Historical Dictionary of British Spy Fiction [1 ed.] 9781442255869

The Historical Dictionary of British Spy Fiction is a detailed overview of the rich history and achievements of the Brit

323 88 3MB

English Pages 532 [525] Year 2016

Report DMCA / Copyright


Table of contents :
Editor’s Foreword
Reader’s Notes
Acronyms and Abbreviations
Appendix 1: Critical and Biographical Introductions and Commentaries to Works of Spy Fiction and History
Appendix 2: “The Greatest Spy Stories”
Appendix 3: The Spy as Novelist
About the Author
Recommend Papers

Historical Dictionary of British Spy Fiction [1 ed.]

  • 0 0 0
  • Like this paper and download? You can publish your own PDF file online for free in a few minutes! Sign Up
File loading please wait...
Citation preview

The historical dictionaries present essential information on a broad range of subjects, including American and world history, art, business, cities, countries, cultures, customs, film, global conflicts, international relations, literature, music, philosophy, religion, sports, and theater. Written by experts, all contain highly informative introductory essays on the topic and detailed chronologies that, in some cases, cover vast historical time periods but still manage to heavily feature more recent events. Brief A–Z entries describe the main people, events, politics, social issues, institutions, and policies that make the topic unique, and entries are cross-referenced for ease of browsing. Extensive bibliographies are divided into several general subject areas, providing excellent access points for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more. Additionally, maps, photographs, and appendixes of supplemental information aid high school and college students doing term papers or introductory research projects. In short, the historical dictionaries are the perfect starting point for anyone looking to research in these fields.

HISTORICAL DICTIONARIES OF LITERATURE AND THE ARTS Jon Woronoff, Series Editor Science Fiction Literature, by Brian Stableford, 2004. Hong Kong Cinema, by Lisa Odham Stokes, 2007. American Radio Soap Operas, by Jim Cox, 2005. Japanese Traditional Theatre, by Samuel L. Leiter, 2006. Fantasy Literature, by Brian Stableford, 2005. Australian and New Zealand Cinema, by Albert Moran and Errol Vieth, 2006. African-American Television, by Kathleen Fearn-Banks, 2006. Lesbian Literature, by Meredith Miller, 2006. Scandinavian Literature and Theater, by Jan Sjåvik, 2006. British Radio, by Seán Street, 2006. German Theater, by William Grange, 2006. African American Cinema, by S. Torriano Berry and Venise Berry, 2006. Sacred Music, by Joseph P. Swain, 2006. Russian Theater, by Laurence Senelick, 2007. French Cinema, by Dayna Oscherwitz and MaryEllen Higgins, 2007. Postmodernist Literature and Theater, by Fran Mason, 2007. Irish Cinema, by Roderick Flynn and Pat Brereton, 2007. Australian Radio and Television, by Albert Moran and Chris Keating, 2007. Polish Cinema, by Marek Haltof, 2007. Old Time Radio, by Robert C. Reinehr and Jon D. Swartz, 2008. Renaissance Art, by Lilian H. Zirpolo, 2008. Broadway Musical, by William A. Everett and Paul R. Laird, 2008. American Theater: Modernism, by James Fisher and Felicia Hardison Londré, 2008. German Cinema, by Robert C. Reimer and Carol J. Reimer, 2008. Horror Cinema, by Peter Hutchings, 2008. Westerns in Cinema, by Paul Varner, 2008. Chinese Theater, by Tan Ye, 2008. Italian Cinema, by Gino Moliterno, 2008. Architecture, by Allison Lee Palmer, 2008. Russian and Soviet Cinema, by Peter Rollberg, 2008. African American Theater, by Anthony D. Hill, 2009. Postwar German Literature, by William Grange, 2009. Modern Japanese Literature and Theater, by J. Scott Miller, 2009. Animation and Cartoons, by Nichola Dobson, 2009. Modern Chinese Literature, by Li-hua Ying, 2010. Middle Eastern Cinema, by Terri Ginsberg and Chris Lippard, 2010.

Spanish Cinema, by Alberto Mira, 2010. Film Noir, by Andrew Spicer, 2010. French Theater, by Edward Forman, 2010. Choral Music, by Melvin P. Unger, 2010. Westerns in Literature, by Paul Varner, 2010. Baroque Art and Architecture, by Lilian H. Zirpolo, 2010. Surrealism, by Keith Aspley, 2010. Science Fiction Cinema, by M. Keith Booker, 2010. Latin American Literature and Theater, by Richard A. Young and Odile Cisneros, 2011. Children’s Literature, by Emer O’Sullivan, 2010. German Literature to 1945, by William Grange, 2011. Neoclassical Art and Architecture, by Allison Lee Palmer, 2011. American Cinema, by M. Keith Booker, 2011. American Theater: Contemporary, by James Fisher, 2011. English Music: ca. 1400–1958, by Charles Edward McGuire and Steven E. Plank, 2011. Rococo Art, by Jennifer D. Milam, 2011. Romantic Art and Architecture, by Allison Lee Palmer, 2011. Japanese Cinema, by Jasper Sharp, 2011. Modern and Contemporary Classical Music, by Nicole V. Gagné, 2012. Russian Music, by Daniel Jaffé, 2012. Music of the Classical Period, by Bertil van Boer, 2012. Holocaust Cinema, by Robert C. Reimer and Carol J. Reimer, 2012. Asian American Literature and Theater, by Wenjing Xu, 2012. Beat Movement, by Paul Varner, 2012. Jazz, by John S. Davis, 2012. Crime Films, by Geoff Mayer, 2013. Scandinavian Cinema, by John Sundholm, Isak Thorsen, Lars Gustaf Andersson, Olof Hedling, Gunnar Iversen, and Birgir Thor Møller, 2013. Chinese Cinema, by Tan Ye and Yun Zhu, 2013. Taiwan Cinema, by Daw-Ming Lee, 2013. Russian Literature, by Jonathan Stone, 2013. Gothic Literature, by William Hughes, 2013. French Literature, by John Flower, 2013. Baroque Music, by Joseph P. Swain, 2013. Opera, by Scott L. Balthazar, 2013. British Cinema, by Alan Burton and Steve Chibnall, 2013. Romantic Music, by John Michael Cooper with Randy Kinnett, 2013. British Theatre: Early Period, by Darryll Grantley, 2013. South American Cinema, by Peter H. Rist, 2014. African American Television, Second Edition, by Kathleen Fearn-Banks and Anne Burford-Johnson, 2014.

Japanese Traditional Theatre, Second Edition, by Samuel L. Leiter, 2014. Science Fiction in Literature, by M. Keith Booker, 2015. Romanticism in Literature, by Paul Varner, 2015. American Theater: Beginnings, by James Fisher, 2016. African American Cinema, Second Edition, by S. Torriano Berry and Venise Berry, 2015. British Radio, Second Edition, by Seán Street, 2015. German Theater, Second Edition, by William Grange, 2015. Russian Theater, Second Edition, by Laurence Senelick, 2015. Broadway Musical, Second Edition, by William A. Everett and Paul R. Laird, 2016. British Spy Fiction, by Alan Burton, 2016.

Historical Dictionary of British Spy Fiction

Alan Burton

ROWMAN & LITTLEFIELD Lanham • Boulder • New York • London

Published by Rowman & Littlefield A wholly owned subsidiary of The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc. 4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, Maryland 20706 www.rowman.com Unit A, Whitacre Mews, 26-34 Stannary Street, London SE11 4AB Copyright © 2016 by Alan Burton All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote passages in a review. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Information Available Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Name: Burton, Alan, 1962–, author. Title: Historical dictionary of British spy fiction / Alan Burton. Description: Lanham : Rowman & Littlefield, 2016. | Series: Historical dictionaries of literature and the arts | Includes bibliographical references. Identifiers: LCCN 2015043564 | ISBN 9781442255869 (hardcover : alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Spy stories, English—Dictionaries. | Espionage in literature. | Spies in literature. Classification: LCC PR830.S65 B87 2016 | DDC 823/.087209003—dc23 LC record available at http://lccn.loc.gov/2015043564 TM

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992. Printed in the United States of America. This publication has been made possible following the award of a research grant from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): P 26295-G23.


Editor’s Foreword




Reader’s Notes


Acronyms and Abbreviations








Appendix 1: Critical and Biographical Introductions and Commentaries to Works of Spy Fiction and History


Appendix 2: “The Greatest Spy Stories”


Appendix 3: The Spy as Novelist




About the Author



Editor’s Foreword

Few forms of literature have grown as rapidly and profusely as spy fiction. The origins don’t go back more than a century or so, although espionage reaches back to the beginnings of history and will presumably continue as long as countries cannot get along with one another . . . which is likely to be many more centuries to come. This predicts a long and bountiful future for British spy fiction. The adjective British is there because, while there are also American, Russian, Chinese, and many other forms of the genre, the Brits were there at the beginning of both the romantic and literary trends. The British almost invented spy fiction, with authors like John le Carré, Ian Fleming, and Graham Greene and fictional spies like George Smiley, James Bond, and Harry Palmer. Not surprisingly, short stories and novels have led to a number of movies and have been joined by dramas made especially for television. This Historical Dictionary of British Spy Fiction covers three narrative forms (novels, films, and television dramas) but focuses solely on the crucial contribution of Great Britain. It provides the information in a chronology, an introduction, a dictionary section that contains about 300 entries on major writers, characters, novels, films, and television dramas as well as some noteworthy trends in the genre. An extensive bibliography is the ideal starting point for further reading. The author is Alan Burton, who has taught film and television studies at De Montfort University in Leicester as well as the University of Hull and is now at the Institute of English and American Studies at Klagenfurt University in Austria. He has written widely on cinema in the co-operative movement, British silent cinema, and British film directors. He has been involved with many publications in film studies, whether as a member of the board of advisors of the Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film or the editorial board of the Journal of Popular British Cinema and the Journal of British Cinema and Television. He is also the coauthor of a related volume, Historical Dictionary of British Cinema, winner of the 2013 Library Journal Best Reference award. Dr. Burton is currently the recipient of a research grant from the FWF Austrian Science Fund to study British spy fiction, which is bound to provide future books in the series. Jon Woronoff Series Editor ix


There has been much written on the history and practice of British spy fiction, and a historical dictionary is a suitable place to draw together the varied knowledges, insights, and perspectives that have emerged. Spy fiction has been and remains one of the most widely read forms of popular literature, and the British have been its leading practitioners. The character of the secret agent James Bond, introduced in the novels of Ian Fleming in the 1950s and subsequently exported to the global market through a series of extraordinarily commercial films, is one of the most recognizable figures in the world, popular and admired on all continents, an ambassador for British style, sex appeal, and gentlemanly attributes. Many other writers have contributed to the acclaimed tradition of spy fiction in Britain, and the following Historical Dictionary of British Spy Fiction gathers them together and provides informative and readable accounts of their literary lives and creations across the period of the “long twentieth century.” The inclusion of filmmakers, motion pictures, and television dramas, the screen stories often adapted from celebrated and popular novels, is a distinctive and I hope welcome addition to the dictionary, providing a wider scope for the assessment of British spy fiction than is traditionally attempted. Various individuals have helped by providing materials essential to writing and compiling the dictionary. In particular, I would like to thank Professor Steve Chibnall, who made available some hard-to-find films from his extensive collection; Dr. James Zborowski for passing on some essential published articles; and April Snider at Rowman & Littlefield, who was a very efficient and kindly postmistress, holding and forwarding materials only available in America at the time I needed them. I would especially like to acknowledge the award of a research grant from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF): P 26295-G23, which has generously enabled the preparation, research, and writing of the dictionary. This Historical Dictionary of British Spy Fiction was written and compiled in Austria, a country and region that has often been featured in British spy stories as it occupied a strategic and hazardous liminal space between West and East at the time of the Cold War. During the writing, there was a major international espionage scandal in which the United States was uncomfortably accused of spying on its ally Germany, a neighbor of Austria, a consequence of which the European country expelled the Central Intelligence Agency head of station from Berlin, which led the German chancellor to call for intelligence reprisals against America and Great Britain. Also during the xi



latter stages of writing, James Bond visited Austria as Eon Productions began location shooting on Spectre, the new 007 movie. As will become evident, fact and fiction are inextricably intertwined in a consideration of British spy fiction, and such controversies and events derived from the secret international world of espionage and featuring the most popular and alluring secret agent of the imagination provided a fitting context for the preparation of the dictionary.

Reader’s Notes

In the dictionary, I have used the terms British Intelligence and British Secret Service synonymously when referring to the collective organizations of national security and espionage. I have also used the somewhat vaguer term the intelligence services in this way, which allows for a degree of elegant variation in writing. Secret Intelligence Service is used synonymously with MI6 and refers to the body responsible for espionage overseas, while Security Service is used synonymously with MI5 and refers to the body responsible for home security and counterespionage. I have sometimes used the vaguer term the security services in this way to allow for a degree of variation. Novels, films, and television dramas are listed with their original British titles. This was sometimes different than the release title in the United States and elsewhere. The year of release of a motion picture can vary according to the criteria used. I adopted the common and sensible scheme of the date when a picture went into general release in Britain. The national origins of non-British films are given in brackets. In order to facilitate the rapid and efficient location of information and to make this book as useful a reference tool as possible, extensive cross-references are provided in the dictionary section. Within individual entries, terms that have their own entries are in boldface type the first time they appear. Related terms that do not appear in the text are indicated in the See also section following an entry. See refers to other entries that deal with the topic.


Acronyms and Abbreviations


Anti-Terrorist Branch


British Academy of Film and Television Arts


British Broadcasting Corporation, formerly British Broadcasting Company


British Board of Film Classification, formerly British Board of Film Censors


British International Pictures


Fictional “British Intelligence Service Headquarters, Operation Priest”


Fictional “British Operational Security”


South African Intelligence Service


Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire


Initially the Columbia Broadcasting System


Counter-Espionage [Long-Term Security]


Central Intelligence Agency


Crime Writers’ Association


Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath


Fictional “Department of Commercial Development”


Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German Democratic Republic)


Director General


Alternative designation for MI5


Distinguished Service Order


Federal Bureau of Investigation


Gaumont-British Picture Corporation


Government Communications Headquarters


Glavnoje Razvedyvatel’noje Upravlenije (Soviet Military Intelligence) xv




His/Her Majesty’s Ship


Fictional “International Communications Syndicate”


Fictional “International Irradiated Fuels”


Intercept Modernisation Programme


Irish Republican Army


Independent Television Company


Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire


Komitet Gosudarstvennoe Bezopasnosti (Soviet Committee for State Security)


Fictional organization “Killing, Rape, Arson, Slaughter, and Hit”


Lysergic acid diethylamide (a psychedelic drug)


Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire


Military Cross




Money, Ideology, Compromise and Ego


counterespionage and security service


Secret Intelligence Service


Fictional department of British Intelligence in the Johnny English films


Fictional department of British Intelligence in Danger Man


Forerunner of MI5


Member of Parliament


North Atlantic Treaty Organization


Narodnyy komissariat vnutrennikh del (branch of the Soviet secret police, 1934–1946)


Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire


Obyedinyonnoye gosudarstvennoye politicheskoye upravleniye (secret police of the Soviet Union, 1922–1934)


(American) Office of Strategic Services




Prisoners of war


Political Warfare Executive


Royal Air Force


Royal Engineers


Royal Navy


Royal Ulster Constabulary


Suspicious Activity Reports


Special Air Service


South East Asia Command


Secret Intelligence Service


Fictional “Scottish Liberation Army”


Spetsyalnye Metody Razoblacheniya Shpyonov (Death to Spies; Soviet military counterintelligence agency)


Fictional “Society for the Neutralization of Germs”


Scottish National Party


Special Operations Executive


Fictional “Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion”


Státní bezpečnost (state security in former Czechoslovakia)


Fictional “ Society for the Total Extinction of NonConforming Humans”


Fictional “Total Information Awareness” surveillance technology


United Artists


Ministerstwo Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego (Ministry of State Security in communist Poland)


United States Army Air Forces


Fictional “World of Asia Revolution”


Invented department of British Intelligence in the early stories of Len Deighton


1871 Sir George Tomkyns Chesney publishes The Battle of Dorking, the first of the popular invasion scare stories. 1889 The first Official Secrets Act creates offenses of disclosure of information (section 1) and breach of official trust (section 2). 1894 The anarchist plot to blow up the Royal Observatory at Greenwich is foiled. William Le Queux publishes his invasion story The Great War in England in 1897, which centers on a conspiracy by the French and the Russians. 1900 Rudyard Kipling publishes Kim in serial form in McClure’s Magazine. 1903 Erskine Childers publishes The Riddle of the Sands, his warning about a possible German invasion. 1905 Emma, Baroness Orczy publishes in novel form The Scarlet Pimpernel, one of the most enduring of all adventure stories. Mystery writer Edgar Wallace publishes The Four Just Men. 1906 William Le Queux publishes The Invasion of 1910, this time revealing the Germans as the great threat. 1907 Joseph Conrad publishes the classic The Secret Agent. 1908 G. K. Chesterton publishes his conspiracy fantasy The Man Who Was Thursday. 1909 The Secret Service Bureau is established. P. G. Wodehouse publishes The Swoop! Or, How Clarence Saved England: A Tale of the Great Invasion, a satire of the popular invasion stories of the day. 1911 Amid war fears and spy scares, the Official Secrets Act is made more robust and introduces penalties for spying. The Siege of Sydney Street ends in the death of two anarchists. Joseph Conrad publishes Under Western Eyes, a story of revolutionary fervor. 1912 The Admiralty, War Office and Press Committee is formed to arrange the voluntary censorship of defense information through what would become known as the “D Notice” system. 1913 Sax Rohmer introduces his enduring oriental master villain in The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu. xix



1915 Military Intelligence is reshuffled and MI5 (the Security Service) and MI6 (the Secret Service) emerge. John Buchan publishes his classic espionage adventure The Thirty-Nine Steps, thereby introducing his series character Richard Hannay. 1917 In the short story “His Last Bow,” the master detective Sherlock Holmes is brought out of retirement and embarks on undercover service in the Great War. J. Storer Clouston publishes The Spy in Black, concerning a German naval officer spying on the British fleet at Scapa Flow. 1918 Valentine Williams introduces his series characters of the Englishman gentleman hero Desmond Okewood and the grotesque German villain Clubfoot in The Man with the Clubfoot. 1920 E. Phillips Oppenheim publishes The Great Impersonation, the most famous of his many spy stories. The world is introduced to the two-fisted gentleman hero Bulldog Drummond in the eponymous novel subtitled The Adventures of a Demobilised Officer Who Found Peace Dull. 1922 The Secret Adversary is the first of a handful of spy stories written by the famous crime novelist Agatha Christie. 1926 Sydney Horler introduces his series villain Baron Velesoffsky in FalseFace, regarded by agents as “the most dangerous man in Europe.” 1928 W. Somerset Maugham publishes his collection of short secret service stories as Ashenden; or, The British Agent. The world is introduced to the gentleman hero Simon Templar (the Saint) in Leslie Charteris’s Meet the Tiger. Dawn, a movie telling the tragic story of English nurse Edith Cavell shot by the Germans during World War I for helping allied soldiers to escape, is produced and directed by Herbert Wilcox and encounters some censorship difficulties. 1932 Graham Greene publishes Stamboul Train, his first espionage thriller. Marthe McKenna publishes her memoirs as an agent during the First World War, titled I Was a Spy! 1933 Compton Mackenzie publishes Water on the Brain, his hilarious satire of the British Secret Service. The film adaptation I Was a Spy stars Madeleine Carroll. John Creasey launches his Department Z series of spy thrillers with The Death Miser. Dennis Wheatley publishes his first novel, The Forbidden Territory, an adventure story set in revolutionary Russia in which two colleagues set off to rescue a friend.



1934 Alexander Korda produces a film version of The Scarlet Pimpernel starring Leslie Howard, the best of many screen adaptations. Alfred Hitchcock directs The Man Who Knew Too Much and embarks on a series of spy thrillers. Maxwell Knight, a senior security officer at MI5, publishes Crime Cargo (1934), the first of his two thrillers. 1935 Alfred Hitchcock makes his classic espionage thriller The 39 Steps, a loose adaptation of the John Buchan novel. Bernard Newman publishes Spy, an account of his wartime role in British Intelligence, which is wholly fictitious and fools many readers. 1936 Eric Ambler publishes his first novel, The Dark Frontier. Ethel L. White publishes the classic female-centered thriller The Wheel Spins. 1937 Vivien Leigh and Conrad Veidt star in the World War I spy film Dark Journey. 1938 Alfred Hitchcock directs The Lady Vanishes, his last spy thriller made in Britain. It is a loose adaptation of Ethel White’s novel The Wheel Spins. 1939 The Venlo Incident on the Dutch-German border leaves two British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) officers in the captivity of the German Abwehr. London Films produces The Spy in Black and Q Planes, two espionage films released on the eve of World War II. Ealing Studios produces a screen version of Edgar Wallace’s classic story The Four Just Men. Geoffrey Household publishes Rogue Male, one of the most enduring of “hunted man” stories. Eric Ambler publishes The Mask of Dimitrios, his best remembered novel. 1940 The Special Operations Executive (SOE) is established. Dennis Wheatley publishes The Scarlet Imposter, his first wartime story featuring the British gentleman agent Gregory Sallust, this time involving him in a plot to assassinate Hitler. Drink to Yesterday, the first spy thriller of Manning Coles, is published. Carol Reed’s Night Train to Munich is a superior example of the early wartime vogue for British spy films. 1941 Helen MacInnes publishes her first novel, Above Suspicion, a story of a young British couple who become involved in the European resistance to Nazism. Leslie Howard reinvents his classic screen role of the title character in Pimpernel Smith, this time helping victims of Nazi persecution. 1942 Ealing Studios produces Next of Kin, a film that dramatizes the wartime propaganda slogan “Careless Talk Costs Lives” and shows how loose tongues can aid enemy agents. J. B. Priestley publishes Black-Out in Gretley, a wartime thriller dealing with fifth columnists in a North Midlands town.



1943 Ealing Studios produces Went the Day Well?, the story of an English village fighting off an advance force of German paratroops. 1947 Atom spy Allan Nunn May is arrested. Rebecca West publishes The Meaning of Treason, her penetrating study of traitors in the Second World War. Dennis Wheatley publishes The Launching of Robert Brook, his first romantic novel featuring the Napoleonic-era spy. 1949 Elizabeth Bowen publishes the novel The Heat of the Day. Nigel Balchin publishes A Sort of Traitors, one of the first novels to deal with the issues of traitorous scientists and germ warfare. 1950 Atom spy Klaus Fuchs is arrested while fellow scientist Bruno Pontecorvo defects to Russia. Herbert Wilcox produces a screen version of Odette, the story of Odette Sansom of the SOE. 1951 Diplomat Donald Maclean and Foreign Office official Guy Burgess defect to Russia. High Treason, directed by Roy Boulting, dramatizes communist subversion and sabotage in Britain. The master Eric Ambler returns to the espionage novel after an 11-year absence with Judgement on Deltchev. 1953 Ian Fleming publishes Casino Royale, introducing the iconic British agent James Bond and reinvigorating the glamorous style of the spy thriller. The Man Who Never Was is a factual account of a major wartime deception of the Germans. Dennis Wheatley breaks step and publishes Curtain of Fear, an up-to-the-minute Cold War thriller dealing with a traitorous scientist who plans to defect behind the Iron Curtain. Richard Usborne publishes Clubland Heroes, a nostalgic study of the male archetype in detective and espionage fiction in the first part of the 20th century. 1955 Robert Harling publishes The Enormous Shadow, a novel influenced by the recent revelations of atom spies and missing diplomats. 1956 Frogman lieutenant commander Lionel “Buster” Crabb disappears while secretly surveying the Soviet cruiser Ordzhonikidze anchored in Portsmouth Harbor. Twentieth Century Fox produces in Britain The Man Who Never Was, telling the story of one of the great deceptions of the Germans in World War II. 1957 The brothers Hugh and Graham Greene publish The Spy’s Bedside Book, an anthology of spy stories. Alistair Maclean publishes his hugely popular wartime adventure The Guns of Navarone. 1958 Graham Greene publishes Our Man in Havana, a classic satire of the Secret Service. William Haggard introduces his series character Colonel Russell in Slow Burner. Rank produces a screen version of Carve Her Name with Pride, the story of Violette Szabó of the SOE.



