Saturday 26 January 2019

Harry Palmer returned .... sort of.

Author Penelope Wallace - former Chair, Crime Writers' Association International
It's rare these days that I come across something undiscovered relating to the works of Len Deighton - but thanks to some recent correspondence with Dossier reader Tony Medawar, I have.

He shared with me a copy of an article he wrote a while back for the British magazine CADS (Crime and Detective Stories), which gives further details of Len Deighton's contribution to a (sadly) unpublished serial mystery story entitled The Greatest Mystery Round the World.

The article details how crime writers Jean Bowden and Penelope Wallace developed an idea to create a sort of patchwork thriller story in audiobook form, with different contributions from leading crime and thriller writers at the time (and their character creations) based on a framework plot, including one Len Deighton. It was to be released in a series of 22-minute audio episodes on tape.

His chapter contribution wasn't titled, but was to be narrated by 'Harry P' - i.e. Harry Palmer. Eight chapters were to be released on audio, with the ninth - the denouement - either being published separately or left out, replaced by a competion to find the best conclusion to the story.

Tony has since advised that, when he spoke to another contributor, Martin Edwards, he told him that Len said he had no memory of ever having written the piece! So, a 'lost' masterpiece .... sort of. Thanks to Tony for sharing a very interesting article with the Dossier.

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