by Jim Prettyman, who as apparently been murdered in Washington, although its later revealed that he’s involved in a deep cover operation. What’s the subject of the papers?
  11. What new position does Samson have confirmed in Charity that finally allows him to put Werner Samson on a permanent contract?
  12. His wife Fiona is at the state opera in Berlin when she meets her former lover Harry Kennedy for the first time since her apparent defection from the KGB. Which opera is being performed?
  13. When Samson is sent a message from a non-existent uncle in Faith, which book given to him by Bret Renselaer does he use to decode it?


  1. This gentleman is a visitor here - he posted on the forum that he was doing it.

  2. Interesting - I think, temporarily I hope, the forum has vanished as the provider has changed.

  3. Hi Rob, i registered again to join on the new forum, is it yuku(?) I can't remember, they took my details and it still says waiting for authorisation. Must have been last week - I assumed once authorised I would get the old forum messages back? Maybe not. I wonder who has my info?

    On the positive side there are a couple of adverts for UGG boots!?! :) (probably best no-one clicks the link, lord knows where we'll end up)