1960 ITC produces Danger Man, starring Patrick McGoohan as the secret agent John Drake, a seminal action series of the decade. Lionel Davidson publishes The Night of Wenceslas, the first of his espionage stories. 1961 MI6 officer George Blake is arrested and imprisoned. The Portland Spy Ring is broken up and the government appointed Romer Committee issues the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Breaches of Security at the Underwater Detection Establishment at Portland. ABC Weekend television produces The Avengers, the first of seven series of quirky spy adventures. John le Carré publishes his first novel, Call for the Dead. Gavin Black introduces his character the businessman Paul Harris in Suddenly at Singapore and commences a series of intelligent adventures set in the Far East. 1962 Navy spy John Vassell is arrested and convicted. The Radcliffe Committee reports on Security Procedures in the Public Service following embarrassing recent lapses in security arrangements. Len Deighton publishes The Ipcress File, a major influence on the new style of realistic and cynical spy stories. United Artists releases Dr. No, starring Sean Connery, the first bigscreen version of the popular novels of Ian Fleming featuring super agent James Bond. 1963 Former MI6 officer Kim Philby defects to Russia. The Profumo Affair ends in the resignation of the Minister of War and signs the death knell of Harold Macmillan’s Conservative government. The Lord Denning Report into the scandal is an unexpected best seller. The film Ring of Spies is a realistic portrayal of the Portland Spy Ring case. John le Carré publishes his third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, a major critical and commercial success and a landmark in the new realist style of the spy story. Modesty Blaise makes her first appearance as a comic strip character in the Evening Standard. The novel and film The Mind Benders dramatizes the concern regarding brainwashing. 1964 Rebecca West publishes The New Meaning of Treason, an update to her classic study to incorporate the defectors Burgess, Maclean, and Philby. James Leasor introduces his series character Dr. Jason Love in Passport to Oblivion. James Mayo introduces his series character and James Bond wannabe Charles Hood in Hammerhead. The burgeoning vogue for espionage is spoofed in Carry on Spying. 1965 The Man with the Golden Gun, published posthumously, is Ian Fleming’s final novel featuring James Bond. Harry Saltzman produces a successful screen version of Len Deighton’s The Ipcress File, starring Michael Caine as a lower-class spy. Adam Hall introduces his series character, the



British undercover agent Quiller, in The Berlin Memorandum. Peter O’Donnell reinvents his comic strip character as a series heroine in his first novel, Modesty Blaise. 1966 George Blake escapes from Wormwood Scrubs prison and is provided with sanctuary in Russia. Rebecca West publishes The Birds Fall Down, a historical novel of anarchists and revolutionaries in Russia. Paramount releases a successful screen version of John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, featuring Richard Burton as the sacrificial agent Alec Leamas. Derek Marlowe scores with his debut novel, A Dandy in Aspic. Joseph Losey directs a screen version of Modesty Blaise. 1967 ABC Television produces Callan, the first of four hugely popular series centered on an embittered agent in a covert counterespionage unit. Columbia releases a successful screen version of John le Carré’s novel Call for the Dead as The Deadly Affair. Adam Diment publishes his first hip spy novel, The Dolly Dolly Spy. Larry Forrester’s A Girl Called Fathom features an impressive female agent, played by Raquel Welch in the film Fathom released in the same year. The “Insight Team” at the Sunday Times sensationally reveals Kim Philby as the “Third Man,” after Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean. 1968 Kim Philby’s autobiography My Silent War is published in London. The screen version of A Dandy in Aspic is not a success. Kingsley Amis publishes the first official James Bond continuation novel, Colonel Sun. 1969 Thames Television launches Special Branch, the first of four series devoted to the civil arm of the security services. Derek Lambert publishes the well-regarded Angels in the Snow, a story set among the diplomatic community in Moscow. Century 21 Television fails to impress with the puppet adventure series The Secret Service. 1970 Anthony Price introduces his series character Dr. David Audley in The Labyrinth Makers. The “Bomb Squad” is formed at the Metropolitan Police to deal with the rise in terrorist outrages. 1971 Operation FOOT expels 105 Soviet diplomats from London, greatly impeding Soviet Intelligence and turning Britain into a “hard target” for the KGB. Dennis Potter’s play Traitor, a thinly veiled portrait of Kim Philby in Moscow, is broadcast on the BBC. Frederick Forsyth publishes the hugely popular thriller The Day of the Jackal. 1972 Ted Allbeury publishes his first novel, A Choice of Enemies, inspired by his experience in wartime intelligence. The thriller series Tightrope is broadcast on independent television and makes an unusually high demand on the intelligence of older children.



1973 A new sex and security scandal envelops the Conservative government, involving Lord Antony Lambton, the parliamentary undersecretary for the Royal Air Force (RAF), and George Jellicoe, Lord Privy Seal and leader of the House of Lords. Roger Moore stars for the first time as James Bond in Live and Let Die. John Huston directs The Mackintosh Man in England and Ireland, an intelligent adaptation of Desmond Bagley’s The Freedom Trap. 1974 The Prevention of Terrorism Act is passed. Frederick Winterbotham publishes The Ultra Secret, revealing one of the best kept intelligence secrets of the war. 1975 Quiller, produced by the BBC, is an interesting but unsuccessful attempt to transfer Adam Hall’s secret agent to the small screen. Jack Higgins publishes The Eagle Has Landed, a hugely popular adventure story dealing with a wartime German plot to abduct Prime Minister Winston Churchill. 1976 The Anti-Terrorist Branch is formed at the Metropolitan Police. The New Avengers is launched as a popular sequel to the classic cult spy series of the 1960s. The spy thriller serial Dangerous Knowledge is first broadcast. 1977 Granada Television produces Philby, Burgess & Maclean, a single play drama about the notorious traitors. Brian Freemantle publishes the eponymous novel that launched his unconventional series secret agent Charlie Muffin. State Research is established as a watchdog of the law, the police, internal security, espionage, and the military, and the links between the agencies operating in these fields on the one hand, and industry, right-wing and paramilitary organizations on the other. 1978 Graham Greene publishes The Human Factor, his last great novel of espionage. Yorkshire Television produces The Sandbaggers, the first of three series centered on an elite covert intelligence unit within MI6. Ken Follett publishes Eye of the Needle, a popular novel of wartime espionage. 1979 Sir Anthony Blunt, art historian, surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, and wartime MI5 officer, is exposed in parliament by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as a former Soviet spy. BBC television produces an acclaimed seven-part adaptation of John le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, starring Alec Guinness, and the series The Ωmega Factor, centers on an experimental unit that investigates the intelligence uses of psychic phenomena. 1980 Gavin Lyall introduces his series character Major Maxim in The Secret Servant. Blade on the Feather is Dennis Potter’s second television play on the theme of treachery in the British Establishment. 1981 Chapman Pincher publishes Their Trade Is Treachery, a revelation of the Soviet penetration of British Intelligence since the Second World War, and creates a storm. The stage drama Another Country, an imaginative explo-



ration of the school days of Guy Burgess, is a critical and commercial success. John Gardner publishes Licence Renewed, the first official James Bond novel since Colonel Sun by Kingsley Amis in 1968. 1982 BBC television produces an acclaimed six-part adaptation of John le Carré’s Smiley’s People, starring Alec Guinness, and the single play drama Soft Targets by Stephen Poliakoff. A Very British Coup is published by Labour Party insider Chris Mullin. Geoffrey Prime is jailed for a total of 38 years for disclosing information to the Soviet Union while working for the RAF and later for Government Communications Headquarters, and for assorted child sex crimes. 1983 Len Deighton publishes Berlin Game and introduces a new series character with Bernard Samson. Granada Television produces Chessgame, a sixpart adaptation of the early espionage novels of Anthony Price. The BBC produces an adaptation of Alan Bennett’s stage drama An Englishman Abroad, starring Alan Bates. Thames Television produces the historical drama Reilly—Ace of Spies, a series charting the unlikely adventures of the legendary Sidney Reilly. Sarah Caroline Tisdall, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office clerical officer, is jailed for leaking British government documents to the Guardian detailing when American cruise missile nuclear weapons would be arriving in Britain. 1984. Frederick Forsyth publishes The Fourth Protocol, a story centering on contemporary concerns about left-wing conspiracies and the siting of American nuclear missiles on British soil. A movie version of the successful stage play Another Country is released, fictionalizing the school days of the double agent Guy Burgess. BBC television dramatizes Gavin Lyall’s The Secret Servant. Michael Bettaney of MI5 is convicted of offenses under the Official Secrets Act after passing documents to the Soviet embassy in London and attempting to act as an agent-in-place for the Soviet Union. 1985 Two classic “secret state” thrillers are released: The BBC’s Edge of Darkness, a seminal television drama series; and the Rank motion picture Defence of the Realm. Civil servant Clive Ponting is surprisingly acquitted of charges under the Official Secrets Act after passing to a Member of Parliament secret documents relating to the Falklands War. Recently resigned MI5 officer Cathy Massiter causes a sensation with allegations on television that the Security Service conducted unacceptable surveillance of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the National Council for Civil Liberties. 1986 Bryan Forbes introduces his series character Alec Hillsden in the novel The Endless Game. The BBC documentary Secret Society is suppressed by the authorities.



1987 Former MI5 officer Peter Wright publishes his memoirs as Spycatcher and creates a storm. BBC television produces an acclaimed six-part adaptation of John le Carré’s A Perfect Spy, and Blunt, a single play drama dealing with the traitors Philby, Burgess, and Blunt. Timothy Dalton stars as James Bond in The Living Daylights, the first of two outings. Michael Caine stars in the movie version of The Fourth Protocol. 1988 Granada Television produces Game, Set and Match, a 13-part adaptation of Len Deighton’s novel trilogy Berlin Game, Mexico Set, and London Match. Channel 4 television produces an adaptation of A Very British Coup, about a conspiracy against a socialist government, from the novel by Chris Mullin. Thames Television produces Hannay, providing new adventures for John Buchan’s seminal British hero. 1989 On the centenary of Britain’s inaugural secrecy legislation, the Official Secrets Act is amended, providing greater specificity on what categories of information falls within the purview of criminal law and removing the public interest defense, which had recently been used by those prosecuted under the previous act. Palace Pictures produces Scandal, a film version of “The Profumo Affair.” Granada Television produces a screen version of The Heat of the Day, scripted by Harold Pinter from the Elizabeth Bowen novel. 1990 The Ken Loach film Hidden Agenda, which claims illegal activities by the security services during the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, is released. Ian McEwan publishes The Innocent, a story centered on the famous tunnel dug under the communists in East Berlin. 1991 The BBC produces an adaptation of Alan Bennett’s stage drama A Question of Attribution, starring James Fox, and the comedy-drama series Sleepers about two forgotten KGB agents left in Britain in the post-glasnost period. Channel 4 produces a television adaptation of The Endless Game by Bryan Forbes. Statewatch is established to monitor the state and civil liberties in Europe. 1992 Stella Rimington is appointed director general of the Security Service. Former defense worker Michael Smith, exposed by a Soviet defector, is sentenced to 25 years for “communicating material to another for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the State.” On the 75th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, SIS “exfiltrates” to Britain retired KGB senior archivist Vasili Mitrokhin with six case loads of secret material. 1993 The government publishes the White Paper “Open Government” and signals a retreat from excessive secrecy and further evidence of a possible gradual opening up of the state.



1994 The Intelligence Services Act provides public and legislative recognition of the SIS and of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) for the first time. 1995 Pierce Brosnan stars for the first time as James Bond in Goldeneye. John Lawton introduces his series character Inspector Troy in the wartime thriller Blackout. 1997 Former SIS officer Richard Tomlinson is imprisoned under the Official Secrets Act for providing a publisher with a synopsis of a proposed book detailing his career with MI6. 1999 The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West is the initial publication from the remarkable haul of secret documents brought to the West by the Soviet archivist. Following revelations in the Mitrokhin Archive, the 87-year-old former civil servant Melita Norwood, the so-called spy who came in from the co-op, is unmasked as the longest-serving and most important female agent for the Soviets, having passed state secrets over many years from her post at the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association, which provided Russia with a unique insight into the British atomic bomb. 2000 The British parliament passes the Terrorism Act and the Freedom of Information Act. The latter significantly excludes the areas of defense, foreign affairs, and security and intelligence from its provisions. 2001 FilmFour produces a screen version of Charlotte Gray, from the novel by Sebastian Faulks. A film adaptation of Robert Harris’s novel Enigma is released to mixed reviews. Charles Cumming publishes his first espionage novel, A Spy by Nature, and Matthew Dunn his first spy thriller, Spycatcher. The September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States in New York City and Washington, D.C., kill 2,996 people (including 67 Britons) and cause at least $10 billion in property damage. The British parliament passes the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. The National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre is established to deal with the issue of ethreats. 2002 The BBC produces the action drama Spooks, the first of 10 seasons dealing with the domestic security service. David Shayler, a former MI5 officer, is prosecuted and briefly jailed under the Official Secrets Act for passing secret documents to the Mail on Sunday in August 1997 that alleged persecution of socialists and that the security service had previously investigated Labour Party ministers Peter Mandelson, Jack Straw, and Harriet Harman.



2003 The BBC produces the historical drama serial Cambridge Spies, dealing with the treacheries of Philby, Burgess, Maclean, and Blunt, and the conspiracy thriller State of Play. Johnny English, a film starring Rowan Atkinson, is a hugely successful spy spoof. The British parliament passes the Criminal Justice Act 2003, further legislation to deal with the global threat of terror. 2004 Stella Rimington publishes her debut novel, At Risk, and introduces her heroine, MI5 officer Liz Carlyle. 2005 A series of coordinated suicide attacks in central London targeting the public transport system kills 52 and injures over 700. The British parliament passes the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 and, following the lead of other democratic countries, a Freedom of Information Act. 2006 Daniel Craig stars as James Bond for the first time in Casino Royale and the series is spectacularly rebooted. The security services thwart a plot to bring down a series of transatlantic flights from Britain to North America, judged to be “the most dangerous terrorist conspiracy in British history,” and which could have resulted in a scale of loss of life and damage comparable to 9/11. The British parliament passes the Terrorism Act. 2007 David Downing publishes Zoo Station, the first in a series of six historical spy novels set in wartime Germany. The Centre for the Protection of the National Infrastructure is established, which serves to reduce the vulnerability of the national infrastructure to terrorism and other threats. 2008 The BBC produces The Last Enemy, a conspiracy drama dealing with contemporary concerns regarding the surveillance state. The British parliament passes the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008. 2009 Jeremy Duns publishes his first novel, Free Agent, and introduces his series character Paul Dark. Professor Christopher Andrew publishes a statesponsored history, The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5. 2010 Professor Keith Jeffery publishes a state-sponsored history, MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909–1949. 2011 John le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, starring Gary Oldman, is produced in a big screen version. David Hare’s contemporary espionage drama Page Eight is broadcast on BBC television. The sequel Johnny English Reborn is another popular hit. 2012 The James Bond film Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig, becomes the most successful movie of all time at the British box office. The BBC produces two female-centered espionage dramas, a screen adaptation of William Boyd’s



Restless, starring Charlotte Rampling, and the action series Hunted, starring Melissa George. Channel 4 produces Secret State, a new television version of Chris Mullin’s novel A Very British Coup. Roger Pearce, a former commander of Special Branch, publishes his first thriller, Agent of the State, featuring Detective Chief Inspector John Kerr of the Branch. 2013 The BBC produces a screen adaptation of Alan Judd’s novel Legacy, and screens a two-part adaptation of Spies of Warsaw from the historical spy novel by the American Alan Furst. David Downing commences a new series of historical spy novels with Jack of Spies, set in the period shortly before the First World War. Jonathan Coe publishes Expo 58, a comic spy novel set at the Brussels World Fair in 1958. 2014 Turks & Caicos and Salting the Battlefield complete The Worricker Trilogy of dramas written by David Hare, which commenced with Page Eight in 2011. Eon Productions announces Spectre as the 24th James Bond film, featuring Daniel Craig in his fourth outing as 007, with shooting in London, Mexico City, Rome, Austria, and Morocco. The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the wartime code-breaker Alan Turing is a critical and commercial success. The historical spy serial The Game, set in 1972, premieres on BBC America, and is broadcast in the United Kingdom in April 2015. 2015 The film version of Kingsman: The Secret Service is released, based upon the comic book by Mark Millar, and depicts a veteran secret agent who leads a young protégé into the world of espionage. Spooks: The Greater Good is released, a movie derived from the long-running television series on the BBC. Thity-eight tourists are killed by a lone gunman in a terror attack on a beach in Tunisia; most of the victims are British.


“Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”—a well-known aphorism “His business is to betray, and he must of necessity be a liar; he must of necessity also be a hypocrite; he must of necessity, if he prefers this business to any other on earth, and takes a sixpence for it, be a mercenary and a cold-blooded scoundrel.”—comments on the character of a spy in The Examiner, 1817 “We live in a time that has become deeply obsessed with espionage, conspiracy, and other forms of clandestinity.”—John G. Cawelti and Bruce A. Rosenberg, The Spy Story, 1987

Commencing in the early 20th century, the British have been widely applauded for their genius in two related fields: their aptitude at espionage and clandestine activities and their brilliance and influence in the writing of spy fiction. The American spy novelist David R. Cudlip noted a symbiotic relationship between imagination and intrigue, commenting on the “spy stories at which our British friends excel since their countrymen were so good at the real stuff.” 1 While the praise for actual British espionage could be construed as a self-serving assessment by rivals and enemies seeking to explain away military defeat and loss of relative advantage to the British Empire and hardly holds up to historical scrutiny, it remains a truism that British writers pioneered the art of the spy story and maintained a dominance in espionage literature up to the present day. Thus, in the words of the American political scientist Thomas J. Price, “While the spy story is one of the most popular genres of fiction, it is in England that the grand masters of the genre exist. The likes of Ambler, Buchan, Fleming, Forsyth, Greene and le Carré are found nowhere else in such numbers.” 2 The general assumption is endorsed by the Canadian genre specialist David Skene Melvin, who claimed, at the height of success of the spy novel, that “though the U.S. has produced many novels of espionage, it has not produced an outstanding one. The British have had a corner on the espionage thriller genre right from the beginning.” 3 Reviewer and writer Julian Petley noted that “the British have always been completely obsessed with spies.” He explains this as due to the “very English love of concealment, and the unwillingness or inability of the English to show their real feelings.” 4




It was no coincidence that the modern spy story appeared in the same period that Great Britain established its first permanent security and intelligence agency. Widespread concerns regarding imperial defense, continental military rivalries, armaments races, and foreign espionage acted as substantial spurs to writers seeking to warn against the country’s lack of military preparedness. These often alarmist voices, which found popular acceptance with the reading public as well as some influential military figures, put pressure on the authorities to counter the supposed threat to national defense. The extent of the panic has been termed a “spy fever,” and, as a direct consequence, there hastily emerged a framework for dealing with the alleged peril. A more robust Official Secrets Act was passed in 1911, which provided the police with greater powers against spies, and an official counterintelligence section, the Secret Service Bureau, was established in 1909, and both were in place by the time of the outbreak of war in Europe in August 1914. It was the professed success of British Intelligence and propaganda during World War I that fed the myth of Britain’s innate superiority in the art of clandestine activity and intrigue. It was a view that would survive well into the middle of the 20th century, before some humiliating exposures of Soviet penetration of the British political establishment and the Secret Service began to cast a shadow on the reputation of almost unnatural insight and infallibility previously enjoyed by the security and intelligence organizations in Britain. It was by no coincidence that the first significant and lasting spy stories also appeared in the period leading up to and during World War I, establishing the singular reputation of British writers for this particular type of thriller fiction. And it is this close inter-relationship of espionage reality and fiction, of historical developments and literary practice, which underpins any proper appreciation of spying and intelligence in 20th-century British culture. As the intelligence historian Christopher Moran asserted, “Rightly or wrongly, spy fiction has to a large extent shaped public perceptions of intelligence.” 5 Literary scholars John G. Cawelti and Bruce A. Rosenberg have commented on the “pervasiveness” of secret operations, both real and imagined, in the culture of the recent period, leading them to refer to the 20th century as the “age of clandestinity”: the spy story has become one of the most popular genres of our time, and the figure of the secret agent has emerged as one of our favorite mythical heroes. In such a sense, spy stories are important cultural artifacts, “a major expressive phenomenon of modern culture,” and offer “an increasingly complex exploration of the psychological, philosophical and cultural significance of clandestinity.” 6



THE LITERARY TRADITION The Early Period It is estimated that at least 300 British spy novels were published between 1901 and 1914, and their impact termed a “cultural phenomenon.” 7 The spy story emerged in this period out of the established literary traditions of imperial adventure, sensation writing and the novel of terrorism, the late 19thcentury trend for writing about invasion scares, and a public fascination for espionage kindled by the recent sensational Dreyfus case in France (1894–99). Spy fiction absorbed many of the characteristics and archetypes of each of these forms and its development paralleled the popular genre of the detective story, with which spy fiction considerably overlapped. The early spy story, emerging as it did within the historical context of the industrialization of warfare and military expansion, relied heavily on the theft or copying of secret plans, documents, and blueprints, and therefore placed it alongside the popular form of the crime story. From an early stage, distinctions emerged regarding the literary quality of the spy novel. Prolific and sensational authors like William Le Queux and E. Phillips Oppenheim bashed out spy stories that were incredibly popular, but usually failed to impress the critics. In contrast, some writers attracted critical notice, and the espionage literature of Erskine Childers, John Buchan, and W. Somerset Maugham from this early period established the reputation on which later British spy fiction rests. Modern spy novelist Alan Furst “wrestled” out the expression “the literature of clandestine political conflict” to describe the better type of writing in the genre, settling on the term “literary espionage” for writers of quality such as Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene, and John le Carré. 8 A structural feature of the British spy story was its adoption and re-presentation of dominant class and national attitudes of the time. As David Stafford points out, “It quickly became established as a convention of the genre that there was a clear distinction between spies, who were foreign, and secret agents, who were British.” He continues: “The fictional British agent, in direct contrast with his foreign opponent, was and remained, despite his activities, quintessentially a gentleman.” This could be explained in terms of the historical context, for: This stereotyped figure developed in the late Victorian and more especially Edwardian period as a symbol of stability in response both to fundamental changes in the nature of Britain’s place within the international system and to processes within British society which were perceived as threatening important elements of the social status quo. 9



The English gentleman, forged in a culture of “muscular Christianity,” had the natural class attributes and breeding to equip him, without hesitancy or doubt, to confront the enemies of Empire abroad and to resist the subversive foreign ideas and influences that were beginning to circulate among the domestic working classes. In this sense, the elite heroes of early spy fiction served as guardians of the social hierarchy, and, in the stories, as Stafford observes, foreign danger and internal revolt thus coalesced in the conservative mind into a peril to the very fabric of society. The gentleman secret agent promised safety not just from foreigners but from basic threats to the social order. 10

The figure of the “gentleman adventurer” was recognizable from an earlier imperial fiction, and indeed the two forms overlapped in Kipling’s Kim (1901), which dealt with the adventures of a boy spy on the frontiers of the far-flung Empire. Importantly, this novel romanticized the concept of the “Great Game,” the imperial rivalry fought out between the British and Russian Empires in central Asia, and helped translate this idea into spy fiction wherein espionage and intrigue are formulated as a “great game” enacted by gentlemen players. Le Queux and his imitators gave us a long line of gentlemen spies and agents, for example, Duckworth Drew (Secrets of the Foreign Office, 1903), Jack Jardine (The Man from Downing Street, 1904), and Hugh Morrice (Revelations of the Secret Service, 1911). Of greater substance were the two gentlemen yachting enthusiasts of Childers’s The Riddle of the Sands (1903), the first true classic of espionage literature, and Richard Hannay, the archetype of the “accidental agent,” the gentleman cast unexpectedly into danger and rising magnificently to the challenge, who first appeared in Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915). The essentially amateur status of these wellbred heroes, unearthing German invasion plans in the former and thwarting an attempt by German agents to spirit secret naval plans out of the country in the latter, was a central component of the class and imperial myths rooted in the public-school ethos and the ideal of the English gentleman: an archetypal figure “trained for nothing, but ready for anything”; a man sure in his duty to King, Country, and Empire. The activity of spying was generally believed to be indecent and something that a gentleman shouldn’t do; the 19th-century spy Henri Le Caron remarked that he had often heard it said that “the thought of Secret Service is repugnant to the British heart,” and therefore writers had to construct a case for their heroes to act. The two gentlemen sailors of The Riddle of the Sands debate their right to serve England in any way necessary, and Julian Symons revealed how the tricky moral dilemma was generally resolved: “ʽThey’ are viewed as spies pursuing evil ends, while ‘We’ are



agents countering their wicked designs with good ones of our own.” 11 The action of the English secret agent in these fictions is defensive; he is simply called upon to protect English prestige and sovereignty from the aggression of rival nations and upstarts. The archetype of the amateur-gentleman remained dominant in spy fiction for a generation, exemplified by Hannay in further adventures such as Greenmantle (1916) and Mr. Steadfast (1919), writing which has been appreciated as bringing “new qualities to the thriller, qualities which may be thought to have raised it to a new excellence.” 12 The characterization was more boorish and brutish in the guise of “Bulldog” Drummond, a “convincing combination of athlete and philistine” as Patrick Howarth described him. 13 Drummond appeared in a series of yarns penned by “Sapper,” a “producer of blood and thunder” as Julian Symons viewed him, 14 and similar figures populated the stories of novelists like Valentine Williams, Francis Beeding, and Sydney Horler. Such patriotic gentlemen were the ideal type to stifle the ambitions of the sinister foreigner, whether “Swinish Hun,” various shades of “Oily Dago,” or “Fiendish Chink,” and a far from concealed xenophobia and antiSemitism was stock in trade for many of the writers whose approach remained popular into the 1930s. The novelist Colin Watson summarized the general style and popularity of action thrillers of this period: They depended for their appeal, which was much wider than that of detective stories, upon fast-moving events, exciting situations and colourful, not to say preposterous characterisation. Love interest was in order, so long as it did not hold up the action; and a descriptive purple patch or two might be interspersed between the fights and chases to convey exotic atmosphere.

