Sunday 14 August 2016

A serendipitous discovery ....

The undiscovered foreword
One of the nice things about creating and running the Deighton Dossier website and blog is the opportunity to communicate with readers and collectors of Len's works from around the globe. And every so often I'm grateful to those readers for highlighting something that I am not aware of.

Fellow collector 'Raki' recently purchased a copy of a book RAF Bomber Command in fact and fiction, by Jonathan Falconer. This 1996 book is not simply a history of the unit, but rather an examination of how its operations and legacy have been covered in the media, by historians and in popular fiction. Naturally, it references Deighton's Bomber book as one such example.

The book is fascinating enough in itself, but it includes a three-page foreword by Len. This was news to me; through many years of collecting, writing about and documenting works by and referencing Len Deighton, I hadn't come across this book at all. But there it was. Just goes to show how any collection, or any website, is never truly 'complete' because there's always more to find and document.

Serendipitous finds like this book are one of the pleasures of collecting any author's work, and I'm pleased that it came about through a connection made through this website. I'm always keen to hear from collectors who find really unusual items, and learn about the stories behind the finds, and would be happy to feature them on this blog!

Thursday 4 August 2016

Samson, not Palmer, wins out according to the Daily Telegraph

In last weekend's  (30 July) Daily Telegraph, journalist Jake Kerridge picks out his top twenty greatest spy novels of all time.

As is always the case with lists, it's a source of debate and discussion rather than a definitive, unchallengeable statement of fact. However, he includes some surprising inclusions as well as obvious choices.

Pleasingly, Deighton's contribution to the genre is acknowledged, but not in the way you might think. Rather than plumping for one of the five unnamed spy novels (i.e. Harry Palmer), Kerridge selects Berlin Game, and here I agree with him. If I had to make a choice, the scale of this book - which, he writes, "is a feast of plotting which out-le-Carré's-le-Carré" - makes it the superior choice, certainly in comparison to the other great spy novels on the list. Just like 83.2% of all Berlin Game reviews, Kerridge makes reference to the "sardonic and disillusioned" character of spy Bernard Samson as one of the reasons for the books inclusion.

Interestingly, Kerridge, when discussing Berlin Game, makes reference to an old story/rumour from about eight years ago that director Quentin Tarantino was going to make a film of the series. This was always only a throwaway remark from the director in one interview, but it seems to have gained traction over time.

Pointing towards the lack of detailed research which can often be shown in articles like this, Kerridge makes no reference to the recent rights sale to Clerkenwell Films of the rights to Berlin Game and the other eight novels in the series. That may be because since the announcement two years ago, and to the frustration of readers, there's been no smoke arising from camp Clerkenwell about when they're going to actually get around to filming the bloomin' thing.

What other novels could, or should, be included?