As he admits, “There was something boyishly exuberant about these novels.” 15 An alternative if minor practice in espionage fiction emerged in the hands of the respected writers Joseph Conrad, G. K. Chesterton, and W. Somerset Maugham. The two Conrad novels The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale (1907) and Under Western Eyes (1911) and the Chesterton story The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (1908) developed out of the tradition of the novel of terror that began to appear in consequence of anarchist and nihilist outrages across Europe in the late 19th century. Revolutionary violence, radical nationalism, and subversive organizations dedicated to assassination were the subject of these novels, and such themes in the hands of Conrad and Chesterton became literary achievements; as such, the novels have attracted critical inquiry and respect well beyond that devoted to the routine spy novel of the period, with the possible exception of Buchan. The same is true of Maugham’s Ashenden; or, The British Secret Agent (1928), a collection of short tales featuring the eponymous secret agent and his wartime service in Swit-



zerland and revolutionary Russia. The despairing moral tone of these stories and their treatment of espionage as often routine, dull, and ineffective were in stark contrast to the adventurous romanticism of the mainstream. “After the easy, absurd assumptions made by Buchan, Sapper, and Oppenheim,” Symons observes, “the Ashenden stories have the reality of a cold bath.” 16 While offbeat if significant at their time of publication, these novels and stories, with their cool realism, would eventually have a profound influence on spy fiction in Britain. The Secret Agent and The Man Who Was Thursday would assume a renewed relevance and attract fresh critical inquiry in the 21st century amid the widespread concerns regarding global terror; and the Ashenden stories, with their moral and narrative realism and antiheroic vision, would serve as a crucial influence on later writers like John le Carré, who wished to jettison the romantic patriotism of the former tradition to explore themes of disillusionment and betrayal. The 1930s and World War II A significant new departure in the writing of spy fiction commenced in the later 1930s: a shift away from the “Buchaneering” adventure style of the previous generation to one of treachery and betrayal; from the naive to the sinister. As literary scholar Bernard Bergonzi suggested: Frontiers and spies, bombers and the threat of war, were facts of the age, a palpable part of public consciousness, in literature they occurred not only as signifiers of an external reality but also as metaphors and recurring formal constituents. 17

Following in the wake of the Great Depression and the rise of totalitarianism, there was a leftward political lurch in the spy novel in the hands of Eric Ambler and Graham Greene, and thus commenced, in the wake of Maugham and Ashenden, what has been called the “more complex tradition of secret agent adventure.” 18 Ambler established himself as a genre specialist with such novels as Epitaph of a Spy (1938) and Journey into Fear (1940), while Greene developed as a more considerable literary figure and produced occasional entertainments like The Confidential Agent (1939) and Ministry of Fear (1943), which ranked highly in terms of espionage literature and excellently served the author’s characteristic theme of moral ambivalence. The revisionism of Ambler involved a shift in the protagonist-hero to that of an ordinary chap, perhaps an engineer or photographer, who gets caught up in skullduggery and intrigue and in the process becoming a “victim-hero”, and distinct from what Ambler himself called “the early cloak-and-dagger stereotypes—the black-velveted seductress, the British Secret Service numbskull hero, the omnipotent spymaster.” 19 “Where the line of geopolitical sophisti-



cation crosses the line of literary entertainment” is how the American spy novelist Alan Furst neatly encapsulates the achievement of Ambler. 20 The literary scholar Eric Homberger notes the “change in paradigm” with regard to the spy thriller following the emergence of Ambler and Greene, in consequence of which “the politics of Buchan and ‘Sapper’ have been turned on their head: the baddies now are right-wingers, enemies of democracy.” 21 The spy fiction of Ambler-Greene in the 1930s and 1940s has been appreciated as reflecting the public’s anxiety about war, while at the same time critical of some aspects of traditional society, and for bringing the spy novel a long way toward respectability. Both authors continued to write influential spy fiction into the 1970s and have been appreciated as heirs to the more naturalistic approach pioneered by Maugham in the Ashenden stories, and in turn served as influences on that generation of espionage novelists that came to prominence in the 1960s—writers like le Carré and Len Deighton who further intensified the sense of authenticity in the spy story. During the 1930s, there was a general shift toward the writing of spy stories with the topical background of Nazism and fascism. This was the case with Bernard Newman (who also published under the name of Don Betteridge), a thriller writer who entered the espionage field in 1935 with Spy and followed with German Spy (1936) and Death under Gibraltar (1938); Michael Annesley with Room 14: A Secret Service Adventure (1935) and Fenton of the Foreign Service (1937); and the prolific John Creasey with Thunder in Europe (1936), Dangerous Journey (as Norman Deane, 1939), and Death on Demand (as Gordon Ashe, 1939). Such writers barely had to shift ground following the outbreak of war in 1939, with Newman contributing Secret Weapon and Death to the Fifth Column (both 1941) and Second Front—First Spy (1944) and Creasey with The Island of Peril and Death by Night (both 1940). World War II was a time when writers of detective fiction patriotically turned their detectives over to wartime espionage work, as in the case of Margery Allingham’s Inspector Campion in Traitor’s Purse (1941); Michael Innes’s Sir John Appleby in The Secret Vanguard (1940); Nicholas Blake with The Smiler with the Knife (1939), in which the wife of a famous gentleman detective is required to infiltrate a fascist organization seeking to undermine English democracy; and Leslie Charteris who put his “The Saint” character up against Nazi saboteurs and spy rings in such stories as The Saint Steps In (1943) and The Saint on Guard (1945). A thriller writer like Dennis Wheatley sent his established series character, the gentleman adventurer Gregory Sallust, on missions to continental Europe in Faked Passports (1940) and “V” for Vengeance (1942); and new genre specialists emerged such as Helen MacInnes, who concocted dangerous missions behind enemy lines in Above Suspicion (1941) and Assignment Brittany (1942), and Manning Coles, who published the semi-autobiographical World War I spy adventure Drink to Yesterday (1940) and the more contemporary They Tell No



Tales (1942). Even some writers established in other fields found the spy novel convenient for expressing their emergent social views in wartime, as was the case with J. B. Priestley and his Black-Out in Gretley (1942), or for reexamining the recent experience of World War II, as in Elizabeth Bowen’s The Heat of the Day (1948). Bring on James Bond Ambler and Greene remained important writers of espionage fiction in the 1950s, with novels such as Judgement on Deltchev (1951) and Our Man in Havana (1958). They were joined by new writers who had much material in the experience of the recent world war with its secret missions, double agents, and resistance movements (e.g., Gilbert Hackforth-Jones, Hammond Innes, and Alistair Maclean), and in the development of the Cold War, which intensified the sense of ideological struggle and commitment in the realm of espionage (e.g., William Haggard, Maurice Edelman, and Sarah Gainham). A long-running series of stories by Desmond Cory commenced in 1951 with Secret Ministry featuring the agent Johnny Fedora. The decade belonged, though, to Ian Fleming and his creation of the secret agent James Bond, described by Maurice Richardson, writing in the Observer in 1964, as “the most compulsive character in popular fiction since the war.” The series agent first appeared in Casino Royale (1953) and then regularly until The Man with the Golden Gun, which was published posthumously in 1965. Fleming’s spy stories, sometimes criticized for their poor writing and their perverse violence and sexuality, were a curious mix of traditional elements of the adventure-romance blended with characteristics of postwar modernity. Michael Denning refers to their “highly successful fusion of traditional themes of Empire and England with the images and spectacles of the consumer society,” 22 while Cawelti and Rosenberg stress that Bond is a “revitalization of the secret agent romance.” 23 Bond himself was something of a throwback to the “Bulldog” Drummond type of unreconstructed masculinity and class snobbery, an emphatically heroic stature bound to a nationalistic self-assurance, and was often pitted against the type of master criminal bent on world domination who would not have been out of place in a Sax Rohmer novel of two generations earlier. At the same time, “Bond seemed to have been most cunningly and industriously synthesized to combine all the qualities essential for a new-style, upto-the-minute, hyper-sexed, ready-made daydream secret-service hero.” 24 With his handmade cigarettes and taste for vintage wines, Bond was in the vanguard of a conspicuous consumption being made possible by an upsurge in affluence in the 1950s and a new emphasis on luxury and sex. He enjoyed a liberated Playboy-style sexuality without commitment, which was largely fresh to the genre and would prove immensely influential, while the series



observed a fetishistic regard to advanced technology with its cunning devices and gadgets put to the aid of the agent. The approach was also distinct in that secret agent 007 was a professional; he was an organization man within the limits that the rugged individualism demanded by the role allowed. He was loyal to his chief M and to the wider service, which at this stage hardly suffered from the self-doubts and betrayals that would be a feature of a later, cynical school of espionage writing. The fantasy world of James Bond, as intelligence historian Richard J. Aldrich notes, is reassuringly composed of a “fancifully resurgent Britannia escaping from impossible fixes,” and combines an escape from austerity “into a world of boundless consumer luxuries.” 25 A cultural phenomenon, James Bond is appreciated for the way in which the character resolved the prominent social conflicts of the mid-20th century. Cawelti and Rosenberg summarized the reassuring attributes of the secret agent: “He is an organization man who remains a determined individualist; he is cool and detached, yet committed to his country; he is a man of technology, yet capable of exercising the brute physical force of a primitive savage; he is a bureaucrat and a killer; he is sexually liberated but capable of romantic love; he is an affluent consumer, yet alienated from a corrupt and decadent materialistic society; he is something of a racist, yet he loves the exotic and is always involved with men and women of other races and cultures.” 26 Television reviewer James Green, acknowledging the way Bond smoothes contemporary anxieties and the appeal of the thrill-a-minute spy drama, alluded to “the Bond fantasy buried in most nine-to-five men.” 27 While the Fleming novels sold only moderately before the late 1950s, their translation to the screen, beginning with Dr. No in 1962, resulted in a cultural phenomenon and a considerable upsurge in sales of the books. The writing of espionage fiction in Britain, and elsewhere, underwent considerable change in the face of James Bond, and there was even greater general popularity of the spy novel; although admirers of Fleming, on his death in 1964, thought “the prospect of a Bondless future is bleak,” and there was concern regarding a “rush of imitations, most of which are certain to be as intolerably inferior as old rope to finest Persian hashish.” 28 Of course, many imitators of varying quality entered the market with their omni-competent espionage heroes, as in the case of James Leasor and his agent Dr. Jason Love who first appeared in Passport to Oblivion, James Mayo and his agent Charles Hood who first appeared in Hammerhead, and of James Munro and his agent James Craig who made his debut in The Man Who Sold Death (all 1964). Few critics could take James Bond seriously, and this approach was reflected in the writing of some comic spy stories that parodied the style and characters of the Fleming originals, evident in Peter O’Donnell’s re-gendering of the super agent in Modesty Blaise (1965); John Gardner’s antiheroic Boysie Oakes novels, which commenced with The Liquidator in 1964; and in the hip reformulations of Adam Diment’s The Dolly Dolly Spy (1967) and The Bang



Bang Birds (1968). The most important reaction to Fleming and his secret agent, though, was the emergence of the new-style espionage literature, which has been termed “anti-Bond.” This was a conscious effort to dispense with the fantasy elements, exotic locales, and conservative postures of novels such as Moonraker (1955) and Thunderball (1961) and to introduce a more despairing and critical tone to the stories. The Fleming originals have been understood as narratives of reassurance in a context of national decline and retreat from empire, while the anti-Bond dynamic was a more realistic response to Britain’s imperial and economic predicament in the post-Suez period, as well as a more complex moral treatment of the business of espionage in the face of a series of humiliating spy scandals in Britain, which cast the social and political elite in a damaging light. As such, they represent a critique of the certainties of the Fleming approach, being radical and critical of an authority that is presented as far from benevolent, a world of fumbling uncertainty, fluid allegiances, and only vague distinctions between the combatants straddling the ideological divide. Spy novelist and former intelligence officer John Bingham, a traditionalist, complained in 1966 of the new school of espionage literature, which seemed convinced that the Secret Service was either “staffed by murderous, powerful, double-crossing cynics” or “a collection of bumbling, broken-down layabouts.” 29 The New Realism The new “realistic school” of espionage writing emerged in the hands of Len Deighton and John le Carré and their novels The Ipcress File (1962) and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963). These had a profound commercial and critical impact, and their sophisticated, cynical, and mordant literary perspective, expressed through tales of treachery, manipulation, and betrayal, owed something to the antiromanticism of Maugham’s Ashenden stories of the late 1920s with their despondent and bleak atmosphere, as well as to the class antagonism of the literary Angry Young Men of late 1950s British culture. In the face of this writing, the gentleman adventurer, outside of fantasy narratives, could only be appreciated as an anachronism and a fitting figure for satire. Le Carré was a strong critic of James Bond and commented on the writing of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold as an unconscious reaction to Fleming: “I mean the world had been aware from its newspapers of this great grey army of cold warriors, of defectors, of spies, frontier crosses. And what had literature produced? This candy-floss image of a macho man, an Etonian, who really seemed not to have a moral doubt in his head.” 30 The emphasis in the new writing has been seen, instead, as focusing on “adventures of bureaucratic work in the secret states of ‘post-industrial’



capitalism” 31 ; and the threat shifted from external to internal enemies, the real danger located in “the secret conspiracies within the agent’s own organization.” 32 Accordingly, in a process in tune with the democratizing and counterestablishment mood of the 1960s, the traditional archetype began to be replaced, first by the post–World War II generation of grammar school–educated boys, as with the nameless spy in the Deighton series of novels, and later by genuinely working-class protagonists such as James Mitchell’s David Callan and Brian Freemantle’s Charlie Muffin, characters often in conflict with their social superiors and colleagues. The Deighton stories Funeral in Berlin (1964) and Billion Dollar Brain (1966), and the le Carré stories The Looking-Glass War (1965) and A Small Town in Germany (1968) remained at the forefront of this progressive style of espionage literature in the decade, works which were felt to “mirror the soul of the state” in the decades of the 1950s and 1960s. 33 The literate le Carré, in particular, was seen to offer a substantial critique of British society, stating in a 1976 interview that “the figure of the spy does seem to me to be almost infinitely capable of exploitation for purposes of articulating all sorts of submerged things in our society.” 34 Other important new writing included The Berlin Memorandum (1965), in which Adam Hall introduced his popular series agent Quiller, and The Naked Runner (1965) by Francis Clifford, both which developed the trend for more complex, reflective, and sophisticated spy stories. Occasionally, a major writer would explore the possibilities of the spy genre, as did Anthony Burgess in his superior Tremor of Intent in 1966. Biography and Literariness Two further traditions characterize British spy fiction. A particularly valued quality of British espionage stories has been the pronounced biographical dimension of the writing. Many novelists are former spies or had connections with British Intelligence; and this proximity to the subject matter lent an authority to the writing and posed critical questions regarding the mimetic credentials of the stories. W. Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, John le Carré, and Alan Judd, to take only some of the more acclaimed authors, served their country in a secret capacity and potentially wrote from a firsthand knowledge and experience of espionage. Greene, in a famous passage in which he draws a parallel between the author and the espionage agent, wrote: “I suppose . . . that every novelist has something in common with a spy; he watches, he overhears, he seeks motives and analyses character, and in his attempt to serve literature he is unscrupulous.” 35 There is also a discernible literariness in the British approach to writing spy fiction. This takes the form of a literary self-reflexivity on the one hand, and of a generic self-referentiality on the other. Maugham’s Ashenden stories



(1928), in which an author is asked to serve as an agent in World War I is an obvious case in point of a self-reflexive approach, as well as highly biographical. Greene’s Our Man in Havana (1958), in which a mild protagonist invents subagents so as to claim their salaries, and le Carré’s A Perfect Spy (1986), in which narrative and narration are complexly interwoven in the action of a double agent writing his memoirs, are other significant examples. In contrast, Anthony Burgess’s Tremor of Intent (1966) offers a playful generic self-consciousness with its submerged references to Fleming, Greene, and le Carré posed for the recognition of an informed reader. The most common form of generic referencing within British spy fiction is to offer a critical nod at James Bond, usually in the form of a character quip, an act intended to create some distance away from the more flamboyant and less plausible form of thriller. In earlier stories, the tendency was to reference “Bulldog” Drummond as the sine qua non of the two-fisted simplicity of the British agent. Even Fleming has resorted to the textual strategy of popular literary referencing, as when James Bond takes a copy of Eric Ambler’s The Mask of Dimitrios (1939) as his in-flight reading on his way to Istanbul in From Russia with Love (1957). Jeanne F. Bedell argued that “literary references and allusions reinforce the concept of a tradition in the genre, offer a sometimes playfully ironic commentary on our assumptions about espionage fiction, and enable authors to juxtapose past and present within one work.” This act of generic self-reflexivity “creates a bond between author and reader; they can smile at formulaic conventions and at the same time enjoy the excitement they provide.” 36 Such a dimension of literariness is an important factor in taking popular thrillers more seriously and a warning not to dismiss them too readily as “sub-literary.”

ESPIONAGE ON SCREEN The Early Period The spy drama on film and television in Britain was not prolific before 1960 but was statistically significant. Many of these productions were routine thrillers and only occasionally was a major filmmaker attracted to the material. The first spy film produced in Britain was Shooting a Boer Spy (1899), one of a series of faked Anglo-Boer War films produced by Robert Paul at the time. Other spy films in the early period include Frank Mottershaw’s Attack on a Japanese Convoy, Paul’s The Capture and Execution as Spies of Two Japanese Officers, and Crick’s and Sharp’s The Capture of a Russian Spy by the Japanese and Shooting a Russian Spy (all 1904 and staged during the Russo-Japanese War). The first films to depict spies operating on British soil were the London Cinematograph Company’s The Peril of



the Fleet and Cecil Hepworth’s The Spy (both 1909). The unsettling wave of nihilism, anarchism, and terrorism of the early part of the century found representation in such films as Kineto’s The Aerial Anarchists (1911), British and Colonial’s The Great Anarchist Mystery (1912), and even the comedy PC Nubbem and the Anarchists (1913). The silent period produced little that was substantial, although there was a predictable vogue for invasion, spy, and terrorist dramas in the period leading up to and including the early stages of World War I. This readily chimed with “spy menace” alarms that were being heralded in the popular press. Prewar examples include Charles Urban’s The Plans of the Fortress (1910), reckoned to be the first spy film to introduce the character of a British traitor; Clarendon’s The Secret Despatch (1912); popular series characters engaging foreign agents in Lieut. Rose and the Foreign Spy (1910) and Lieut. Daring RN and the Secret Service Agents (1911); and England’s Menace, released to great success on the eve of war in June 1914 by the London Film Company. A cycle of spy dramas was unleashed on the opening of hostilities, with at least one espionage picture being released every month in 1914, and film historian Rachel Low epitomized the flavor and characterizations of these films: German spies were represented as cads, with an habitual tendency to assault English girls; sly but fortunately extremely clumsy, they were kept busy tracking down numerous secret inventions and deadly explosives upon which the outcome of the war depended, while their honourable British Secret Service antagonists toiled to outwit them, thereby saving such items of national importance as troop trains, London’s water supply and even the Houses of Parliament. 37

The quickly produced films had such titles as The German Spy Peril, Guarding Britain’s Secrets, Britain’s Secret Treaty, and The Kaiser’s Spies (all 1914, the latter featuring the popular fictional detective Sexton Blake). One particularly interesting example was The Raid of 1915 (1914), which derived from William Le Queux’s famous novel The Invasion of 1910 published in 1906 and demonstrated the connection between the popular literature of the period and the production of spy dramas in the cinema. The trade paper Bioscope dismissed such pictures as the “usual orgy of ridiculous and impossible sensationalism,” and the cycle clearly drew inspiration from the many spy yarns that featured in the newspapers and magazines at the time. Following the first flush of panic and patriotism, the spy film settled down to a more restrained output and a calmer and more considered drama, as in the case of Cecil Hepworth’s The Man Who Stayed at Home (1915), an adaptation from the stage, and Broadwest’s A Munition Girl’s Romance (1916), in which espionage only played a part in a broader drama.



British producers in the 1920s turned regularly to writers of popular thrillers such as E. Phillips Oppenheim, Edgar Wallace, “Sapper,” and Sax Rohmer for stories and characters to film, and some of these touched on the themes of international intrigue and threats to national security. During 1923–24, the Stoll Company released a series of short dramas featuring Rohmer’s master criminal Dr. Fu-Manchu starring H. Agar Lyons, with Fred Paul as Nayland Smith, the government agent who opposes the evil genius. Two films were released featuring the popular character of “Bulldog” Drummond, an eponymously titled Anglo-Dutch coproduction of 1923 featuring Carlyle Blackwell as the hero, and the more substantial Bulldog Drummond’s Third Round (1925) starring Jack Buchanan. The first film version of Wallace’s hugely popular The Four Just Men appeared in 1921, produced at Stoll, and later in the decade a new company was founded, British Lion, which held the rights to Wallace’s works and produced such mystery thrillers as The Ringer and The Man Who Changed His Name (both 1928) and The Clue of the New Pin (1929). Surprisingly, John Buchan was little filmed in the period, although there was a modest version of Huntingtower produced at Welsh-Pearson in 1928. An altogether more serious production was Herbert Wilcox’s Dawn, filmed toward the end of the silent period in 1928, chronicling the true story of Nurse Edith Cavell who was shot by the Germans in Belgium in 1915 for spying. A small group of films were produced in response to the Bolshevik assumption of power in Russia in 1917 and the declaration of worldwide communist revolution. The Flight Commander (1928) was a silent picture that dealt with the Soviet threat to British interests in China, while the sound productions Forbidden Territory (1934, from the novel by Dennis Wheatley) and Knight without Armour (1937, from the novel by James Hilton) were conservative responses to the international situation and featured British heroes dealing with injustice deep inside Russia. The now forgotten The Crooked Billet, directed by Adrian Brunel and produced at Gainsborough in 1929, is at least of historical importance, being produced in both silent and sound versions, giving it the distinction of being both the last silent spy film and the first sound spy film in Britain. Into War and Peace The return of European tensions in the 1930s provided a rationale for out and out espionage dramas and the appearance of several memorable pictures, capitalizing, as Marcia Landy expressed it, “on an atmosphere of uncertainty, paranoia, and physical and verbal belligerence.” 38 One of the first of these was Rome Express (1932) produced at Gaumont-British, which starred the German actor Conrad Veidt and featured a thrilling continental train-bound drama that would be imitated by such later pictures as Night Train to Munich (1940) and Sleeping Car to Trieste (1948). Veidt found regular employment



in spy pictures in the British cinema of the decade, playing in Dark Victory (1937), The Spy in Black (1939), and Contraband (1940). Another significant production set during the Great War was Victor Saville’s I Was a Spy (1933), based on the true exploits of Marthe Cnockaert, a Belgian who spied for the Allies before her arrest and imprisonment by the Germans in World War I. Historical settings were occasionally provided for spy dramas as in the classic The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934) and Spy of Napoleon (1935). While espionage never became a regular feature of the costume film, the Pimpernel, revisited in 1937 and 1950, was updated as the successful wartime propaganda feature Pimpernel Smith (1941), in which the famous protector of the innocent worked secretly in Germany to save victims of Nazi oppression. By far the most important contribution to the spy film in the cinema came with Alfred Hitchcock. His famous series of thrillers produced at GaumontBritish in the mid-to-late 1930s established the gold standard for this type of action film and attracted favorable critical attention, which had previously ignored the genre. As Alan Booth observed regarding Hitchcock: No film director has ever produced more first-quality spy films, many of which have become classics; none has consistently filmed better quality screenplays or introduced more plot devices to draw the viewer into his films and to heighten and sustain audience tension. 39

Of the six thrillers, five were espionage dramas and each of these was derived from a well-known literary source. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) started life as an original “Bulldog” Drummond story, The 39 Steps (1935) was from the famous John Buchan novel, Secret Agent (1936) was from Maugham’s Ashenden stories, Sabotage (1936) was based on the Conrad novel The Secret Agent, and The Lady Vanishes (1938) was from the popular mystery The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White. There would remain a close relationship between spy screen and spy literature in the British experience, especially in regard to the leading film and television productions, which, with a few exceptions, have been adaptations of the more commercially promising writing or the most critically acclaimed novels. This is not to say that Hitchcock did not achieve something entirely cinematic with his pictures, but to make the necessary acknowledgment that the filmmaker absorbed and re-articulated qualities established in popular literature and consciously observed a tradition while translating well-known stories to the screen. In their turn, his films have been greatly influential on the spy drama in Britain and elsewhere, as, indeed, have his later espionage thrillers made in Hollywood, pictures such as Foreign Correspondent (U.S., 1940), Notorious (U.S., 1946), and North by Northwest (U.S., 1959). Some of the most successful elements that we associate with the Hitchcock thriller were already stock in trade for John Buchan writing a generation earlier. Hitch-



cock’s brilliance was to give these fundamentals visual form and imbue them with his own characteristic concerns with gender and sexuality. The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps, and The Lady Vanishes were generally the most successful, offering as they did quick-paced narratives featuring heroes by accident, while The Secret Agent and Sabotage were centered on a different literary tradition that dealt with the world of professional agents, and the films reflected some of the bleakness of the originals. As British society geared up for war in 1938–39, a spate of spy films was released into cinemas reflecting the contemporary anxiety regarding national security. Titles included The Last Barricade and Anything to Declare? (both 1938) and Q Planes, Secret Journey, and An Englishman’s Home (all 1939). Strange Boarders (1938), in which intelligence man Tommy Blythe interrupts his honeymoon to investigate the discovery of vital Air Ministry blueprints on a woman killed in a road accident, was taken from a novel by the veteran writer of spy fiction E. Phillips Oppenheim. The wartime period inevitably saw the production of a variety of pictures that dealt with missions behind enemy lines, the activities of resistance groups, counterespionage measures, and other aspects of the secret war. Representative examples are Cottage to Let (1941), The Day Will Dawn (1942), Squadron Leader X (1942), The Yellow Canary (1943), Hotel Reserve (1944, from Eric Ambler’s Epitaph for a Spy), and The Man from Morocco (1945). The films dealing with the secret war demonstrated national vigilance, ingenuity, and preparedness at a time of acute anxiety regarding the safety of the realm. They, therefore, served as a welcome reassurance for audiences and began to decline in number in the later period of the war when victory was becoming more certain. An exceptional production was Ealing Studios’ The Next of Kin (1942), which dramatized the propaganda theme of “Careless Talk Costs Lives’”and the need for constant vigilance. A controversial picture, the film illustrates how loose talk can aid the enemy, and potential blame is evenly distributed throughout society. While thought to be defeatist in some quarters, the film was a critical and popular success. The postwar years were witness to a number of pictures that revealed and celebrated aspects of the ‘secret war.” School for Secrets (1946) celebrated the work of wartime “boffins,” especially in the crucial task of perfecting radar, while the activities of the Special Operations Executive were featured in Against the Wind (1948), Odette (1950), and Carve Her Name with Pride (1958), the latter two films praising the remarkable heroism of female agents who served behind enemy lines. Successful deception operations against the Germans were dramatized in The Man Who Never Was (1956) and I Was Monty’s Double (1958). Mainly popular and successful pictures, these productions were part of a broader cycle of war films in the 1950s that has been appreciated as a nostalgic return to the wartime years. While such films



served as a form of reassurance, a more anxious response to the decade was evident in contemporary spy thrillers that were framed by the Cold War, the threat of subversion, and the possibility of nuclear annihilation. There was a variety of responses within the British film industry to the convulsions of the Cold War. Most visible was the adaptation of the classic literature of the ideological conflict, in the form of George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1954, made with American Central Intelligence Agency support) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (film 1956 as 1984, TV 1954). While a picture such as Seven Days to Noon (1950) dealt with the moral issues and widespread fears centering on atomic science, a more overt treatment of espionage was evident in another group of films. The shrillest response to fears of a fifth column of communist agents working in Britain to undermine democracy was High Treason (1951), which featured a gallery of malcontents and debased types from all stations in British society engaged in sabotage. Generally, British cinema did not produce a cycle of paranoid films as had appeared in Hollywood under the sway of McCarthyism, although Conspirator (1949), made by MGM in Britain and dealing with a Guards Officer trading secrets with an unidentified enemy, can be appreciated in this light and starred the arch anticommunist Robert Taylor. More typical were films that featured intrepid Britons tackling injustice or securing secrets behind the Iron Curtain. Among the first of these was State Secret (1950), which had an American surgeon (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) lured to a totalitarian state to operate on an ailing dictator. When the leader dies, the innocent doctor is forced to flee to save his own life. Highly Dangerous (1950) was unusual in that it had a female protagonist (played by Margaret Lockwood), a scientist who is persuaded to go to the Balkans to investigate reports concerning biological warfare experiments. The film is now chiefly important for its original script by the master spy writer Eric Ambler. These two films served to construct for audiences the image of oppression, distrust, and secrecy, which characterized societies in Eastern Europe. Occasionally, a leading filmmaker turned his hand to the espionage drama or political thriller and films of quality emerged in the form of Carol Reed’s The Man Between (1953) and Our Man in Havana (1959, from the satirical novel by Graham Greene), Thorold Dickinson’s Secret People (1952), and Peter Glenville’s The Prisoner (1955). More common, though, were the rash of spy thrillers produced as second features, with titles such as Deadly Nightshade (1953), Little Red Monkey and They Can’t Hang Me (both 1955), Cloak without Dagger (1956), The Secret Man (1958), and Sentenced for Life (1960). Most of these were dully routine and aimed at undemanding audiences who still enjoyed a whole evening’s entertainment at the cinema. A more interesting example of this type of picture was Suspect (1960), produced and directed by John and Roy Boulting as a conscious effort to raise the quality of the B-film. The picture, from a novel by Nigel Balchin, dealt with a plot to publish secret



research into germ warfare and was more literate than the average lowbudget thriller. The competition for scientific supremacy between East and West, especially as it affected military capability and threat, was a standard theme in the fictions of the Cold War, and the figure of the traitorous, defecting, or duped scientist was a common character. The early period of the television drama in Britain in the 1950s also came to some accommodation with the spy thriller, although espionage was nowhere as popular in the production schedules as the contemporary police drama and series such as Fabian of Scotland Yard (BBC, 1954–56), Colonel March of Scotland Yard (ITV, 1956), Dixon of Dock Green (BBC, 1955–76), The Vise (ITV, 1954–61), and Dial 999 (ITV, 1958–59). Although it is difficult to assess programs from this period as the majority are lost, the fledgling service mounted a handful of prestige espionage drama serials as with the six-part adaptations of Epitaph for a Spy (BBC, 1953) and The Schirmer Inheritance (ITV, 1957), both from Eric Ambler. Classics such as The Scarlet Pimpernel (BBC, 1950 and 1955, and ITV, 1955–56) were also obvious choices for television producers. Recent history was treated in several drama series that centered on the experience of espionage in World War II. Man Trap and Secret Mission (both ITV, 1956) dramatized true stories of wartime espionage, while the Anglo-American series O.S.S. (ITV, 1957), dealt with the wartime American Office of Strategic Services and various cloak-and-dagger escapades on the continent. Spycatcher (BBC, 1959–61) was based on the published exploits of Lieutenant Colonel Oreste Pinto of counterintelligence whose job was to prevent the infiltration of Britain by enemy spies. At the very end of the decade, ITC produced an updated adaptation of Edgar Wallace’s warhorse The Four Just Men, which commenced its broadcast early in 1960 and which featured a quartet of wartime buddies, a Briton, two Americans, and an Italian, banding together to combat injustice and international intrigue in various picturesque locales around Europe. The series was possibly the first multinational lead show designed to sell to an international market, a strategy that would be greatly extended in the 1960s. From a modest beginning in the 1950s, the treatment of espionage on British television would progress considerably in the following decade, given the expansion of the service, more generous budgets, and significant cultural developments in literature and film, which began to position the fictional secret agent as an iconic figure of the 1960s. Spies with Style The modest spy thriller of the late 1950s remained typical for the British film industry as it entered the new decade of the 1960s. Titles included Circle of Deception (1960), Shoot to Kill (1961), The Traitors (1962), Master Spy



(1963), and Hide and Seek and Shadow of Treason (both 1964), and few of these impressed critics or audiences. However, for popular culture in the 1960s, James Bond was the “man of the decade,” and the iconic super agent of commercial fiction made his first screen appearance in Dr. No in October 1962. Each new Bond film of the first half of the 1960s, From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), and Thunderball (1965) was more expensive, spectacular, and commercially successful, to such an extent that critics and observers began to talk of a cultural phenomenon. The popularity of the James Bond films created a cycle of spy thrillers in the cinema, and a French commentator on the movie scene early in 1965 warned in the trade paper Kine Weekly of a possible “avalanche of spy stories,” the likely rejection of realism, and the adoption of a “strip-cartoon technique.” The films divide into imitators and parodies, and for Kevin J. Hagopian, “it is clear that Bond plagiarism and Bond spoofery together constituted a major thrust of the English language popular cinema of the years 1962–1971.” 40 The analogues included Licence to Kill (1965), Where the Bullets Fly (1966), Danger Route (1967), and Hammerhead (1968), while the comedies and parodies number Carry On Spying and Hot Enough for June (both 1964), The Spy with the Cold Nose (1966), and Fathom (1967). The film adaptations of Len Deighton and John le Carré, which included The Ipcress File (1965) and Funeral in Berlin, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and The Deadly Affair (all 1966), drew on their literary originals and pursued an alternative, darker, and perhaps more realistic engagement with espionage, and perpetuated the sense of anti-Bond of their literary originals; such important adaptations also include The Quiller Memorandum (1966). By the later 1960s, any critical enthusiasm for spy pictures was wearing thin. David Austin, reviewing in Films and Filming in June 1968, wearily noted: “Secret agents, active in the field, have overstayed their welcome. They know it too. Some, like A Dandy in Aspic, are tired and cold and just want to go home; others, like those clowns from UNCLE, struggle lamely on after even their scriptwriters seem to have deserted them.” Ian Wright, reviewing in the Guardian in April 1968, noted of the spy film that “it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make anything memorable in this genre,” while David Austen, reviewing in Films and Filming, lamented of a genre “exhausted by repetition and misuse.” Spy pictures and capers such as The Man Outside, The Limbo Line, Salt and Pepper, and Nobody Runs Forever (all 1968), and Catch Me a Spy, Man of Violence, and When Eight Bells Toll (all 1971), created little stir with critics or audiences. The cycle of spy films began to lose steam in the early 1970s, and only the odd picture, such as John Huston’s creditable The Mackintosh Man (1973), and crude parodies, such as Lindsay Shonteff’s No. 1 of the Secret Service (1977) and Licenced to Love and Kill (1979), turned up in the cinema schedules. The small screen remained more loyal to the spy thriller throughout this period.



The 1960s kicked off on television with Danger Man (ITC, 1960–61, 1964–66), the first of the cosmopolitan, modern, spy adventure series in which exotic locales and ingenious gadgets were integral to the narrative pleasures, and the show proved to be greatly popular and influential. The agent John Drake was played by the intense Patrick McGoohan, and the character was distinguished in the genre by having high moral standards with regard to promiscuity and violence. The Avengers (ABC, 1961–69), although starting low key, eventually modified its approach to one characteristic of the swinging mid-1960s, and its colorful, permissive fantasy distinguished it from its rival Danger Man. Another popular offering was the lighthearted adventure series Top Secret, which ran for two seasons and 26 episodes on the commercial channel in 1961 and 1962 and starred William Franklyn as the agent Peter Dallas. The undemanding show was quite popular with the reviewer in the Guardian, who found it “a quick and ingenious thriller, with clever dialogue,” “an unusually entertaining and amusing experience.” More ambitious was the Anglo-American series Espionage (ATV, 1963), which comprised 24 individual dramas, both historical and contemporary. By the middle 1960s, commentators on the cinema and television were beginning to talk of “spy mania,” and 1965 was a busy year for spies on the British small screen with the appearance of the series Contract to Kill (BBC; a former secret agent turned detective is on the trail of ex-Nazis), An Enemy of the State (BBC; an electrical engineer travels to Moscow on business and ends up on trial for his life when he is accused of espionage), and The Mask of Janus (BBC; a thriller set among the British, American, and communist espionage communities in a fictional European country). The cycle of spy dramas continued in 1966 with The Spies (BBC, a spin-off series from The Mask of Janus) and The Rat Catchers (ITV, a British counterintelligence unit). The latter was a “tough” drama and offered as a reaction to such fanciful spy adventures series as The Avengers, it being felt “that the days of the ‘kinky’ secret agent stories were numbered and that audiences would soon only respond to stories that, though still exciting, were reasonably within the realms of possibility.” 41 Most of these shows are missing and believed lost. The Prisoner (ITC, 1967), starring Patrick McGoohan, was exceptional and controversial—a paranoid, pop-art concoction that caught the public imagination and established itself as a cult artifact. The 1970s were something of a golden decade for spies and secret agents on British television. The benchmark was set by the extremely popular and highly regarded Callan, which starred the respected Edward Woodward as a reluctant working-class agent coerced into serving a covert section of British Security. The drama broadcast on the commercial channel originated as a single play drama in 1967 and was then developed into four series running between 1967 and 1972. Rival series included Special Branch (Thames TV, 1969–74) and Spy Trap (BBC, 1972–75), which also managed some intelli-



gent drama, and later in the decade The Sandbaggers (Yorkshire TV, 1978–80), which has latterly attracted particular acclaim. The decade was crowned with the landmark television dramatization of le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (BBC, 1979), one of the most acclaimed television serializations of all time. The period also saw an impressive string of films traiteurs. The important television dramatist Dennis Potter authored Traitor (BBC, 1971) and Blade on the Feather (LWT TV, 1980), two single plays that, inspired by the infamy of the Cambridge Spies, examined class and treachery. Philby, Burgess & Maclean (Granada TV, 1977) and Atom Spies (Anglia TV, 1979) were other notable dramas in this vein and were followed by the film version of the stage drama Another Country (1984). The 1980s continued to see spy series and espionage dramas on British television. Notable among these were An Englishman Abroad (BBC, 1983) by the dramatist Alan Bennett, the le Carré adaptations Smiley’s People (BBC, 1982) and A Perfect Spy (BBC, 1987); the series Mr. Palfrey of Westminster (Thames TV, 1984–85); the related BBC serials Blood Money (1981), Skorpion (1983), and Cold Warrior (1984); the ambitious Game, Set and Match serial (Granada TV, 1988) adapted from Len Deighton; the popular historical serial Reilly—Ace of Spies (Thames TV, 1983); and the historical serial Wynne and Penkovsky (BBC, 1985). The emerging talent of Stephen Poliakoff turned his hand to original television drama with the single play Soft Targets (BBC 1982) and the conspiracy thriller Hidden City (Channel 4 Films, 1987). Of particular note, though, was the “secret state” thriller, a dramatic form expressing the political and cultural anxieties of the time, and not least the critical attitude to the security and intelligence services that had been building since the 1960s. The unusual drama series The Ωmega Factor (BBC, 1979), which dealt with espionage, the paranormal, and sinister organizations involved in mind control, exhibited the kind of paranoia that would come to feature in the conspiracy thrillers of the coming decade. “Secret state” thrillers adapted from literary sources include the single drama In the Secret State (BBC, 1985), and the serials Spyship (BBC, 1983) and A Very British Coup (Channel 4, 1988), while original television dramas include the highly acclaimed serial Edge of Darkness (BBC, 1985) and the two series of Bird of Prey (BBC, 1982 and 1984). Motion pictures of this type included Defence of the Realm (1985) and The Whistle Blower (1986), the latter adapted from the novel by John Hale. Contemporary Spy Fiction Writing in 1972, the novelist and critic Julian Symons felt that the spy story was likely to decline in face of apparent exhaustion, of both writers and readers, following the efforts of Fleming, Deighton, le Carré, and many others. In fact, scores of new spy authors joined the fray, notables being Ted



Allbeury, Joseph Hone, and Anthony Price, and these were complemented by an upsurge in thrillers more generally, influenced by the extraordinary success of writers like Alistair Maclean and Frederick Forsyth, especially the latter’s The Day of the Jackal (1971), the first in a new style of documentary thriller that posed elaborate secret histories. There have been further claims for the death or decline of the spy novel. Rausch and Rausch, writing in the late 1970s, echo Symons and complain of an “overworked genre” and the expectation of a “falling off in the number and quality of espionage novels in the years immediately ahead.” 42 However, the predictions have proved false, and the spy novel has resolutely refused to disappear. Perhaps, as the critic Philip Hensher recently claimed in the Spectator, “The spy novel is an essential literary genre of our present imagination and as such is unlikely to go away and will continue to attract talented and thoughtful writers.” The period of glasnost and then the end of the Cold War in 1989 seemed to remove a fundamental rationale of the modern spy story, and in a wider sense the need for expensive, large-scale intelligence organizations, which in America and Britain had attracted increasing criticism during the 1970s. Counterintuitively, the Tony Blair administration of 1997–2003 expanded the intelligence service faster than any British government since World War II. The impetus increased following the threat of terrorism that emerged in a more extensive form following the attack on the Twin Towers in New York in 2001 and on London in 2005, and the resulting shifts to what have been variously termed the “security state,” the “surveillance state,” and the “protective state” has provided the context for a new spate of Anglo-American thrillers in which security services counter global terrorist organizations, or, conversely, individuals counter the abuses against traditional freedoms perpetrated by overzealous security services. The critic Mark Lawson, writing in the Guardian, referred to this trend as the “evolutionary” spy stories. There has also been a notable nostalgia in the writing of contemporary spy fiction, a rejection of the “chaotic present” as Brooke Allen recently expressed in the New Criterion, with many authors exploring the recent history of World War II and the Cold War in their espionage stories. In Britain, leading writers of this school are Charles Cumming (Trinity Six, 2011), David Downing (Silesian Station, 2008), and John Lawton (Blackout, 1995), while the foremost American practitioner is Alan Furst (The Polish Officer, 1995), who, in fact, has spent much time in Europe and writes about the intrigues leading up to World War II and during the early wartime period before any American involvement. Mark Lawson referred to these as the “museum” group of contemporary spy stories. The lasting relevance of spy fiction is also evidenced in the fact that front rank authors continue to turn their hand to espionage literature, often with a historical theme, as with William Boyd and Restless (2006) and Solo (2013, a James Bond story), Sebastian Faulks and Charlotte Grey (1998) and Devil



May Care (2008, a James Bond story), John Banville and The Untouchable (1997), Ian McEwan and The Innocent (1990) and Sweet Tooth (2012), and Jonathan Coe and Expo 58 (2013). The spy story and its sister genres of conspiracy and terrorist thrillers remain relevant in the contemporary period. It is instructive to appreciate the shift in focus of the most established and acclaimed of all living espionage novelists, John le Carré, who responded to glasnost in The Russia House (1989), and has since begun to examine the worlds of the secret arms trade in The Night Manager (1993), modern corporate corruption and conspiracy in The Constant Gardener (2000), and the new terrorism in A Most Wanted Man (2008). Questioned at the time of drastic change at the end of the 1980s, le Carré, reassuringly for consumers of espionage fiction, predicted that “so long as there are nation states, trade competition and statesmen who do not quite tell the truth, spying will go on.” 43 There is now a considerable overlap in the fields of the modern thriller, in which espionage constitutes a greater or lesser element, and in which the complex moral issues and political intangibles of the contemporary world can be explored. The Recent Spy Screen Spy thrillers and espionage dramas have continued to appear on television and occasionally in the cinema. Recent television adaptations of popular novels have included Alan Judd’s Legacy (BBC, 2013), William Boyd’s Restless (BBC, 2012), and the American Alan Furst’s The Spies of Warsaw (ITV, 2013). In the cinema, there have been big screen adaptations of John le Carré’s classic Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), and a movie version of Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) from the comic book by Mark Millar. Original screen drama has included the television Worricker Trilogy (BBC, 2011–14) from David Hare, the television historical drama serial Cambridge Spies (BBC, 2003), the two Johnny English spoof feature films (2003 and 2011), and the television drama serial The Game (BBC, 2014). First-rate conspiracy thrillers have included State of Play (BBC, 2003), The Last Enemy (BBC, 2008), and Secret State (Channel 4, 2012). The television spy thriller has been brought into the 21st century by the very popular series Spooks (BBC, 2002–11), which pits the counterespionage MI5 against the panoply of contemporary threats, ranging from terrorism, crime lords, and political conspiracies. The long-running drama series has recently been adapted for the cinema as Spooks: The Greater Good (2015). The most successful secret agent narratives of recent times have been the new James Bond films starring Daniel Craig: Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008), and Skyfall (2012) have been among the most successful titles in the astonishingly lucrative series, confirming 007 as a British icon for the contemporary generation.



A fundamental critical concern regarding spy fiction has been the apparent contrast between the “romantic” and the “realistic” schools, or as Laura Miller more colorfully expressed the distinction in the New York Times Book Review, “the preposterous and the disillusioned,” and the genre in its development has oscillated between the two poles. In the beginning there was Le Queux to place alongside Childers; the heroic school of the World War I period eventually gave way to the verisimilitude and commitment of Ambler and Greene and swung back again toward fantasy fulfillment and the simpler formula under the influence of Ian Fleming and his popular creation, James Bond. This was countered when the spy story reassumed a literary direction in the hands of John le Carré and attention focused on the new realism of the spy story. This cycle of adjustment, reaction, and rejection has characterized the writing and consumption of espionage fiction in Britain and continues to shape the production and appreciation of thrillers of terrorism and the meticulously researched historical spy novel of the present times. The history of the spy genre thus reveals a “typology of alternating modes,” as Wesley Wark puts it, “in which the thrill of the adventurous romance vies for command with the politically charged narrative of societal danger,” 44 and a sense of realism, through narrative construction, authorial biography, and reader strategies, occupies a crucial critical importance.

NOTES 1. Myron J. Smith Jr. and Terry White, eds., Cloak and Dagger Fiction: An Annotated Guide to Spy Thrillers, 3rd ed. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995), 655. 2. Thomas J. Price, “Popular Perceptions of an Ally: ‘The Special Relationship’ in the British Spy Novel,” Journal of Popular Culture 28, no. 2 (1994): 55. 3. David Skene Melvin, “The Secret Eye: The Spy in Literature: The Evolution of Espionage Literature—a Survey of the History and Development of the Spy and Espionage Novel,” Pacific Quarterly 3 (1978): 15. 4. Julian Petley, “A Very British Coup,” Monthly Film Bulletin 57, no. 2 (Spring 1988): 95. 5. Christopher R. Moran, “The Pursuit of Intelligence History: Methods, Sources, and Trajectories in the United Kingdom,” Studies in Intelligence 55, no. 2 (Extracts, June 2011): 33–55. 6. John G. Cawelti and Bruce A. Rosenberg, The Spy Story (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 2, 9, 25. 7. Christopher R. Moran and Robert Johnson, “In the Service of Empire: Imperialism and the British Spy Thriller 1901–1914,” Studies in Intelligence 54, no. 2 (June 2010): 1. 8. , Alan Furst, ed., The Book of Spies: An Anthology of Literary Espionage (New York: Modern Library, 2003), viii. 9. David A. T. Stafford, “Spies and Gentlemen: The Birth of the British Spy Novel, 1893–1914,” Victorian Studies 24, no. 4 (Summer 1981): 491. 10. David Stafford, The Silent Game: The Real World of Imaginary Spies (London: Viking, 1988), 46.



11. Julian Symons, Mortal Consequences: A History—from the Detective Story to the Crime Novel (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), 234. 12. Patrick Howarth, Play Up and Play the Game: The Heroes of Popular Culture (London: Eyre Methuen, 1973), 142. 13. Ibid., 153. 14. Symons, Mortal Consequences, 236. 15. Colin Watson, Snobbery with Violence: Crime Stories and Their Audience (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1971), 113. 16. Symons, Mortal Consequences, 237. 17. Bernard Bergonzi, Reading the Thirties (London: Macmillan, 1978), 76. 18. Cawelti and Rosenberg, The Spy Story, 19. 19. Eric Ambler, To Catch a Spy: An Anthology of Favourite Spy Stories (London: Fontana, 1974), 15. 20. Furst, ed., The Book of Spies, 3. 21. Eric Homberger, “English Spy Thrillers in the Age of Appeasement,” in Spy Fiction, Spy Films and Real Intelligence, ed. Wesley K. Wark (Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 1991), 88. 22. Michael Denning, Cover Stories: Narrative and Ideology in the British Spy Thriller (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987), 5–6. 23. Cawelti and Rosenberg, The Spy Story, 143. 24. Maurice Richardson, “Requiem for Bond,” Observer, 16 August 1964. 25. Richard J. Aldrich, “The Secret State,” in Blackwell’s Companion to Contemporary Britain, 1939–2000, ed. Harriet Jones and Keith Middlemas (Oxford: Blackwell, 2009), 335. 26. Cawelti and Rosenberg, The Spy Story, 154. 27. Evening News, 12 September 1973. 28. Richardson, “Requiem for Bond.” 29. John Bingham, foreword to The Double Agent (London: Panther, 1970), 5. 30. Quoted in Anthony Masters, Literary Agents: The Novelist as Spy (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987), 243. 31. Denning, Cover Stories, 6. 32. Cawelti and Rosenberg, The Spy Story, 54. 33. Wesley K. Wark, “Introduction: Fictions of History,” Intelligence and National Security 5, no. 4 (1990): 7. 34. Quoted in Lars Sauerberg, Secret Agents in Fiction: Ian Fleming, John Le Carré and Len Deighton (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1984), 13. 35. Quoted in Masters, Literary Agents, 118. 36. Jeanne F. Bedell, “Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden and the Modernization of Espionage Fiction,” Studies in Popular Culture 7 (1984): 44, 45. 37. Rachel Low, The History of the British Film 1914–1918 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1950), 178. 38. Marcia Landy, British Genres: Cinema and Society, 1930–1960 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991), 124. 39. Alan R. Booth, “The Development of the Espionage Film,” Intelligence and National Security 5, no. 4 (1990): 140. 40. Kevin Hagopian, “Flint and Satyriasis: The Bond Parodies of the 1960s,” in Secret Agents: Popular Icons beyond James Bond, ed. Jeremy Packer (Bern: Peter Lang, 2009), 26. 41. Cyril Coke, “First, Catch Your Spy,” Journal of the Society of Film and Television Arts 24 (1966): 3. 42. G. Jay Rausch and Diane K. Rausch, “Developments in Espionage Fiction,” reprinted in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism 50, ed. Laurie D. Mauro (Detroit: Gale Research, 1993), 99. 43. Quoted in Wark, “Introduction: Fictions of History,” 9.



44. Wark, “Introduction: Fictions of History,” 7.

A THE ALAMUT AMBUSH. See CHESSGAME. ALLBEURY, TED (1917–2005). Novelist. Theodore Edward Le Bouthillier Allbeury was born in Stockport, Cheshire, and educated at King Edward’s Grammar School, Aston, Birmingham. He served as a Special Operations Executive intelligence officer from 1940 to 1947, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel having served in Ethiopia, Italy, and Germany. During the early Cold War, Allbeury ran agents across the border into East Germany and was captured by the Russians. As a lesson to others, they left him nailed to a table. Later in life, Allbeury had to endure a personal tragedy when his fouryear-old daughter was carried off by her aggrieved mother and remained missing for some years. After his work in intelligence, he ran an advertising agency and managed a pirate radio station. Allbeury came to writing spy novels late in life; his first story, A Choice of Enemies, was published in 1972 when he was 55 years old. Partly based on Allbeury’s wartime experiences with the Allied military government in occupied Germany, it was well received in both Great Britain and the United States, and Allbeury went on to become one of the most productive and respected writers of spy fiction throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, blending the requisite excitement and thrills with the more intelligent aspects of espionage. He followed in the footsteps of John le Carré and Len Deighton and dealt with the moral and human complexities of clandestine activity. The author stated that he likes writing about people, their problems, and their relationships and, consequently, writes novels “that just happen to have espionage as their setting.” Allbeury’s best stories deal with the past; some of these, such as The Lantern Network (1978) and As Time Goes By (1994), are set in wartime and clearly benefit from the author’s firsthand experience. Some deal with characters whose covert pasts catch up with them as in A Choice of Enemies, while others such as Snowball (1974), The Other Side of Silence (1981), and Pay Any Price (1983) deal with modern agents who have to confront terrible truths hidden in history.



AMBLER, ERIC (1909–1998)

Allbeury wrote over 40 spy novels, and his books were among those most borrowed from public libraries in Britain. His stories are memorable for their emphasis on character and for their sometimes very human agents. Commenting on his craft, Allbeury once revealed: “My inclinations have been to stick to what I know. . . . Anyone can mug up on the KGB’s weapons or the CIA’s methods, but only someone who has done it knows what it feels like to arrest a man, to shoot a man, assess a deadly opponent, chase and be chased.” For the quality of his tales Allbeury has been respectfully called “the spystory writer’s spy-story writer.” The author also wrote thrillers under the names of Patrick Kelly and Richard Butler, and his novels have been published in 23 languages, including Russian. See also ESPIONAGE STORY; HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; SPY AS NOVELIST. AMBLER, ERIC (1909–1998). Novelist and scriptwriter. Ambler was born in Charlton, southeast London, and brought up in a family of aspiring music hall entertainers. He was awarded scholarships to attend the local Colfe’s Grammar School and to study engineering in London. Joining the Edison Swan Electric Company in 1926, Ambler trained in various aspects of engineering. He later switched to publicity. A natural writer, he excelled at a copywriting job with an advertising agency and by the age of 26 had become a director of the firm. Ambler tinkered with playwriting and musical theater, and traveled extensively on the Continent. Ambler published his first novel, The Dark Frontier, in 1936. He stated that he had looked around for something he could “change” and alighted on spy fiction. His first effort was a not entirely satisfactory blend of revisionist spy story and what he intended as a parody of “the old secret service adventure thriller.” There followed the more successful Uncommon Danger (1937), Epitaph for a Spy and Cause for Alarm (both 1938), The Mask of Dimitrios (1939), and Journey into Fear (1940), and with these novels the author quickly moved to the front rank of writers of espionage fiction. With his journalists, teachers, and engineers caught up in intrigue, the author created a new kind of “hero” for the spy story, whose “greatest achievement was to narrowly escape with his life from the conspiracy into which he had been unwittingly and unwillingly implicated.” Ambler maintained that he alighted on the popular thriller because it was a disreputable genre, one which “had nowhere to go but up.” And indeed, the critic Hugh Herbert noted that it was against the kind of thriller “peddled” by John Buchan, “Sapper,” William Le Queux, and E. Phillips Oppenheim, “that Eric Ambler staged his revolution in the middle Thirties.” The contemporary story of international intrigue also allowed for the expression of Popular Front and antifascist sympathies, which many young artists felt in the 1930s, and which contrasted with the right-wing, anti-Semitic, and militaristic posturing of the traditional “Bulldog” Drummond type of “thick ear shocker.” With these six stories, Ambler

AMBLER, ERIC (1909–1998)


had, according to Peter Lewis, “raised the thriller from the subliterary depths, showing that the genre and prose were not incompatible, and redeeming its conventions for more serious purposes than the usual gung ho display of macho derring-do.” Recent thriller writer Robert Harris captured the flavor of the fictional world of Ambler, evident in the influential stories he published around the time of the commencement of World War II, as that of the “Europe of the dictators . . . a world of crooked arms salesmen, secret policemen, jaded whores and ‘displaced persons,’ the midnight whistle of crowded trains lurching towards shabby frontier posts, commercial travellers’ hotels with bad drains and suspicious concierges, warm champagne served in seedy brothels, unregistered cargo ships that have seen better days, drunken captains, false passports, stolen blueprints—and always, in the background, reverberating from wireless and foreign newspapers, the encroaching menace of war.” Ambler maintained that the key themes in his work are the “loss of innocence” and anti-authoritarianism. In 1940, Ambler joined the Royal Artillery and, two years later, transferred to the Army Film Unit where he was appointed assistant director, attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and became fascinated with filmmaking. He worked on numerous official shorts and documentaries, the most important being The New Lot (1943), cowritten with Peter Ustinov and directed by Carol Reed, which was expanded by the team into the classic feature film The Way Ahead (1944). Several of Ambler’s novels were adapted for the screen during wartime: Journey into Fear and Background to Danger (the latter from Uncommon Danger, both U.S., 1943), and The Mask of Dimitrios (U.S., 1944) were produced in Hollywood, while Hotel Reserve (from Epitaph for a Spy, 1944) was made in Great Britain by RKO Pictures. Following the war, Ambler became a successful scriptwriter in the British cinema, specializing in the espionage, thriller, and war film genres. He adapted his own novel for the thriller The October Man (1947), a film he also produced; he scripted the espionage drama Highly Dangerous (1950), and was invited to write The Magic Box (1951), a film about William FrieseGreene, Britain’s claimant for the invention of moving pictures (and the cinema industry’s contribution to the Festival of Britain). Ambler remained an important screenwriter throughout the 1950s, scripting the classic war film The Cruel Sea (1953), for which he received an Academy Award nomination, and A Night to Remember (1958), the story of the ill-fated maiden voyage of Titanic. Ambler claimed that “novel-writing had been a laboriously-acquired habit. In the army I lost the habit, and the process of recovery was slow.” Consequently, he only returned to the novel with an “extraordinary effort” after an 11-year absence with Judgment on Deltchev (1951), about a Stalinist show trial in Eastern Europe. Ambler’s stories in the face of the Cold War were less left wing, and Passage of Arms (1959) was the last of Ambler’s books to



feature a naive, good-intentioned man finding himself out of his depth in an unexpected situation of intrigue. Later novels such as The Schirmer Inheritance (1953), The Intercom Conspiracy (1967), and Doctor Frigo (1974) were all well received. The author’s final thriller was Send No More Roses (1977). The American spy novelist Alan Furst has praised Ambler as “perhaps the most entertaining of all espionage novelists.” Ambler’s work was adapted for television on several occasions. Epitaph for a Spy was serialized by the BBC in 1954 and 1963, The Schirmer Inheritance by ABC Television in 1957, and both The Intercom Conspiracy (adapted as A Quiet Conspiracy) in 1989 and The Care of Time in 1990 were produced at the commercial Anglia Television. Ambler married Joan Harrison in 1958, a writer and producer for Alfred Hitchcock since the 1930s, and the great director was a witness at their wedding. Ambler recounted his life and career in Here Lies: An Autobiography (1985). The author, one of the greats of spy fiction, was described by Graham Greene as “unquestionably our best thriller writer,” and John le Carré once called him “the source on which we all draw.” In an assessment of the literary merits of the spy novel that appeared in the Guardian a few years before the author’s death, Ambler was judged “the one writer who manages to bring together the moral uncertainties of the real world and the narrative imperative of action.” The critic went on to admire the style of “seamless story telling, an implicit exploration of moral questions, a narrative pace and a proper credibility that this is the way the world really might be, that pops him up there as the greatest espionage and adventure thriller writer of the century.” In the 1980s, in a mark of prestige, the spy novelist Len Deighton gave a Savoy lunch in honor of Ambler, attended by such spy writing peers as John le Carré, Gavin Lyall, Frederick Forsyth, and the eminent critic Julian Symonds, and to which Graham Greene sent a note of greeting: “To the master from one of his disciples.” Ambler was honored on many occasions. From the Mystery Writers of America, Ambler received the Best Novel Award for The Light of Day, the coveted Grand Master Award in 1975, and Best Critical or Biographical Award for Here Lies. From the Crime Writers’ Association of Great Britain, Ambler received Gold Daggers for Passage of Arms and The Levanter and was the first recipient of the coveted Diamond Dagger for excellence throughout a career. In 1975, the Swedish Academy of Detection awarded Ambler a Grand Master Diploma, and Doctor Frigo won the French Grand prix de littérature policière. Eric Ambler was made an OBE in 1981. See also ESPIONAGE STORY. ANOTHER COUNTRY. Stage and film drama. Another Country, a play written by Julian Mitchell, premiered on 5 November 1981 at the Greenwich Theatre in southeast London and successfully transferred to the West End in



March 1982. It launched a quartet of aspiring and hugely talented young actors: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Kenneth Branagh. The drama is set in an English public school in the 1930s and deals with the two outsiders, Guy Bennett and Tommy Judd. The former is openly homosexual and the latter Marxist. Following the scandal of a fellow pupil’s suicide after he is discovered having sex with another boy, there is a crackdown on loose, immoral, and unconventional behavior. Bennett is persecuted and Judd is ultimately disillusioned in his bid to wrest some control from within the structures of power. The play ends on a vaguely optimistic note, with the two young men contemplating future rebellion and with Bennett picking up a copy of Das Kapital, and musing, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all this was true?” The title of the play is taken from the patriotic song I Vow to Thee, My Country, which includes the lines “And there’s another country, I’ve heard of long ago; Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know.” The notion of “another country” could also allude to Soviet Russia, as well as the secretive world of the homosexual in the 1920s and 1930s. The play won the Society of West End Theatre Awards Play of the Year for 1982 and was termed “one of the theatrical events of the decade.” Another Country is an imaginative treatment of the “deformative” school days of Guy Burgess, Soviet agent and one of the infamous Cambridge Spies. Burgess had attended public school at the privileged Eton College and, later, was a controversial figure on the London social scene for his drinking, unchecked homosexuality, and outrageous behavior. A further stage drama drawing on the life of Burgess was A Morning with Guy Burgess (2011), while The Turning Point, broadcast live on television in 2009, was a dramatization of an actual meeting between Burgess and Winston Churchill in 1938. The character of Judd was seemingly an amalgamation of the reallife youthful communists John Cornford (poet and martyr in the Spanish Civil War) and Esmond Romilly (veteran of the Spanish Civil War who was killed in World War II serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force). In 1984, Another Country was adapted for the cinema by Julian Mitchell, the debut film of Marek Kanievska, with Rupert Everett as Guy Bennett and Colin Firth as Tommy Judd, and released with the stirring tagline “Convention outraged . . . a class abandoned . . . a country betrayed!” The only significant additions to the film were two brief episodes set in Moscow in 1983, in which the elderly Bennett is interviewed by a journalist and which bookend the historical scenes at school. The new material alludes to Guy Burgess, who had in fact died in Moscow in 1963, more strongly than anything in the original play. The most interesting line of dialogue as far as parallels with Burgess are concerned comes late in the drama when Bennett reflects on recent events and utters, “What better cover for somebody like me than total indiscretion.” This statement chimes in with the view later expounded by Professor Christopher Andrew that Burgess’s very “outrageous-



ness” gave him good, if unconventional, cover for his work as a secret agent. After all, “no existing stereotype of a Soviet spy remotely resembled Burgess,” and the traitor could lie undetected under the seemingly dissolute and incautious behavior. In a poor review in Monthly Film Bulletin, Gilbert Adair found it dispiriting that the most influential philosophy of the 20th century was reduced to the cavortings of a few frivolous adherents. It was Adair’s view that “eccentrics” such as Philby, Burgess, McLean, and Blunt simply could not support the ideological weight brought to bear on them in the drama. However, this seems reactionary and churlish, and Derek Malcolm, writing in the Guardian, a former pupil at Eton, felt the film tempted the viewer into delving into the assumptions that lay behind the elite institution and its privileged education, “the reasons for the ridiculous and demeaning pecking order of the system and for the traditional clap-trap that goes with it which sucks the weak and the foolish, even the strong and the less foolish, into such loyalty and admiration.” With such a perspective, the humiliating outsider status of the Marxist and flagrantly homosexual in the repressive structure of the public school is a reasonable motive for the betrayal of one’s class. The picture has largely been appreciated as part of the emerging “heritage cinema” of the early 1980s, films treating Great Britain’s national and literary past, with important contemporary examples being Chariots of Fire (1981) and Heat and Dust (1982). Another Country, in line with other heritage films, is seen to transform the ostensive object of the criticism—here the repression of the authoritarian public school—into a source of visual pleasure. Thus, any critique is lost to the fascination and seductive allure for the viewer of the picturesque and the ceremonial of a selective national past. Such a view should be balanced with the fact that the esteemed public schools Eton College and Charterhouse, seemingly aware of the drama’s critical stance, refused to allow location filming, and shooting took place instead at Apethorpe Hall and at sites in Oxford. The press for a while became very excited when Viscount Aithorpe, the younger brother of Princess Diana, served as a schoolboy extra on the picture. The film Another Country can be usefully compared to Lindsay Anderson’s masterful If . . . (1968), as both pictures deal with the theme of revolt in the setting of a public school. If . . . treats the contemporary scene of youthful revolt in the late 1960s, while Another Country examines the repressions and abuses that led to a generation of traitors in the British establishment. See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. ARABESQUE. Novel and motion picture. The Cipher is an American spy story first published in 1961. The author, Alex Gordon (real name Gordon Cotler), served in U.S. Army Intelligence during World War II and, subse-



quently, as a reporter for the New Yorker. The novel was adapted into the stylized thriller Arabesque in 1966 and filmed in Great Britain as a Stanley Donen production for Universal Pictures. The Cipher is set in New York and involves Philip Hoag, a lowly instructor of ancient history who is drawn into a conspiracy of political assassination when he is invited to decode a cipher by an Arab businessman. The action takes place over two days in New York and centers on a state visit by the prime minister of an unnamed Middle Eastern country. Hoag is the unlikely hero who thwarts the plot of disenchanted nationals and, in the process, rediscovers some self-respect. The movie Arabesque is a glamorous romantic-comedy thriller, starring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren, and is a quite different proposition to the low-key novel with the action transplanted to a colorful, swinging London and released with the tagline “Ultra-Mod! Ultra-Mad! Ultra-Mystery!” David Pollock (Peck), an American professor of Egyptology at Oxford who is commissioned to decipher an ancient manuscript, is drawn into a conspiracy that aims to assassinate a visiting prime minister of a Middle Eastern state. The beautiful Yasmin (Loren) wanders in and out of the threats, attacks, and drugging endured by Pollock; it seems she can’t decide if she is friend or foe, until it is finally revealed she is a government agent. Critics saw Arabesque as an attempt by Donen to recapture the spirit and success of his earlier Charade (U.S., 1963), in which case it was a bit of a disappointment, and noted obvious borrowings from such thrillers as Lady from Shangai (U.S., 1947, substitute an aquarium for a hall of mirrors) and North by Northwest (U.S., 1959, substitute a helicopter for a crop duster). The Ipcress File (1965) may have been an influence in terms of an eccentric visual style that Donen hoped would mask the inadequacies of the script. He instructed his cameraman, “See what you can come up with. I want every shot to be different.” Cinematographer Chrisptopher Challis later reported on the novel approach: “It seemed at times that the whole picture was to be seen in the backs of teaspoons, car mirrors or through tanks of fish.” Alexander Walker writing in the Evening Standard, alluding to the opening scene in which a character is dispatched by lethal eyedrops from a bogus oculist, observed that the weary spectator of the exhilarating movie “may feel his own eyes have been under the same kind of attack.” Allen Eyles at Films and Filming found the picture “painstakingly elaborate and stylish, positively luxurious in décor and photography,” but wished Donen would return to making musicals at which he was a true master. THE ASHENDEN STORIES. Short stories, motion picture, and television drama series. In 1928, W. Somerset Maugham published a collection of short spy stories dealing with the adventures of the agent Ashenden during World War I. These had been written earlier, but, allegedly on the advice of



Winston Churchill, Maugham delayed in publishing them. In the preface, Maugham made it clear that the stories were “founded on experiences of my own during that war,” but he stressed that they were not “reportage, but works of fiction.” He confessed that “the works of an agent in the Intelligence Department is on the whole monotonous. . . . The material it offers for stories is scrappy and pointless.” This was a radically new perspective for spy fiction, and the Ashenden stories have been acclaimed as offering a new realism in the modern espionage story, in stark contrast to the fanciful heroics of the contemporary spy thriller and the writings of William Le Queux, E. Phillips Oppenheim, and Sydney Horler. There are seven stories in Ashenden; or, The British Agent. The initial tale, “Miss King,” introduces Ashenden, a middle-aged writer, who is recruited by “R” (a character some say is based on John Wallinger, who recruited Maugham into the War Office intelligence network), the secretive head of the Intelligence Department. Ashenden is told: “If you do well you’ll get no thanks and if you get into trouble you’ll get no help.” With this stern warning, the novice agent is posted to Geneva in neutral Switzerland, where he serves as an agent runner and gathers intelligence under the cover of a playwright working on a drama. There are few heroics, the work is largely unsatisfying, and the agent is often in the dark as to the broader picture of Allied strategy and intelligence. Ashenden confesses that “a great deal of his work was uncommonly dull” and “to be a member of the secret service was not as adventurous an affair as the public thought.” His outburst, that he was “sick of the people who saw spies in every inoffensive passer-by and plots in the most innocent combination of circumstances,” is Maugham’s critique of the romantic form of far-fetched spy fiction, which reveled in complex conspiracies, flamboyant spies, and layers of intrigue. Despite signs to the contrary, there is no intrigue in this story, which ends quietly with Ashenden summoned to the deathbed of a Miss King, a compatriot who wanted to die in the presence of a fellow countryman. The story accurately depicts the anxiety of agents regarding arrest by the Swiss authorities who were vigilant over the belligerent nations that operated spy rings in their country and in matter of fact many Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) agents were detained. Maugham, writing about a man of letters, loses few chances to comment on the craft of the playwright and the similarities between the dramatist and the spy. This gives the stories an unusual self-reflexive quality, and, as we have seen, the opportunity to deconstruct the popular spy fiction of the day. Thus, in Ashenden’s first interview with “R,” he is told that the role of secret agent will provide him with much material for his writing. Unfortunately, the true incident recounted by “R”’ by way of example—in which a French diplomat is the victim of l’amour fou and loses his secret papers—is dismissed by Ashenden as trite and melodramatic. “We really can’t write that story much longer,” he complains.



The other Ashenden stories are an unconventional collection of tales that attend to the less romantic aspects of espionage, sometimes the sordid and the cynical. “The Hairless Mexican,” the best known of the stories, has Ashenden on a mission to Italy accompanying a bizarre assassin. A mistaken identity leads to the tragic murder of an innocent Greek businessman. In “Giulia Lazzari,” Ashenden must intimidate a second-rate music hall dancer to lure her lover, a dangerous Indian nationalist, to the French side of Lake Geneva and his arrest and execution. “The Traitor” involves the agent in Switzerland setting a trap for a treacherous British exile who is feeding information to the Germans. Over a period of some weeks, Ashenden, posing as an invalid, gets to know and come to like the somewhat eccentric Grantley Caypor but must still tempt him to seek opportunities for espionage in Great Britain and his certain death by firing squad. “His Excellency” has Ashenden on an undertaking in some undisclosed country, where he must suffer a long and uncomfortable meal with an ambassador who rails him with an account of a youthful tragedy. Described as “the most important mission he had ever had,” “Mr. Harrington’s Washing” is an account of an important assignment to Russia during which Ashenden makes the acquaintance of Mr. Harrington, an American businessman. In Petrograd, the mission is eventually lost to revolutionary events, but in a tragic finale, the kindly Mr. Harrington, whom Ashenden has come to like and respect, is brutally killed by insurrectionary soldiers while collecting his washing. The final story is “Sanatorium,” in which Ashenden is confined to a clinic with tuberculosis, a fate actually experienced by Somerset Maugham. Orlo Williams, a clerk at the House of Commons with some intelligence experience, reviewed the stories, and, in what might be taken as a back-handed compliment, recorded that “nobody who read agents’ reports during the War will be surprised that [Ashenden] was as dreary as these reports.” In 1935, the Ashenden stories, via the stage play Ashenden by Campbell Dixon (which confected romantic aspects for the story), were the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s film Secret Agent, which starred John Gielgud as Ashenden. Scripted by Charles Bennett, the picture invented much, but loosely drew on characters and situations from “Miss King,” “The Hairless Mexican,” and “The Traitor.” In the picture, Ashenden is sent to Switzerland, where he must intercept and kill the German agent in the district who is about to embark for Palestine where he will intrigue to influence the Arab forces to revolt against the British. Ashenden is assisted by the assassin “The Hairless Mexican” (Peter Lorre in an outrageously over-the-top performance) and by the female agent Elsa who poses as his wife (Madeleine Carroll). In the event, an innocent Englishman is mistaken for the enemy agent and murdered; the German spy ring is located in a chocolate factory; and the enemy agent is identified as an American playboy (Robert Young) who has been flirting with Elsa. Sickened by the initial tragedy, Elsa innocently leaves with



the American; however, Ashenden and the Mexican manage to catch up with her on the Turkish border. The British agents are relieved from their grisly task of assassination when the train on which they are traveling is attacked by Allied aircraft and the foreign agent is propitiously killed. Secret Agent, despite some typical Hitchcockian set pieces such as the discovery of a dead organist in a church, the suspense of killing the Englishman high in the Alps, a chase through a Swiss chocolate factory, and a climactic train crash, is generally regarded as one of the least satisfactory of the director’s British spy thrillers of the 1930s. The stage actor Gielgud was uncomfortable with the screen role and annoyed at Lorre’s scene stealing, and the film never fully reconciled the opposing tendencies of Maugham’s disillusionment and the avidity of the modern thriller. As one critic has expressed it, “the film keeps leading the characters to complex moral dilemmas from which the plot seems obliged to rescue them.” In 1959, “The Traitor” was dramatized on the BBC starring Stephen Murray, but this is now lost. In 1991, the stories were dramatized by David Pirie as Ashenden in a fourpart BBC television series budgeted at an impressive ₤4.1 million and starring Alex Jennings as Ashenden and Ian Bannen as “R.” Handsomely mounted and shot on location in postcommunist Hungary and Yugoslavia as well as in Austria, the series adapted the four stories most suitable for an espionage series: “Giulia Lazzari” (as “The Dark Woman”), “The Traitor,” “Mr. Harrington’s Washing,” and “The Hairless Mexican.” The first two episodes include materials from “Miss King” so as to provide some necessary background on the writer Ashenden, his recruitment into the Intelligence Department by “R,” and his stationing in Geneva. The series introduces the real-life character of Mansfield Cumming into the stories, the first head of SIS, and integrates actual experiences from Maugham’s life prior to his engagement as an agent in Switzerland. The screenwriter Pirie drew on biographies of Maugham and Cummings as well as the original short stories, and these bolster the historical realism of the drama. The writer William Boyd praised the series and lauded Pirie’s use of contemporary sources, as these “imbue the stories with an objectivity and a veracity which are completely convincing.” The television Ashenden is generally a close adaptation of the original material, with only minor changes of detail, and stands as a superior costume drama of its period. The only substantial alteration comes in “The Hairless Mexican,” which changes the target of the assassination to an American woman for whom Ashenden has come to show some romantic affection. Her wrongful murder intensifies the emotional impact of the drama and keys in with a speech by Cumming, aimed at Ashenden, warning of the drift for the espionage agent from disillusionment, to disaffection, and, finally, to defection. This is derived, Pirie informs us, from an unpublished diary of an intelligence agent recruited around the same time as Maugham, who recorded the sentiments of Cumming who feared of a politicization of the



Service and stands as a remarkably prescient view considering the later turn of events with Burgess, Philby, and Maclean. Julian Hope, who coproduced the series, was the grandson of Somerset Maugham and used the family connection to reacquire the rights to the stories, which had languished for decades with Universal Studios in Hollywood. The Ashenden stories are classics of their type, the best known and most acclaimed collection of short spy stories, and which have regularly made appearances in anthologies of spy fiction. While their importance is appreciable in their “modern” style (more realistic and less idealized), it is a curiosity that the stories dwell relatively little on the actual business of espionage. This is particularly the case with “His Excellency,” which largely deals with a long disclosure by a senior diplomat over a dinner with Ashenden; with “Mr. Harrington’s Washing,” in which Ashenden endures the long journey from Vladivostok to Petrograd on the Trans-Siberian Railway cooped up with a voluble American businessman; and with “Sanatorium,” which has no discernible espionage angle at all. These tales are essentially character studies in which Maugham can comment on various human foibles and qualities. The Ashenden stories have been immensely influential; Eric Ambler, writing in 1964, claimed that “there has been no body of work in the field of the same quality written since Ashenden.” Ashenden is placed 11th on John G. Cawelti and Bruce A. Rosenberg’s list of “The Greatest Spy Stories.” See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; SPY AS NOVELIST; SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY. THE ASSASSINATION RUN. See RUNNING BLIND. ASSIGNMENT IN BRITTANY. Novel. Assignment in Brittany, first published in 1942, was the second espionage novel by Helen MacInnes. It tells the story of an undercover mission in which a seasoned young British agent is parachuted into northern France following the French armistice with Germany in summer 1940. He is required to report on the German military buildup with the aim of discovering the enemy’s intentions for the invasion of Great Britain. Martin Hearne bears a remarkable likeness to a wounded Frenchman in British care, Bertrand Corlay, and the agent takes his place in the rural French community of St. Déodat where he has to deceive family and locals. The task is made even more complicated when Hearne discovers that Corlay is an odious type; has a secret lover, Elise, who collaborates with the Germans; and that the Frenchman is, in fact, a fifth columnist in the service of the Nazis. The first part of the story deals with Hearne’s patient deception and his collection of local intelligence. The middle section involves a thrilling journey to Mont St. Michel to contact the resistance and get vital information



back to Britain. The concluding part of the story returns Hearne to St. Déodat where he is able to use Corlay’s friendliness with the Germans to gain precise information regarding the military deployments in the area. However, his deception is unmasked; he is cruelly tortured but manages to escape with the help of an emerging French Resistance in the town. Traveling to the coast, he is able to get back to England stowed on board a friendly French fishing boat. Throughout, Hearne has to deal with his growing affection for Anne, the nominal fiancée of Corlay (an arranged marriage of convenience) and representative of “decent” French womanhood. With Assignment in Brittany, MacInnes moved more thoroughly into the professional world of Military Intelligence and to the more standard model of the lone male agent. The standard romance aspect of the thriller is combined here with the political expediency of using the union of Hearne and Anne to mark the forging of reconciliation between rival allies. The debut novel of MacInnes, Above Suspicion, which had appeared in the previous year, involved a romantic couple and a story in which female agency played a greater part. There has been some disappointment from female critics that in Assignment in Brittany, though a competent and exciting novel, women occupy secondary and stereotypical roles, such as the dutiful girlfriend and the femme fatale of the lover. The story presents the male point of view of the spy genre, such that when Elise is killed by one of the Bretons, Hearne, anticipating a notorious remark by James Bond in Casino Royale (1953) some years later, calmly comments, “She was just one of those bitches who went about asking for it.” On a more positive note, it has been claimed that the novel was issued to Allied personnel who supported the French Resistance as it provided them with an accurate and detailed sense of conditions in northern France at the time. See also SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II; WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. ASSIGNMENT K. See DEPARTMENT K. AT RISK. Novel. At Risk, published in 2004, is the debut novel of Stella Rimington, a former head of MI5. Allegedly vetted before publication by the British Security Service, it is a fast-paced spy thriller detailing the hunt for suspected Islamist terrorists on an unknown mission in mainland Great Britain. The chase is led by Liz Carlyle, an MI5 intelligence officer working with the Joint Counter-Terrorist Group, who painstakingly pieces together the emerging evidence: the dropping of illegal immigrants on the Norfolk coast, the shooting by a specialist high-caliber handgun of a petty criminal in the toilet of a roadside café, a mystery woman who arrived from France on the Eurostar train and hired the car recorded on closed circuit television at the café. All indications are that the target will be a U.S. military base in eastern



England, but Liz’s intuition and dogged chasing down of details delivers the last-minute realization that the intention is to bomb the home of the British commander of one of the bases, whose planes had been involved in a civilian tragedy in Afghanistan. Liz Carlyle became a series character, later appearing in such thrillers as Secret Asset (2006) and Illegal Action (2007). Rimington stated that she had long intended to write a thriller and had the character of Carlyle in mind for many years. Interest in the novel unsurprisingly centered on Rimington’s insider knowledge: an example of authenticity comes in the use of jargon. The reader discovers as the case evolves, for example, of the Security Service’s fear of an “invisible.” The “ultimate intelligence nightmare,” we are told, is “the terrorist who, because he or she is an ethnic native of the target country, can cross its borders unchecked, move around that country unquestioned, and infiltrate its institutions with ease.” However, some reviewers were disappointed by the pedestrian plotting, wondering “whether Rimington ever really came across anyone like her terrorists, with their useful but perhaps reckless habit of leaving shopping-lists of bomb-making equipment around in public places.” The treatment of routine office life, though, was potentially more interesting: “She clearly does know what bored paper-shufflers in Thames House are like . . . and that might have made an interesting novel on its own. The yawns start, as ever, with the race-against-time stuff.” Rimington takes the opportunity to have a dig at the sister service MI6, thereby confirming the traditional rivalry that has existed between the two organizations. In this case, the Secret Intelligence Service keep Security in the dark about the former role the terrorist played in British Intelligence and potentially compromise the operation. As she expresses it in the story, “For all the supposed new spirit of cooperation, Five and Six would never be serene bedfellows.” A U.S. Intelligence insider refers to such traditional rivalries as “organizational pathologies” common to many Secret Services. At Risk shows some similarities to Frederick Forsyth’s The Fourth Protocol (1984); both novels feature an independently minded Security Service officer painstakingly tracking down a bomber whose suspected target is a U.S. air force base in East Anglia. The main difference, of course, is that Rimington’s agent is female, still a novelty in the spy thriller, although the ground had been prepared by Evelyn Anthony and her Davina Graham stories of the early 1980s. At Risk also confirms the recent emphasis within the security services on countering terrorism. See also SPY AS NOVELIST; SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY; WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. THE AVENGERS. Television adventure series. The Avengers was a hugely popular action series produced by ABC Television and broadcast in seven seasons and 161 episodes from 1961 to 1969, making it the longest-running espionage series in British television history. At its height, it attracted an



audience of 30 million viewers in 70 countries. The show commenced in black and white as a low-key crime series starring Ian Hendry and Patrick Macnee as a wronged doctor and a shadowy agent who engage in a fight against organized crime. Most of these early episodes are lost. Macnee’s John Steed was retained for the second season, where the characterization became more dandified, embodying “a foppish style harking back to the Regency and a modish ’60s chic.” He was eventually partnered with a series of intelligent, stylish, and assertive females: “hip, leggy, sexy, brilliant, physically competent women who took nonsense from no man,” and he most often served as the “agent of change.” Honor Blackman’s Mrs. Cathy Gale came first, and the story lines for her two seasons more obviously moved into the world of intrigue and espionage. While the stories became more fanciful and fashion conscious—and Steed more debonair—during the third season, it was from the fourth season and the replacement of Blackman (who was away shooting the James Bond picture Goldfinger, 1964) by Diana Rigg as Emma Peel that The Avengers assumed the characteristic modish, colorful, and trendy style so typical of its decade. In 1965, the show, now produced more expensively on film—and from the fifth season—in color, was sold to the American Broadcasting Company, and The Avengers became one of the first British series to be aired on primetime U.S. television. When Rigg also left to star in the Bond picture On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), she was replaced for the final season by Linda Thorson, playing trainee agent Tara King. The Avengers, especially during the Emma Peel period, was a seminal adventure series of the 1960s. With its incorporation of fetishistic fashion, kinky sexuality, desirable automobiles, fantasy, parody, formal inventiveness, witticisms and espionage—and its playfulness with the notion of Englishness—the show was emblematic of British style and culture in the decade. The harsher, tougher episodes with Cathy Gale dealt with more traditional espionage subjects: a spy within a high-tech defense industry in “Traitor in Zebra” (1963), a plot to assassinate key government scientists and officials and replace them with doppelgängers in “Man with Two Shadows” (1963), and a visiting Eastern Bloc pianist framed for murder in “Concerto” (1964). The Emma Peel episodes moved more toward “spy-fi,” with the duo dealing with killer robots in “The Cybernauts” and giant alien carnivorous plants in “The Man-Eater of Surrey Green” (both 1965), as well as overt parodies of popular U.S. action shows, as with The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in “The Girl from AUNTIE” (1966) and Mission: Impossible in “Mission: Highly Improbable’ (1967). The episode “A Touch of Brimstone” raised some eyebrows with Peel’s “Sin Queen” characterization and was not shown in the United States at the time. The role of the heroines in The Avengers attracted much comment; Cathy Gale and Emma Peel in particular were portrayed as modern, intelligent, and independent young women and, unusu-



al for the spy genre, demonstrated—through their martial arts abilities— masculine power. However, the representation was not, as some have claimed, feminist, as the women were still largely positioned for the male gaze and fetishized through kinky costuming. The Avengers was not acclaimed by the critics who generally preferred straight thrillers, and, while finding it amusing, they were resistant to the self-conscious approach of the series with its knowing winks at the audience. However, in retrospect, The Avengers is valued for its parody and has developed a significant fan culture that celebrates the show’s “camp,” “excess,” and “comic strip wit.” The show was resurrected as The New Avengers, which ran for two seasons in 1976 and 1977 with a total of 26 episodes. Here, John Steed was partnered with the agents Mike Gambit (Gareth Hunt) and Purdey (Joanna Lumley). Although The New Avengers retained some of the more fantastical “spy-fi” qualities of the Emma Peel period of the original series, the drama and thrills were played straighter with less emphasis on parody. The Avengers received the Hollywood treatment in 1998, when Warner Bros. released a feature film version starring Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman, but the movie was neither a critical nor commercial success. See also WOMEN AND SPY FICTION.

B BAGLEY, DESMOND (1923–1983). Novelist. Bagley was born in Kendall, Westmoreland; following World War II, he relocated to southern Africa, where he worked in publishing and broadcasting. He published his first novel, the action adventure The Golden Keel, in 1963; it is the story of desperate men trying to get their hands on Mussolini’s treasure, which had gone missing after the war. He then returned to Great Britain, where he wrote a string of exotically located thrillers in which the evocative sense of place is a prime pleasure of the reading experience. High Citadel (1965) is set in the high Andes, The Vivero Letter (1968) in the Mexican jungle, and Windfall (1982) on the Kenyan savannah, and the pacing, style, careful research, and knowledgeable treatment of technology in the stories turned Bagley into one of the best-selling thriller writers of his generation. Bagley’s contribution to the spy thriller was made with Running Blind (1970) and The Freedom Trap (1971). The former has the agent Alan Stewart involved on a deadly mission in desolate Iceland, while the latter has the agent Owen Stannard up against The Scarperers, a criminal gang that springs long-term prisoners from jail. Their client on this occasion is a convicted Soviet spy. Here, the action proceeds vigorously from London, to Ireland, and onto Malta. Both stories were adapted for the screen. A later novel, The Enemy (1977), featured an amateur investigator embroiled in a conspiracy that pits him against the KGB in the wintry forests of Sweden. Bagley’s stories have been valued for their craftsmanship, authenticity of setting, and sheer entertainment value. BARRY, JOHN (1933–2011). Film score composer. John Barry Prendergast was born in York and educated at St. Peter’s School in that city. He came from a family involved in cinema exhibition in the north of England, developed his musical interests during his military service, did arrangements for some big bands, and formed the group the John Barry Seven in 1957. He arranged and produced for record labels and gained some prominence on the BBC television show Drumbeat (TV 1959), with Barry also arranging for some of the guest pop acts like Adam Faith. His first works for cinema were 43


BARRY, JOHN (1933–2011)

productions that involved Faith: the teen exploitation picture Beat Girl (1959, released 1961) and the crime film Never Let Go (1960). The former was the first British picture to receive a soundtrack album release. Thereafter, Barry quickly became a prolific and much-honored composer for film and television, also producing some work for the stage. Barry was very fortunate to join the production of the first James Bond film, Dr. No (1962), where he was required to arrange the main theme written by Monty Norman; the theme has since established itself as one of the most identifiable of all pieces of film music. He stayed on and eventually fully scored 11 films in the successful cycle, stretching from From Russia with Love (1963) to The Living Daylights (1987). It was an influential style of muscular brass, jazz inflections and sensuous strings and, in the process, helped to redefine the place of music in contemporary cinema. The evocative title sequences to the Bond films, designed by Maurice Binder and accompanied by Barry’s arresting title song (sung by Matt Monro on From Russia with Love, Shirley Bassey on Goldfinger, 1964, and Tom Jones on Thunderball, 1965), are among the most recognizable and beloved of all film sequences. Barry’s work in the British cinema and television of the 1960s was the convincing demonstration that pop and jazz idioms had a place in the contemporary movie soundtrack. Beyond the hugely popular scores for the Bond films Barry was also influential in scoring for other espionage films. In keeping with the general ethos of The Ipcress File (1965), he kept away from the “secret service, Bondian syndrome” as he put it, using the exotic flavor of a cimbalom blended with cool jazz for the picture. In this film, Barry aimed for a lonely, metallic, hard strident theme to express the character of Harry Palmer, the secret agent blackmailed into serving with the Security Service in a Cold War confrontation. For The Quiller Memorandum (1966), set in Berlin, he provided a haunting Mittel-Europa waltz, with an innocent, child-like, mechanical music box quality, in counterpoint to the sinister activities of the Phönix organization of Nazis. Critic Nicholas Anez, a great admirer of the film, has praised Barry’s “atmospheric” score, a “classic example of how music can highlight the obscure meanings of a film as well as its plot.” Barry won Academy Awards for Best Original Music and for Best Song (shared with lyricist Don Black) for the family nature film Born Free (1966), and an Academy Award and the Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music from the British Film Academy for the historical film The Lion in Winter (1969), for which he wrote an early music-inspired score. Following his Academy Award–winning work as Musical Supervisor for Midnight Cowboy (U.S., 1969), Barry increasingly began to work in U.S. cinema, where he settled into a career as a distinguished composer of film music, winning further Academy Awards for Out of Africa (U.S., 1985) and Dances with Wolves (1990), as well as four Grammy Awards. His final film was the



wartime espionage drama Enigma (2001). Barry was appointed OBE in 1999, received the Fellowship of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2005, and was granted the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Soundtracks Awards in 2010. BEEDING, FRANCIS. Novelist. Francis Beeding was the collaborative pseudonym of the Oxford graduates John Leslie Palmer (1885–1944) and Hilary Aidan Saint George Saunders (1898–1951). Under the Beeding imprint, the authors published over 30 mystery novels, the best known of which was The House of Dr. Edwardes (1927), a psychological thriller later filmed as Spellbound (U.S., 1945) by Alfred Hitchcock. Most of the stories were spy thrillers featuring the urbane and polite Colonel (later General) Alistair Granby, head of the British Secret Service, and titles, often featuring a numeral, included The Seven Sleepers (1925), The Six Proud Walkers (1928), The Five Flamboys (1929), The Four Armourers (1930), The Eight Crooked Trenches (1936), The Ten Holy Horrors (1939), and The Twelve Disguises (1942). There Are Thirteen (1946) was the last in the series, appearing some time after the death of John Palmer. The early novels such as The League of Discontent (1930) were often concerned with attempts to wreck the peace in Europe, and both Palmer and Saunders worked for the Permanent Secretariat of the League of Nations. The spy stories of Francis Beeding are acknowledged for their topicality in a period characterized by its historical importance. The spy novels are now largely forgotten and are not included in the recent reprints of the author, which concentrate on the crime and detective novels such as Death Walks in Eastrepps (1931) and The Norwich Victims (1935). Under his own name, Palmer wrote about early English actors and British literary figures, including a biography of Rudyard Kipling; Saunders wrote anonymously some of the popular official pamphlets published during World War II, such as The Battle of Britain, Bomber Command, and Coastal Command. See also SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II. BERLIN GAME. See GAME, SET AND MATCH. THE BERLIN MEMORANDUM. Novel and motion picture. The Berlin Memorandum by Adam Hall was first published in 1965 and introduced the series character Quiller, an agent for “the Bureau,” a covert security organization that does not officially exist. At the start of the story, he is working in Berlin for the Z Commission, tracking down former Nazi war criminals. He is suddenly returned to the Bureau when he is presented with the opportunity to get to the heart of the secret Phönix organization, a renaissant Nazi group. The bait to entice the reluctant agent is the prospect of unearthing the notori-



ous SS General Zossen. Quiller, acting as Nazi hunter, makes himself a highprofile target and is soon abducted by Phönix, where he is interrogated by Oktober. Quiller resists truth drugs and is allowed to go free in the hope he will lead Phönix to British Control and expose its intentions. Interposed between the agent and the Nazis is the alluring Inga Lindt, a defector from Phönix, who is tortured in front of Quiller with the aim of getting him to talk, and who later provides the British agent with the secret plans of the Phönix organization. A subsidiary story line involves a Jewish biologist—a wartime collaborator of Quiller’s who has perfected a deadly plague that he intends to unleash on surviving Nazis in South America. The scientist is murdered by Phönix. Quiller, able to elude Phönix and return to Control, realizes that the plans that came through Inga are false and that she never fully defected from Phönix, and he is able to lead the German police to the secret hideout of the Nazi organization. Quiller then moves in on Zossen, whom he has discovered is a government minister, and extracts the true plans of Phönix to use the plague virus against the Soviets and draw Europe once again into war. Life magazine declared The Berlin Memorandum “the best of the newstyle spy thrillers” of the 1960s. The story and the character of the secret agent were influenced by the success of James Bond. Like 007, Quiller is omnicompetent, and the reader is informed that he is a known authority on memory, sleep mechanism, the personality patterns of suicide, high-speed driving techniques, and ballistics. Quiller is a classic loner; a personal quirk is that he refuses to carry a gun. Much of the effect of the novel is achieved through a first-person narration. Readers are thus rewarded with a precise consideration and practice of tradecraft as Quiller expertly avoids surveillance, rationalizes the suspect testimony of former defectors from Phönix, and offers informed opinion on such things as psychological stress and combating truth drugs. The novel gives a strong impression of residual Nazism in the new Germany and includes some powerful scenes of wartime atrocities perpetrated by the war criminals in the story. The plot, of an agent infiltrating a Nazi organization, of pursuing a private vendetta, of disrupting an atrocity involving germ warfare, and with the suggestion of former Nazis in high places in the then-current West Germany, was later emulated in Frederick Forsyth’s The Odessa File (1972). The Berlin Memorandum won the coveted Edgar Allan Poe Award of the Mystery Writers of America and the French Grand prix de littérature policière. The Berlin Memorandum is placed 16th on John G. Cawelti and Bruce A. Rosenberg’s list of “The Greatest Spy Stories.” The story was filmed as The Quiller Memorandum in 1966, directed by Michael Anderson, starring George Segal as the enigmatic secret agent, and with the excellent supporting cast of Alec Guinness, Max von Sydow, and Senta Berger as the equivocal love interest. With a script by the celebrated and controversial playwright Harold Pinter, and a score by the brilliant John



Barry, the film is a superior spy drama of the 1960s. Publicity for the picture screamed at the audience: “QUILLER . . he’s not just another spy . . . if he shatters your nerves, remember—he's living on his!” In this simplified version of the story, Quiller is an American, presumably to make the picture more commercial in North America; the backstory of the Z Commission and of Zossen is removed, and the girl Lindt is made a schoolteacher seemingly unassociated with Phönix. The screenplay is more interpretation than adaptation, and Pinter’s response to the intense subjectivity of first-person narration in the novel is to substitute his trademark spare, understated, and ominous dialogue in which pauses, silence, and stillness allow directors to “build pictures in the gaps between words.” The many confrontations in the story are offered as formal encounters—verbal pas de deux—with elliptical dialogue mainly suggesting the antagonism and threat seething below the surface, the characters’ motives felt between the lines of everyday small talk, and the obscure motivations and complex emotions captured in the sophisticated writing. Anderson bravely constructs the film in a deliberate, mannered style, reinforcing Pinter’s oblique dialogue and producing an atmospheric, faintly abstract quality in the film. Extensive location shooting in Berlin makes the city an important character in the movie, and a telling substitution in the story is the placing of the first meeting of Quiller with Control in the imposing Olympic Stadium in the city, built by the Nazis for the 1936 Games, rather than the nondescript theater of the book. (The Secret Intelligence Service station in Berlin was actually located in a compound beside the stadium.) The picture ends on a more ambiguous note than the novel, with the possibly duplicitous Lindt remaining in place in her school, the young children of Germany in her custody and within her influence. The film was not a commercial success, and reviews of The Quiller Memorandum were decidedly mixed; the unusual quality of a spy picture with no gimmicks, virtually no gunplay, and little physical action seemingly confounded critics. Philip French at the Observer found it an uneasy mixture of “Le Carré and Carry-On,” the film unable to “make up its mind whether it wants to be a post-Bond joke or get its head down and play the Berlin Wall game in the real mud of political intrigue.” Richard Roud at the Guardian found “something wrong”; he was personally thrown by “a very mysterious film,” wondering if the intriguing dialogue and excellent performances were let down by an over-glossy style and thin plot. Gordon Gow at Films and Filming was more impressed, praising the picture as a “rip-snorting thriller” and “stirring up many a deep thought upon life and inhumanity and power and politics.” Pinter’s biographer Michael Billington values the film as “superior to most of the Len Deighton-Le Carré based films because it latches on to something historically important: the insidious nature of fascism.” Nicholas Anez, writing in Films in Review, later attempted a critical rescue of a film he professed “unheralded and unjustly neglected,” believing


BINGHAM, JOHN (1908–1988)

that “the intricacies of the multi-leveled story line combined with an unconventional hero and a melancholy ending doomed the film to an undeserved obscurity.” Cult filmmaker Quentin Tarrantino now claims The Quiller Memorandum as the greatest of the 1960s spy films. Vague plans to film the second Quiller novel, The Ninth Directive (1966), never materialized. See also NEO-NAZISM; QUILLER. BINGHAM, JOHN (1908–1988). Novelist and MI5 officer. John Michael Ward Bingham was born in York and educated at Cheltenham College and in France and Germany. While working as a journalist, Bingham served as an informant to Maxwell Knight of MI5. Initially with the Royal Engineers in 1939–40, he moved over full-time to the Security Service for the remainder of World War II. After the conflict, Bingham served in Hanover, Germany, under Control Commission cover; back in London, he operated as MI5’s principal agent runner, and headed MI5’s antisubversion operations unit. He succeeded to the title of 7th Baron Clanmorris in 1960 and inherited the family estates in Ireland. Declassified documents recently revealed that Bingham served an important role in World War II, masquerading as a Gestapo agent and duping Nazi sympathizers in Great Britain into passing onto him their secrets and contacts. Bingham began writing crime novels while serving in the Security Service, and published such titles as My Name Is Michael Sibley (1952), Five Roundabouts to Heaven (1953), and Murder Plan Six (1958). In these, the author sought a greater naturalism and an accurate treatment of police interrogation methods. His detectives were not, as he once stated, “bumbling, amusing, sadistic, stupid, or whimsical”; rather, he drew them as “overworked and human, and involved in normal hopes for promotions and normal family life.” They are also fallible, capable of fatally mishandling a case, and Bingham’s stories are characterized by a dangerous world of menace, hatred, malice, and treachery. These qualities were also part of Bingham’s spy fiction, which commenced with The Double Agent (1966), which is the story of an English businessman blackmailed while in Moscow but recruited and doubled by British Intelligence, and which might have been influenced by the recent experiences of Greville Wynne. Later spy novels were Vulture in the Sun (1971) and Brock and the Defector (1982). Novelist and biographer Anthony Masters praised Bingham’s writing as “cool, highly credible and precise.” John le Carré served under John Bingham at MI5, and the junior man described him as one of the few good intelligence officers in the Service— kindly, gracious, and astute: an intelligence professional of “devious resourcefulness and simple patriotism.” Le Carré was inspired to follow the example of Bingham and write, and he based some qualities of his series character George Smiley on him. Bingham, a public defender of the British



Secret Service, allegedly “deplored” le Carré’s portrayal of the Secret Service, believing the cynicism gave “comfort” to the nation’s enemies. Le Carré recently commented: “Where Bingham believed that uncritical love of the Secret Services was synonymous with love of country, I came to believe that such love should be vigilantly examined.” See also SPY AS NOVELIST. BIRD OF PREY (1 and 2). Television drama series. Bird of Prey is a techno-thriller written by Ron Hutchinson, produced at the BBC and broadcast in two four-part seasons in 1982 and 1984. Henry Jay (Richard Griffiths) is an inconspicuous civil servant, a Principal Scientific Officer employed at the Department of Commercial Development (DCD) who is working on a report titled “Computer Fraud in the Age of Electronic Accounting,” for a Whitehall Trade Ministry. Off the record, Jay shares information with Detective Inspector Richardson of the Fraud Squad (Jim Broadbent); when his report is tampered with and buried behind a veil of security and Richardson is brutally killed, Jay is thrown into an international conspiracy organized by the shadowy “Le Pouvoir” (the power), an informal web of financiers, civil servants, police, and security and intelligence officers, which operates according to the old-fashioned method of favors. Jay is undeterred and goes to ground where he continues his investigation, using his expertise with computers to hack into official sources. The conspiracy Jay unearths involves a powerful financial and crime syndicate with plans to construct a Euro Tunnel connecting Great Britain with Continental Europe, a project worth billions of pounds. Jay kidnaps a key Euro politician (Christopher Loague) on the eve of the meeting that will secure the permissions for the tunnel and ransoms him for his wife (Carole Nimmons), who is now held by a rogue intelligence officer looking after the project’s interest in Britain. At the exchange, the politician and the intelligence officer are shot dead on the orders of the crime syndicate as Jay has arranged for the conspiracy to be exposed if he and his wife are harmed. Bird of Prey 2 picks up the story with the Jays anxious whether the conspirators will break the computer code that forms their insurance and thus make them vulnerable again. Following a murder attempt, Jay and his wife assume new identities and flee to a safe flat he has prepared on the coast, where he commences to prepare a new assault on his antagonists. Through his investigation, Jay learns that Le Pouvoir aims to use the European-wide measures to integrate electronic banking to pull off a gigantic financial fraud. Roche (Lee Montague), a dangerous rogue operator for Le Pouvoir, takes Jay hostage and forces him under threat to his wife to discern the technical arrangements for the fraud and to break through the computer security arrangements to take personal benefit from the theft. At the last minute, the resourceful Jay is able to break free, taking with him the details of the financial fraud. Pursued by


BLACK, GAVIN (1913–1998)

Roche to his safe flat, the assassin is killed by Mrs. Jay, at this point a near nervous wreck. Jay sensitively explains to his wife that they will have to continue to live anonymously, but that they will no longer want for money. The well-received Bird of Prey series and their “David and Goliath” contests were among the first dramas to stress the anxieties that attended the rise of computers in terms of fraud, security, and external threats. It was believed at the time of broadcast that £1.4 billion a year was electronically misappropriated. The producers stressed the “up-to-the-minute” nature of the series, “a thriller for the electronic age”; financial expert Colleen Toomey, the technical adviser on the drama, stressed that “we wanted the series to be as authentic as possible, which meant researching everything from computer-talk to the pubs where someone like Henry would go for lunch. Most official bodies were extremely helpful once they realized the information was only to be used in a work of fiction.” Bird of Prey appeared at the moment when concerns to frame data protection legislation were emerging and fears regarding financial security in a digital environment were mounting, which led eventually to wider global concerns regarding privacy, surveillance, and accountability. Mandy Rice-Davies, of “Profumo Scandal” notoriety, played a small part in the drama. See also SECRET STATE. BLACK, GAVIN (1913–1998). Novelist. Gavin Black was the pseudonym used by Scottish author Oswald Wynd for his highly successful thrillers. He was born in Japan to Baptist missionary parents, held dual British-Japanese nationality, and was educated in Japan, the United States, and at the University of Edinburgh. During World War II, Wynd served in the Scots Guards and later was sent to Malaya with Military Intelligence, attached to the Indian army. He was captured in the jungle, threatened with execution as a “traitor” to Japan due to his part-Japanese nationality, and spent more than three years in a Japanese prison camp in Hokkaido where his fluency in the language was a great help to the prisoners of war. After the conflict, Wynd visited the United States where he entered a “first novel” contest run by the publisher Doubleday. His entry Black Fountains (1947, about a young American-educated Japanese woman embroiled in the war) won him both first prize and the gratifying sum of $20,000. Wynd wrote nearly 20 novels using his own name, but commercial success came with the baker’s dozen of “superior and literate thrillers” he wrote as Gavin Black, featuring the character Paul Harris. The series commenced with Suddenly at Singapore (1961), the point at which Harris is thrust into intrigue following the violent death of his brother, and ran through A Wind of Death (1966), in which Harris is involved with the local U.S. Central Intelligence Agency agent fighting a local communist leader deep in a jungle he doesn’t know; The Golden Cockatrice (1974), in which Harris finds himself in the middle of Russian-Chinese rivalry in Macao; and on to Night Run from Java



(1979), in which the protagonist is involved in ferrying wealthy Chinese out of Java. In these stories, Harris is an unconventional businessman whose family had suffered at the hands of the Japanese. The reader encounters him reestablishing the family business in the Asian market recovering from war, encompassing a territory that stretched from Japan through China, and south to Malaysia and Singapore, where he finds murder, intrigue, and adventure. The mystery The Fatal Shadow (1983) was also published under the name of Gavin Black, but the story did not feature Harris. BLACK-OUT IN GRETLEY. Novel. Black-Out in Gretley is a spy thriller first published in 1942 by the popular author J. B. Priestley. The story is set in January 1942, a period of serious reversals for the Allies in the war and a consequent mood of pessimism, gloom, and weariness. Humphrey Neyland is a British counterespionage agent, born in England but raised in Canada, and in a rather sour mood. He is sent to the industrial town of Gretley in the North Midlands, where he is ostensibly to apply for an engineering job in one of the war factories. In fact, he is detailed to investigate possible sabotage and the worrying trickle of secrets from the region. Over a period of several days, Neyland ingratiates himself into the community. He soon discovers that suspicious activities center on a road house, the Queen of Clubs, with its ostentatiously out-of-place cocktail barman Joe, and a Variety theater, the Hippodrome, with its suspicious continental acrobat Mam’zelle Fifine; it is in these venues that he gets to know some of the characters who will play a part in the adventure. A trail of intrigue and murder leads Neyland to a network of agents working for Nazi Germany. The Queen of Clubs is merely a nest of black marketers; however, more sinister activities are found in a group of fifth columnists headed by the local bigwig Colonel Tarlington, a reactionary who seeks a German victory and his own elevation in a Nazi British state. J. B. Priestley was an important character in wartime Great Britain. As well as a popular writer, he was a figurehead for the leftward shift in social and political attitudes in the country. During the early part of the war, he was a broadcaster of immense popularity and a rival of Winston Churchill in this regard. He wrote tracts (Out of the People, 1941), stories (Daylight on Saturday, 1943), and plays (They Came to a City, 1943), which argued passionately against privilege and promoted the rights of the common man as a wartime aim. Black-Out in Gretley, subtitled A Story of—and for—Wartime, conformed to these themes. Towns such as Gretley are painted as grim, described in a famous passage as “run up as cheaply as possible as moneymaking machines to provide people who never came near the places with country mansions, grouse moors, deer forests, yachts, and winters in Cannes and Monte Carlo.” The parasites that built them “would neither decently die nor come to life.” In contrast stand “the patient people . . . willing if neces-



sary to die for Gretley that had hardly ever come to life for them.” The narrator explodes at one point, expressing his wish that the people “would tear down Gretley and everything like it, throwing the last of its dirty bricks at the retreating gang that had kept them imprisoned there.” Unsurprisingly, given this sentiment, the wartime ally Joseph Stalin and Soviet Russia is given some praise, although this would soon disappear from the spy novel within a few years. Priestley uses the situation of the wartime wintry blackout both dramatically and metaphorically in his story. The theme of darkness is a constant presence in the novel, such that Neyland gropes around the unlit streets of Gretley in search of his quarry; the first-person narrator also informs the reader: “Here, behind the dark curtain of the black-out, was deeper evil within evil.” Black-Out in Gretley bears comparison in this respect with the film Contraband (1940), while the figure of the treacherous local bigwig is reprised in the Ealing film Went the Day Well? (1942). Two later novels of intrigue by Priestley are Saturn over the Water (1961) and The Shapes of Sleep (1962). See also SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. BLADE ON THE FEATHER. Television drama. Blade on the Feather, shot on location on the Isle of Wight, produced at London Weekend Television and first broadcast in 1980, is the second single-play drama on the theme of espionage and treachery written by Dennis Potter. It followed the acclaimed Traitor of 1971 and deals with the elderly, reclusive, reactionary, and authoritarian Professor Cavendish (Donald Pleasence), a former Cambridge scholar who is working on his memoirs. A mysterious visitor, Daniel Young (Tom Conti), ingratiates himself with Cavendish’s wife and daughter and is invited to stay for dinner. During the meal, the conversation turns unexpectedly to the Cambridge Spies, Burgess, Philby, and Maclean; it is clearly an awkward moment for the professor as later it is revealed that he recruited them for the Soviets at university. That night Young secretively seduces the daughter, and the following day he steps uninvited into the shower with the wife, where later she is found brutally murdered. The various events are overseen by the gun-toting mock butler, Jack Hill (Denholm Elliott), a servant yet guardian figure, and intimate of Cavendish. At high tea, Young reveals his true identity as Cartwright, the son of a Foreign Office official who had been murdered while escorting a Soviet defector and who had been betrayed by Cavendish. Under the guise of retribution, the younger Cartwright intimidates Cavendish into taking his own life. However, in a final twist, it is revealed to Hill, in fact a Soviet minder, that Cartwright is a KGB agent and Cavendish had to be eliminated before his memoirs—his “confession”—reached the wrong hands; additionally, Hill is made aware that Mrs.



Cavendish had been an MI6 sleeper agent placed on the inside to discover what she could. The drama is repeatedly punctuated by ominous claps of thunder. “Blade on the feather” is a line from the famous “Eton Boating Song,” which is briefly sung in the drama by Cavendish and Hill, and has been chosen by Potter to comment on the traditional status of Eton as the training ground for Great Britain’s wealthy and privileged elite. Revealingly, the traitors Cavendish, Hill, and Young/Cartwright all attended Eton. A key speech is given to Cavendish in the final confrontation with Cartwright in the summer house. Asked about his patriotism, Cavendish observes that he was “born into a class that loves only what it owns. And we don’t own quite enough of it anymore.” As he emphasizes: “That is why all of the renowned traitors came from my class.” In a corruption of the famous saying, Cavendish informs Cartwright that “the English have lost more battles on the playing fields of Eton than on any other acre of land this side of Vladivostok.” With Blade on the Feather, Potter wanted to convey “something about my sense of the decay of English life, of it being an overripe plum ready to fall— if not already rotting on the ground.” A review in the New York Times described the play as a “John le Carré thriller as arranged by Harold Pinter,” and this neatly captures the unorthodox, provocative, and eccentric qualities of the drama, one which the critic labels a “quite bizarre and compelling tale.” The review in the Guardian praised the drama as “rich in imagery, lavish in cast, seething with scenery and writhing with treachery.” Blade on the Feather incorporates many of the themes and devices associated with Potter’s work: the arrival of a sinister stranger; class and family betrayal; a forceful defense of England, married to a critique of the British class system; and an unconventional format, here a murder mystery played out in an English country house. Reviewers tended to see the Cavendish character as an analogue of the donnish Anthony Blunt, who had been exposed as a spy in the previous year. See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. BLOOD MONEY. Television drama series. Blood Money is a terrorist thriller series consisting of six 30-minute episodes devised by the writer Arden Winch, produced at the BBC and broadcast in 1981. It forms the first part of a loose trilogy with Skorpion (1983) and Cold Warrior (1984), each drama series featuring the character of Captain Percival (Michael Denison) of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). Blood Money concerns the kidnapping of the child of the administrator general for the United Nations by the Workers’ Revolutionary Army Council, a terrorist cell, and his ransom for ₤1 million and a series of political demands. The police operation to retrieve the boy is led by Chief Superintendent Meadows (Bernard Hepton) of the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch, popularly known at the time as “The Bomb Squad,” but he reluctantly has to accept the involvement of Captain Percival



of SIS. The drama is a tense examination of the Squad’s painstaking investigation to identify the gang and the whereabouts of the boy. Meadows insists on a wholly legal and humane operation, but his plans are undermined by Percival, who, with official backing, requires that the terrorists are given no opportunity to make political propaganda and are eliminated at the point of their arrest by a unit of the Special Air Service (SAS). The drama is focused and intense, points to the tension between the duly constituted police force and the covert Intelligence Service, and doesn’t shy from showing the underhanded methods employed by MI6. The Metropolitan Anti-Terrorist Branch had been formed in the 1970s in response to the outrages of the Irish Republican Army. The drama had originally been titled Blood Royal and the kidnap victim had been envisaged as the “Earl of Balmoral,” a distant claimant for the throne. However, there were complaints from Buckingham Palace, and the production and its broadcast were delayed while script and character changes were made. There had been an armed kidnapping attempt on Princess Anne in Pall Mall in 1974, and the royal family was understandably nervous about a fiction that dramatized a terrorist threat. Blood Money gathered some good notices: The Daily Telegraph judged it “just about the best thriller the box has come up with for ages: tense, detailed, credible.” Skorpion is another thriller by Arden Winch dealing with terrorism and similarly consists of six 30-minute episodes and first broadcast in 1983. The drama commences with an assassination attempt on the life of Gabrielle (Marianne Borgo), a senior French international aid worker, and during an effort to flee, her light plane crash lands in Scotland. The Metropolitan AntiTerrorist Branch, now headed by Chief Superintendent Franks (Terrence Hardiman), is directed to the scene where it is joined by Captain Percival, who explains that Gabrielle is a reformed terrorist now being sought by her former cell for elimination. The investigation is a race against time to locate the French woman before the ruthless assassin Constant Delangre (Neville Jason) can complete his assignment. In a tense finale, Delangre is shot by Percival at the moment the assassin has Gabrielle in the sights of his hunting rifle. The celebration of the Anti-Terrorist Branch officers is cut short when information is provided through MI5 that Agatha, the old friend who is providing refuge for Gabrielle, is also a former member of the terrorist cell, and Franks and his team arrive too late to prevent the older woman from killing both her former colleague and herself. The “Skorpion” of the title is the Czech-made machine pistol favored by the terrorist group in the drama. The review in the Daily Express passed over the drama as “serious, middleof-the-road thriller stuff.” Cold Warrior, again devised by Arden Winch, was broadcast in 1984 and consists of eight 30-minute dramas, each dealing with a different case involving the patrician Captain Percival and his assistants Danny (Dean Harris) and Jo (Lucy Fleming) at an unnamed, covert intelligence unit. “Bright Sting”



deals with a Soviet attempt to acquire the latest British missile system; “Dead Wrong,” with a murdered journalist who had uncovered a conspiracy; “The Immigrants,” with an assassination attempt on the Israeli foreign minister; and “The Sprat,” with a defector from the KGB. Radio Times referred to the stories as yarns, and, given their short running time, a series that “moves so fast that it does not have time to worry about little things like plausibility.” Other reviewers found the drama amiable, but old-fashioned: “a geriatric version of James Bond” was the view at the Daily Star, while The Times noted a technique belonging to the “pre-Dallas era.” One of the interesting features of the three series is the rivalry between the Secret Intelligence Service and the Security Service, something that was common knowledge in Whitehall, and the healthy suspicion of both by the legitimate police service. BLUNT. Television drama. Blunt was broadcast in 1987 as part of the BBC’s prestigious single-play drama strand Screen Two. It deals with the circumstances surrounding the flight of the diplomats Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean in 1951, and therefore covers similar territory as the earlier television drama Philby, Burgess & Maclean (1977), the culmination of what has been termed the “golden age” of Soviet intelligence operations in Great Britain. However, the arrangement is quite different as it concentrates on the three characters of Guy Burgess (Anthony Hopkins), a minor Foreign Office official; Anthony Blunt (Ian Richardson), surveyor of the King’s Pictures; and Goronwy Rees (Michael Williams), a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford University. The screening commences with a series of newspaper headlines dealing with the shock unmasking of Blunt as a Soviet spy in 1979. The story then flashes back to May 1951 as Burgess reacquaints himself with Blunt, having returned from Washington in disgrace. The men are former lovers and still retain a strong bond of affection. The Foreign Office diplomat Donald Maclean is about to be exposed as a traitor, and Blunt instructs Burgess to convince Maclean to defect to Moscow. As arrangements are being made, Burgess confides in his one-time friend and former communist Goronwy Rees. Rees’s wife becomes suspicious, and Goronwy is forced to tell her the truth. Blunt is shocked to discover that Burgess has accompanied Maclean to Russia, leaving him in a highly compromised position. Following the disappearance of Burgess and Maclean, Rees is called into MI5 for questioning, and to cover his own back Blunt cleverly casts doubt onto Rees’s character and loyalty. Blunt was written by Roger Chapman, who had a Cambridge University background and had recently written the play One of Us, which had been staged at Greenwich and similarly dealt with Blunt. The television drama takes the unusual point of focus of Blunt and his later unmasking in the late 1970s in treating the story of the defection of Burgess and Maclean. Producer



Martin Thompson commented on this decision, explaining, “We shall use the events of 1979 as a way into the story and look at the episode that caused it a bit more coolly. That does not mean condoning what he did, but it will include his point-of-view.” While Thomson claims to have conducted over 80 interviews with relatives and people who knew Blunt, the drama plays fairly freely with the historical facts and attributes a far greater role to Blunt in the affair. One reviewer refers to the “dramatic hypotheses” of the film, which make Blunt a more important Soviet spy than previously thought, put Blunt on much closer terms with Burgess than ever admitted, and stress Blunt’s emotional devastation and professional betrayal as a spy. With the Blunt affair still a sensitive subject, the drama attracted some criticism regarding historical inaccuracy: the eminent intelligence historian Christopher Andrew noted that Blunt “rewrites the history of 1951” and is in poor contrast with Alan Bennett’s An Englishman Abroad (1983), which showed “scrupulous respect for the historical record”; and the art historian and apologist Brian Sewell claimed a “grotesque caricature” of his former tutor. A main source for the dramatic interpretation was Goronwy Rees’s A Chapter of Accidents (1972), and this furnishes the essential material for the play concerning friendship, patriotism, and betrayal. In particular, it has Blunt referring to the famous remarks of E. M. Forster: “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” Rees finds it near impossible to explain to his wife why he owes loyalty to such an unpleasant figure as Burgess, and Blunt cannot forgive Rees for his eventual act of betrayal to a former friend and an ideal. The play was broadcast in the United States as Blunt: The Fourth Man, for which a preface was added explaining the background of the characters. Unfortunately, it erroneously listed Burgess and Maclean as members of British Intelligence rather than as diplomats, and it overconfidently claimed Blunt recruited Burgess and Maclean to communism, when it was more likely, as Blunt’s biographer claimed, that the art historian was recruited by Burgess as late as 1936. The controversial Goronwy Rees, who had severed links with the Reds after the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939, played the telling role in the Cambridge Spies saga of informing on Blunt during his own interrogation by MI5 in 1951; later, Rees put the journalist Andrew Boyle onto Blunt, which led to the art historian’s public exposure in 1979. Recent evidence emerged that during World War II Burgess offered to kill Rees, whom he now considered a security threat, but was turned down by his Soviet handlers. See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS.

BOGARDE, SIR DIRK (1921–1999)


BOGARDE, SIR DIRK (1921–1999). Actor. Bogarde was born into an artistic family. He studied commercial art for a while at Chelsea Polytechnic, scene-painted a few theatrical productions, and made the odd casual stage appearance. During the war, Bogarde was conscripted into the Army Intelligence Photographic Unit as an interpreter of aerial reconnaissance pictures and served in Europe and the Far East. Following demobilization, the young actor secured a contract with the Rank Organisation, starring in the period drama Esther Waters (1948), as a speedway rider in Once a Jolly Swagman (1949), and opposite Jean Simmons in the mystery drama So Long at the Fair (1950). Although a smaller part, Bogarde had great impact playing the young psychotic hood Riley in Ealing’s social problem drama The Blue Lamp (1950). In the early 1950s, Bogarde slowly built his stellar career in crime, comedy, and war pictures such as The Woman in Question (1950), Appointment in London (1953), They Who Dare (1954), Doctor in the House (1954), and Ill Met by Moonlight (1957), and in worthy literary adaptations like A Tale of Two Cities and The Doctor’s Dilemma (both 1958). Bogarde aimed to reinvent himself for a more discerning cinema audience and took more challenging roles in Victim (1961), Darling (1965), and The Fixer (1968). However, Bogarde’s most important performances in this period were undoubtedly in the films he made with Joseph Losey: The Servant (1963), King and Country (1964), and Accident (1967). Bogarde’s was a common face in spy films of the 1960s and 1970s. The thoughtful Cold War thriller The Mind Benders (1963) dealt with experiments in sensory deprivation and brainwashing, and cast Bogarde as a scientist who undertakes a “terminal experiment” to test the resistance of a subject to mind manipulation. The star saw in the subject “another brave new effort to disturb, illuminate and educate,” and was therefore disappointed with the poor critical reaction to the film. The comedy spy film Hot Enough for June (1964) had Bogarde as an innocent writer sent to Prague who gets embroiled in espionage. The film was a letdown for many critics; however, the reviewer at the Guardian judged that Bogarde parodied the secret agent myth “rather well”, and the reviewer at Films and Filming had “nothing but admiration” for the actor, believing him “very noble” to do films which “demand nothing more than be his charming self.” The spoof Modesty Blaise (1966) reunited the actor with the great filmmaker Joseph Losey, but the film was not a success. While it was widely felt that Losey was out of his métier with comedy, the critic at the Guardian judged that “Bogarde takes over the screen on every appearance. Here is a cinema actor, becoming greater with each film, in obvious sympathy with an equally understanding director.” Bogarde’s portrayal of the master criminal Gabriel was acknowledged as “the gayest performance in the history of cinema up to that point” by the U.S. magazine The Advocate. Sebastian (1968) cast Bogarde as a brilliant code



breaker in a swinging 1960s romp. Kine Weekly noted that “Dirk Bogarde gives an incisive performance as the brilliant Sebastian and manages to reveal the man behind the genius”; the Observer recorded that “Bogarde manages to inhabit the special sense of jaded weariness of the character, an intellectual who describes himself as ‘a septic tank for all the world’s nasty secrets.’” Permission to Kill (1975), an Austrian-British coproduction, was poorly received, but the Guardian noted that Bogarde, playing a jaded British operative for Western intelligence, was the only actor to say his lines with any conviction. Bogarde also featured in the French spy film Le Serpent (1973, known as Night Flight to Moscow in the United States). Bogarde focused his later career on the European art film and worked with such eminent directors as Luchino Visconti on The Damned (Italy, 1969) and Death in Venice (Italy, 1971), Liliana Cavani on the controversial The Night Porter (Italy, 1974), Alain Resnais on Providence (France, 1977), Rainer Werner Fassbinder on Despair (Germany, 1978), and Bertrand Tavernier on Daddy Nostalgia (France, 1990). The reclusive Bogarde slowly withdrew from cinema, turning instead to a very successful career as a writer, publishing seven volumes of autobiography and six novels. He was both knighted and received the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992. See also MASCULINITY. BOND, JAMES. Series character. The secret agent James Bond initially appeared in the novels of Ian Fleming, commencing with Casino Royale, which appeared in April 1953, and first came to the cinema screen a decade later with Dr. No in October 1962. Fleming wrote 12 novels and two collections of short stories, published between 1953 and 1966. Initially, the author experienced only modest commercial and critical success, with Casino Royale selling around 13,000 copies in Great Britain in two imprints but considerably less in the United States, where there was a struggle to find a publisher. The author began to achieve greater success with the stories once they began to be issued in mass market paperback editions later in the 1950s, and a measure of their popularity was the appearance of Casino Royale and From Russia with Love as strip cartoons in the Daily Express newspaper in 1957. A hugely significant endorsement of the Bond adventures came in 1961, when the man of the moment President Kennedy included From Russia with Love in his list of 10 favorites for bedside reading. Following the appearance of the first James Bond movie in 1962, the sales of the books exploded; the popular fictional character of the secret agent designated 007 and issued with a “license to kill” became a cultural phenomenon, one of the most widely recognized figures of the 20th century.



The character of James Bond was one calculated to appeal to a public still suffering the privations of austerity following World War II. As Ben Macintyre expressed it, “here was a man dining on champagne and caviar, enjoying guiltless sex, glamorous foreign travel, and an apparently unlimited expense account.” The figure of 007 has also been seen as one of reassurance, a potent symbol of national vitality and patriotism at a time of imperial and international decline for Britain, and a counterbalance to the disturbing “pathologies” of ethnicity and sexuality, which hung over the popular perceptions of espionage following World War II and the notorious spy cases of the Rosenbergs, the “Red Spy Queen” Elizabeth Bentley, and the Cambridge Spies. There were, of course, rejections of the crudities of the secret agent. The sociologist Joan Rockwell, writing in 1971, complained of “the unspeakable James Bond,” a character who “reverts to the social morality of Kipling’s Empire, the personal morality of the toughest American private-eye and gangster literature, and the most vulgar possible one-up-manship in material possessions and their conspicuous consumption.” The respected writer of espionage stories John le Carré has been a vocal critic of the James Bond characterization, once calling him an “obscene caricature of an intelligence operator.” However, other critics have pointed to an “aura of exaggeration and irony” in the writing; that the stories should not be taken too seriously; a quality many readers were aware of and enjoyed, simply not taking “such heroics straight.” The initial novels from Casino Royale to Goldfinger (1959) are more obviously Cold War narratives where Bond is up against some despicable Soviet plot involving SMERSH, a state organ responsible for counterespionage and assassination, and most apparent in From Russia with Love (1957). In most stories, the conspiracy is usually orchestrated by a colorful villain such as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, Mr. Big in Live and Let Die (1954), the eponymous title character in Dr. No (1958), and Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger. Commencing with Thunderball (1961), the stories began to pit 007 against the non-aligned SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, T errorism, Revenge and Extortion)—“evil unconstrained by ideology” as one critic expressed it—and once again in plots headed by a fantastic master villain, such as Largo in Thunderball, and Ernst Stavro Blofeld in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963) and You Only Live Twice (1964). The series of adventure films featuring James Bond has been remarkably enduring and popular. The films tend to be more upbeat in mood than the novels, with a greater sense of humor and a lighter tone. They tend to lack the moral complexity modestly present in Fleming’s published stories, substituting in its stead a much greater quotient of action in which the superagent unambiguously battles undiluted evil in an effort to bring the free world back from the brink of disaster. The James Bond films were put together by Eon Productions, established by two North American producers, Albert “Cubby”



Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, who had each independently carved out a presence in the British film industry. Eon fortuitously secured backing from United Artists at a time when the Hollywood company was seeking to expand its investment in British productions. There was considerable interest in who should play the charismatic secret agent, and Fleming’s preference lay with more traditional Hollywood performers like David Niven or Cary Grant. Both of these expensive stars were, in fact, beyond the relatively modest budget of around $950,000 for Dr. No. So the role went to the comparatively unknown Scottish actor Sean Connery, who had the advantage of being younger and fitter, and, crucially as it would turn out, could bring to the character a certain classlessness, turning Bond into an icon of the modernizing 1960s and banishing Fleming’s clubland hero archetype of the inter-war period. The surprising commercial success of Dr. No inevitably led onto a series, and From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964, the first big success of the series in the United States), Thunderball (1965), and You Only Live Twice (1967), produced with progressively higher budgets, cemented the formula of exotic locations, master villains bent on world domination, thrilling pre-credit sequences, an array of lightly clad, beautiful young women, large sets and action set pieces, and increasingly sophisticated technology used by both the antagonists in their subversive activities and by Bond in his counterespionage work. Important subsidiary characters, mostly inherited from the novels, such as M, the head of MI6; Q, the special equipment officer; Miss Moneypenny, M’s secretary; and Felix Leiter, Bond’s liaison in the Central Intelligence Agency, were also crucial in maintaining a sense of continuity for the series. Critics were largely indifferent to the Bond films; Arthur Knight at the Saturday Review dismissed Dr. No as “the best bad film of the year.” Connery, an actor of some ambition, eventually tired of the limiting role and the unceasing attention that it brought him. The Australian George Lazenby was unsuccessfully tried in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), and Connery was enticed back for Diamonds Are Forever (1971). However, the new James Bond for the 1970s emerged in the form of Roger Moore, an actor who had found stardom on television in action series like The Saint (TV 1962–69) and The Persuaders! (TV 1971–72). Moore would feature in seven Bond films, beginning with Live and Let Die (1973) and culminating in A View to a Kill (1985), and offered a more laid-back, less intense portrayal of the secret agent. In particular, he became associated with humorous quips and one-liners that softened the excessive violence of the films, which had troubled some commentators, but critics sensed a surrendering of narrative gravity in the approach and a shift toward self-parody. Initially, the Roger Moore films were not particularly successful, but budget enhancements on The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979) leading to even more



spectacular action resulted in two of the most successful Bond films. The emphasis on high-speed chases, gadgets, and stunts in these pictures, along with the obvious referencing of contemporary popular action films such as Jaws (U.S., 1975) and Star Wars (U.S., 1977), led some critics to complain of the juvenilization of the franchise and the abandonment of the “serious adult audience.” Following The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), Harry Saltzman sold his shares in Eon Productions, and the company has remained in the hands of the Broccoli family since that time. Timothy Dalton, who took on the Bond role in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989), was in complete contrast to Moore. The films were announced as a return to the temper of the novels, darker in tone, and the characterization more intense and brooding. Dalton had a reputation as an actor, not an action performer, and the films became more serious and introspective, a little closer to the realistic spy fiction of John le Carré and Len Deighton. The films were only modestly successful, and a legal wrangle between producer Broccoli and the distributor MGM/UA led to a hiatus in production and Dalton took the opportunity to move on. When the series returned with Goldeneye in 1995, it was with even greater thrills, more explosions, more destructive chase sequences, and a faster pace, bringing it into alignment with the contemporary action blockbuster, which itself owed so much to the Bond original. Agent 007 was now played by the Irish actor Pierce Brosnan, best known for his work in the U.S. television series Remington Steele (U.S. TV, 1982–87). Brosnan reintroduced the urbanity of the character, replacing Dalton’s pangs of uncertainty and doubt with a preening vanity, offering an audience-pleasing blend of snobbery with violence. The four Brosnan films, ending with Die Another Day (2002), were extremely successful in re-presenting Bond for the multiplex generation and had to respond to a postcommunist Russia and a fundamental gender realignment, which has a woman elevated to the role of M (Judi Dench). The most recent incarnation of Bond has been Daniel Craig, the first actor to play the secret agent who was born after the commencement of the film series and after the death of Ian Fleming. Craig, in fact, won over doubting critics and audiences in his first outing in Casino Royale (2006), which proved the most successful Bond film to date. This film was a recuperative “return to basics” for James Bond, after what many felt had been an “excessive” treatment and overplay of computer-generated imagery in Die Another Day, and further offered a “conspicuous refusal of irony,” which had long attached itself to the series. Quantum of Solace (2008) was less enthusiastically received by the critics, but proved only slightly less popular. The series was for a period on indefinite hold as complicated financial and legal issues surrounded MGM, which has a stake in the series; however, the latest Bond film, Skyfall, was released in November 2012 and quickly established itself



as the highest-grossing James Bond film in the series. It is the first James Bond film to exceed $1 billion at the box office, and the most successful film at the British box office in history. The 23 James Bond films produced by Eon have realized an estimated $6 billion at the box office, making it the second most successful franchise in cinema history. As well as the lead actors and producers, a number of creative technicians have made a significant contribution to the series: directors Terence Young (three films), Guy Hamilton (four films), Lewis Gilbert (three films), and John Glen (five films); screenwriter Richard Maibaum (13 films); composers John Barry (12 films) and David Arnold (five films); editors Peter Hunt (three films) and John Glen (three films); and production designer Ken Adam (seven films). There have been two James Bond films produced away from Eon, based on texts that did not fall under that company’s tight control: Casino Royale (1967) was a shambolic spoof appropriately featuring David Niven as a Bond brought out of retirement, while Never Say Never Again (1983) allowed Sean Connery to reprise his star-making role and was a popular success. In 2006, it was intriguingly revealed that Ian Fleming had attempted to promote a series of James Bond films in 1959, writing to fellow spy novelist Eric Ambler to act as intermediary and approach his friend, the filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, to see if he were interested in directing a movie adaptation of one of the stories. The character of James Bond has continued his adventures in stories, officially endorsed by the Ian Fleming estate, authored by Robert Markham (one novel), Christopher Wood (two novelizations), John Gardner (14 novels), Raymond Benson (six novels), Sebastian Faulks (one novel), Jeffrey Deaver (one novel), and William Boyd (one novel). A novel titled The Adventures of James Bond Junior 003½ appeared in 1967 dealing with the nephew of the secret agent, while a series of adventures featuring a juvenile James Bond, a pupil at the famous Eton College, has been written by Charlie Higson. The character of Miss Moneypenny has appeared in the series of three novels by Kate Westbrook known as “The Moneypenny Diaries”: Guardian Angel (2005), Secret Servant (2006), and Final Fling (2008). It has been suggested that the Soviets took James Bond seriously as a potent figure of propaganda and in the mid-1960s, in an effort to reduce the “spy fiction gap,” commissioned the Bulgarian author A. Gulyashki to write Avakum Zakhov Versus 007 (1966) in which a Russian hero defeats James Bond. The iconic James Bond has been associated with a large variety of products, toys, fragrances, and novelty items, and the film series has been a model with its intensive merchandizing of the modern film franchise, which has developed in the cinema industry since the 1960s. An article in a recent marketing magazine stated that “James Bond is by now less a figure of



fiction conjured up from Ian Fleming’s imagination than a consumerist phantasm, a glittering screen on which it is possible to project almost anything.” See also MASCULINITY; WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. BRAINWASHING. A series of shocking events brought the seeming power and manifest danger of brainwashing to public attention in the Western democracies during the 1950s and served to illustrate what Allen Dulles, director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), came to term the “Battle for Men’s Minds.” National humiliation attended the refusal of 23 American GIs captured by the communists during the Korean War to return home and opt to stay behind the “Bamboo Curtain.” It was immediately assumed that the men had been subjected to intense indoctrination, were not acting according to free will, and, in the view of the New York Times, offered “living proof that communist brainwashing does work on some persons.” The political and cultural anxiety engendered by concern over brainwashing was reflected for Americans in a variety of imaginative fictions of the period, the best known being Richard Condon’s novel The Manchurian Candidate (1959) and John Frankenheimer’s subsequent film of 1963. While the response to mind control was more muted in Cold War Great Britain, the issue of brainwashing did figure in ideological and cultural frameworks. While there was some concern regarding indoctrination and treasonable behavior following the repatriation of British prisoners of war (POWs) after the Korean War in 1953, there was nothing like the panic that developed in the United States; only one British soldier, Andrew M. Condron of the Royal Marines, opted to stay in China. There was sufficient concern, though, for the authorities to prepare the training film Captured in 1959, which shows British POWs enduring brainwashing and torture during the Korean War, thereby revealing what a modern soldier could expect if he was ever captured by the communists. Shortly after, in the early 1960s, the subject of brainwashing filled the headlines of British newspapers following revelations that came out of the spy scandal involving George Blake, who, as vice consul in Seoul, had been held prisoner in Korea and subjected to indoctrination by the communists. Concerns regarding mind manipulation found topical expression in a number of minor British pictures of the 1950s, productions like the thriller The Master Plan (1954), the science fiction The Gamma People (1955), and the drama The Blue Peter (1954), which featured a merchant seaman returning from Korea where he had been subjected to indoctrination. The first film to treat brainwashing in a scientifically serious and extended manner was Basil Dearden and Michael Relph’s The Mind Benders (1963), which dealt with experiments in the reduction of sensation at an Oxford University laboratory



and the related treachery of a top research scientist. An investigation reveals that the research professor had not been acting according to free will when he had shared secrets with the Soviets. Brainwashing was also a central concern of Len Deighton’s The Ipcress File (1962). The brainwashing theme is given greater prominence in the screen version of 1965, which has intelligence agent Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) investigating a perplexing series of defections or sudden incapacitations of top scientists, which is creating a brain drain in the British scientific establishment. During the investigation, Palmer is captured and subjected to the very brainwashing techniques that he is seeking to expose. Deighton graces the process with the fictional though scientifically impressive sounding title “Experimental Induction of Psychoneuroses in Personality and Behavioral Disorders,” or “Ipcress.” The technique is the opposite of isolation, and Palmer is subjected to sensory overload. Strapped to a chair in a suspended chamber, he is forced to listen to atonal electronic sounds while psychedelic images are projected onto all the surfaces of the room that contains him. This leads to what appears to be a hypnotic state, at which point the subject is available for persuasion. The dramatic potential of thought control led to its appearance in several drama series on British television in the 1960s and early 1970s. Action shows were not noted for their realism and, arguably, were attracted to the activity of brainwashing due to its modish character. This can be seen in the case of The Champions (ITC, 1968–69) and its fantastic treatment of the theme, which involves the granting of superpowers to three agents who serve the cause of international security, thus enabling them to defeat the enemies of peace in a series of adventures. The most mechanistic model of human programming occurred in the children’s puppet series Joe 90 (Century 21 TV, 1968–69), in which an innocent-seeming nine-year-old boy is provided with new brain patterns enabling him to serve as an agent for the World Intelligence Network. Brainwashing provided two story lines for the adventure series Department S (ITC, 1969–70) in the episodes “Six Days” and “A Ticket to Nowhere,” although neither showed much interest in either scientific or dramatic credibility. “Someone Like Me,” an episode of The Persuaders! (ITC, 1971–72), has Lord Brett Sinclair (Roger Moore) brainwashed as part of a plot to claim an inheritance from a businessman through murder. The Prisoner (ITC, 1967–68) was a series notable for its ambiguity, selfconsciousness, and paranoia, and drew aspects of its iconography and its theme of social conditioning from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). The principal concern of the drama was the extraction of information from the central character of a secret agent, Number 6 (Patrick McGoohan), incarcerated by a sinister authority in an isolated community. He is subjected to a variety of invasions of his mind, including drug-induced visualizations, lie detection, subliminal suggestion, induced regression, and mind transfer—



all presented as therapy designed to bring about conformity and to make him reveal why he resigned from an Intelligence Service. Man in a Suitcase (ITC, 1967–68) was more realistic than the typical action series of the 1960s. In the episode “Brainwashed,” former CIA operative McGill (Richard Bradford), now working as a freelance detective, is kidnapped by a deposed reactionary white president of an African colony who attempts to brainwash him into admitting and revealing the role of the Anglo-American Secret Services in orchestrating the uprising. The method of extracting a confession owes much to the approach in The Ipcress File, with McGill subjected to intense sensory overload centered on visual and auditory stimulation. Having reduced the subject to a confused and disorientated state, the objective switches to that of suggestibility and persuadability, as McGill is persistently fed thoughts and impulses, accompanied by disorientating visuals and psychedelic sounds. These are meant to lead him to assassinate Davies, who seeks to be martyred and have his cause revived. Callan (ABC TV, Thames, 1967–72) was also more realistic in its approach, and in the episode “That’ll Be the Day” (1972), the agent Callan (Edward Woodward) is a prisoner of the KGB and interrogated to make him talk. It is a long and brutal business involving drugs and threats, which, the Russian psychiatrist calmly tells him, will make him insane if he resists. A similar approach to interrogation and mental coercion as messy, imprecise, and dangerous is taken in the motion picture Callan (1974), during which Callan is invited to look over the handiwork of Dr. Snell of the British Security Service. A troublesome gangster has been subjected to hypnosis and hallucinogens in order to induce memory loss, and Callan is appalled to see the state to which the prisoner has been reduced and, in particular, to learn that some kind of brain damage is inevitable. The theme of brainwashing began to disappear from spy dramas in the later 1970s. One of its final appearances was in the interesting BBC television drama series The Ωmega Factor (1979), in which a psychic investigator for a covert security organization uncovers diabolical research into sensory deprivation at a secret installation in France. The theme of brainwashing continued in some novels. In Pay Any Price (1983) by Ted Allbeury, the British cynically use the expertise developed by the CIA in mind manipulation to program killers to take out troublesome Irish Republican Army terrorists, and an MI6 officer who is disgusted by the callous disregard for ethics and humanity is casually murdered by the security forces as an inconvenience and threat. And in Clive Egleton’s Backfire (1979), a Special Air Service officer is deranged into thinking he is in Siberia following experiments with psychedelic drugs at a secret establishment in Scotland, and must be stopped. In Britain, a disturbing series of spy scandals provided a distinct context for a new critical attitude in spy fiction, and we see this dynamic in the spy stories featuring brainwashing, for both The Mind Benders and The Ipcress



File are centrally concerned with traitors and treachery. Number 6 in The Prisoner is incarcerated and interrogated by a suspicious and vindictive service, while McGill in Man in a Suitcase, once his usefulness is expended, is cast aside by the CIA as a convenient scapegoat. David Callan, at the point of insanity at the hands of the KGB, is begrudgingly exchanged for a Soviet agent, with British officers complaining that it was a poor deal. The film version of Callan, in its harrowing scene of the extreme to which the senior officers of British Intelligence are prepared to go in tyrannizing the mind, is a graphic representation of menticide. However, in this case it is the British, not the Soviets, who are murdering the mind. BROSNAN, PIERCE (1953– ). Actor. Brosnan was born in Navan, County Meath, Ireland, and moved to London at the age of 11. At 20, he enrolled at the Oval House and continued his studies at the Drama Centre in London. After graduation, Brosnan performed in several West End stage productions, including Franco Zeffirelli’s Fulimena and Tennessee Williams’s The Red Devil Battery Sign at the Theatre Royal, York, and acted in some minor film and television work. Brosnan relocated to Los Angeles in 1982 and found success in the popular crime series Remington Steele (1982–87). Brosnan has been a popular and busy star of film and television, appearing in such varied productions as Around the World in 80 Days (U.S. TV, 1989), Mars Attacks! (U.S., 1996), The Thomas Crown Affair (U.S., 1999), and Mama Mia! (U.S./ UK, 2008). The actor has featured in a number of spy dramas. These began with The Fourth Protocol (1987), an adaptation of the Frederick Forsyth thriller in which he played the dedicated and ruthless Russian KGB agent sent to England to assemble and detonate a small nuclear device, the shock of which is calculated to wreck the Western security alliance. Brosnan had been expected to step into the role of James Bond following the departure of Roger Moore in 1986, but contractual obligations kept him tied to Remington Steele. The actor eventually signed to a four-picture deal to play 007 and first appeared in Goldeneye in 1995, a popular and critical success and the commercially most successful Bond film to date. Brosnan’s contribution to the franchise was considerable, resurrecting the character after a hiatus of six years following complicated legal wrangling and reinvigorating the series. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), and Die Another Day (2002) were all among the leading box office successes of the James Bond cycle; Brosnan was credited for his suave portrayal, and the films were praised for returning the Bond franchise to the distinctive generic identity of the Bond formula and for keeping pace with contemporary action cinema. Brosnan had proved beyond doubt that he was the “Bond for the ’90s.” Subsequently, critics have not been so kind to the star, finding his

BUCHAN, JOHN (1875–1940)


Bond “smug and smarmy,” lacking in physical threat, “a sort-of strangely flat Roger Moore,” and concluding: “What once appeared to be insouciant cool now comes across as sheer laziness.” In 2004, Brosnan voiced the character of James Bond in the video game Everything or Nothing. In July 2003, Queen Elizabeth II awarded Brosnan an honorary OBE for his “outstanding contribution to the British film industry”; as an Irishman, the actor was not eligible to receive the full honor. BUCHAN, JOHN (1875–1940). Novelist and statesman. John Buchan was born at Perth, Scotland, the eldest child of a Scottish minister; he studied at Glasgow and Oxford Universities and took to writing poetry and criticism at a young age. Talented and hardworking, he became an eminent figure of the first half of the 20th century, as a writer of history, biography, and popular novels; as a public servant; and as a statesman. Initially a barrister, Buchan went to the Cape in 1901, during the latter stages of the Anglo-Boer War, as assistant to Lord Milner, the high commissioner of South Africa. Back in Great Britain, he served Nelsons, the Edinburgh firm of publishers, and became the Unionist candidate for Peeblesshire and Selkirk. In May 1935, Buchan was knighted, in June 1935 he was ennobled as Lord Tweedsmuir, and in November 1935 he was appointed governor general and commander in chief of the militia and naval and air forces of Canada. During World War I, Buchan was attached to the headquarters of the British army in France with the rank of temporary lieutenant colonel and, later, served in the Intelligence Corps. In the latter stages of the war, he was made director of Information and then director of Intelligence by Prime Minister Lloyd George, appointments and responsibilities still shrouded in some mystery. During the war period, Buchan met an impressive young army officer, Edmund Ironside, who, it was later claimed, provided a model for the author’s series character of Richard Hannay. John Buchan’s social circle, political outlook, and experience of South Africa and eventually of intelligence in World War I, all figured in his popular suspense stories. The first of these was The Power-House, initially published in serial form in Blackwood’s Magazine in 1913 and later as a novel in 1916. In this story, Edward Leithen, a barrister and member of Parliament, confronts an international anarchist organization led by the rich Englishman Andrew Lumley. A dominant theme of Buchan’s literature, that of the fragility of civilization, first appears in The Power-House, when Lumley utters the famous line: “You think that a wall as solid as the earth separates civilisation from barbarism. I tell you the division is a thread, a sheet of glass.” Buchan’s best-known thrillers were the adventures featuring Richard Hannay, initially a colonial from the Cape but, in the later stories, configured more as a “muscular Christian squire” with a deep love of the English countryside. These commenced with the classic The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915),


BUCHAN, JOHN (1875–1940)

one of the most influential spy stories of all time, and proceeded with the novels Greenmantle (1916), Mr. Steadfast (1919), The Three Hostages (1924), and The Island of Sheep (1936). Buchan’s stories have been felt to be more realistic and better written than such “blood and thunder” contemporaries as William Le Queux and E. Phillips Oppenheim. Graham Greene claimed The Thirty-Nine Steps to be the “pattern for adventure stories ever since” and Buchan to be “the first to realize the enormous dramatic value of adventure in familiar surroundings happening to unadventurous men, Members of Parliament and members of the Athenaeum, lawyers and barristers, business men and minor peers: murder in ‘the atmosphere of breeding and simplicity and stability.’” Overall, Buchan was important for his integration of the tradition of the narrative adventure and the amateur colonial gentleman hero with contemporary international espionage. However, Buchan’s stories were not more advanced socially: the later spy writer Eric Ambler complained of heroes who were mainly “hunting-shooting-fishing men who went about their work with a solemn, manly innocence which could lapse into stupidity.” The genre critic Jeanne Bedell acknowledged the moral simplicity of Buchan’s stories, noting that “the presentation of heroes who combine moral and physical superiority, the clear dichotomy between good and evil, and the absence of ambiguity recreate a familiar landscape: adventure stories which reaffirm traditional values are the typical fare of childhood.” Buchan, with a social reputation to preserve, always referred to his adventure stories as “shockers.” With his early novels, Buchan is regarded as bringing new traits to the thriller, qualities that may be thought to have raised the form to a new level of excellence, beyond “the grotesque world of international intrigue in which Sexton Blake, Nayland Smith and ‘Bulldog’ Drummond operate.” The novel The Courts of the Morning (1929), narrated by Hannay, features Sandy Arbuthnot, another important series character, in a bid to foil the plot of a South American tycoon to rule the world; A Prince of the Captivity (1933) features a disgraced English gentleman who is recruited as an undercover agent behind enemy lines in Belgium in World War I. The first half of the latter novel was described by a contemporary as “one of the truest and most spell-binding accounts of an agent working in the field ever written.” John’s second son William authored the spy novel Helen All Alone (1961), unusual for having a female British spy as the main character. There have been several screen adaptations of the Hannay stories: three film versions of The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935, as The 39 Steps; 1959, as The 39 Steps; and 1978), television serializations of The Three Hostages (1952 and 1977), and the television movie The Thirty-Nine Steps (2008). The adventure Huntingtower, a story without Hannay, appeared as a silent film in 1927 and as television serializations in 1957 and 1978.



BULLDOG DRUMMOND. Novel and motion pictures. Bulldog Drummond: The Adventures of a Demobilised Officer Who Found Peace Dull is the first adventure of the eponymous hero Captain Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond, DSO, MC, written by “Sapper” and published in 1920. In the story, Drummond is bored with civilian life and, seeking thrills, advertises in a newspaper for adventure: “Demobilised officer, finding peace incredibly tedious, would welcome diversion. Legitimate, if possible; but crime, if of a comparatively humorous description, no objection.” He responds to the earnest request for help from a young woman, Phyllis Benton, and is immediately cast into a dangerous conspiracy formulated by the criminal mastermind Carl Peterson. Initially believing that Peterson, his “daughter” Irma, and his despicable accomplice Henry Lakington are blackmailing the father of Phyllis, he slowly unearths a deeper plot to bring England to its knees through revolution. The story, which unfolds in Switzerland, England, and Paris, has Drummond and some former army chums thrown into various adventures, including the rescue of a kidnapped American millionaire, the theft and retrieval of a priceless pearl necklace, drugging, capture and threatened torture, and the final foiling of the conspiracy. Lakington is killed in the acid bath he had prepared for Drummond, while Peterson and Irma are arrested but later escape, news which reaches Drummond while on honeymoon with Phyllis. Bulldog Drummond was an instant success and ultimately an archetype of a new, tougher kind of thriller that appeared in the post–World War I period. The story appealed to a generation of men who had fought in the war and, in adjusting to the drab realities of peace, missed the action and companionship of the conflict. In his advert, Drummond had stated: “Excitement essential”; and this is what the typical reader craved from the breathless novel. Throughout, the deadly contest with Peterson is referred to as a “game,” and the hero is obviously having an immense amount of fun. Bulldog Drummond displays the common nationalistic and racial stereotypes of its time, and has been criticized accordingly. Germans are swine, Latinos are “Dagos,” and people of color are “Wogs.” The gentleman and officer class are above reproach, embody the essential English quality of fair play, are benevolent, and have the interests of the lower orders in mind. The socialist is misguided and the revolutionary treasonable, imbued with dangerous “foreign ideas. The character of Drummond is coded as chivalrous, Phyllis is the damsel in distress, and bounders are to be “thrashed within an inch of their lives.” In an obvious contrast to the intelligence and ratiocination of Sherlock Holmes, Bulldog Drummond displays an overt anti-intellectualism, with Drummond simple, direct, and straight punching, sometimes to the point of self-conscious parody. The story is romantic and melodramatic, befitting the period in which it was published, and incorporates characterizations and characteristics carried over from the Victorian period. The chief among these is an exotic villain—a



master of disguise, devilishly cunning and epic in his criminal intent. He controls an “abominable menagerie”: the resourceful Drummond through the course of the story must confront a deadly cobra, wrestle an adolescent gorilla, and outwit a native pygmy and his poisonous darts. “Bulldog” Drummond was influential on writers in the clubland hero tradition: Valentine Williams, Sydney Horler, Dornford Yates, and even Ian Fleming, who created a modernized, trans-Atlantic hero in James Bond in the 1950s, who was the British “Sapper” from the waist up, but the American Mickey Spillane from the waist down. “Bulldog” Drummond has been appropriated for theater, radio (in the United States), and screen on numerous occasions. Drummond was played on the British stage in the 1930s by Gerald du Maurier, Ian Hunter, and Henry Edwards. In the cinema, a definitive portrayal of the British hero was given by Ronald Colman in the Hollywood movie Bulldog Drummond (U.S., 1929). Drummond has been played in British pictures without much critical interest by Jack Buchan in The Third Round (silent, 1925), Ralph Richardson in The Return of Bulldog Drummond (1934), Jack Hulbert in Bulldog Jack (1935), and by Richard Johnson in Deadlier than the Male (1967) and Some Girls Do (1969), two updated and swinging spy comedies produced in the wake of the great success of James Bond on screen. The spoof Bullshot (1983) is a British film comedy adapted from the American stage play Bullshot Crummond (1974).

C CAINE, SIR MICHAEL (1933– ). Actor. Caine grew up in working-class south London. On leaving school at 16, he first worked as an odd job boy in British film studios, spent his two years national service in Korea and Germany, and returned to act in repertory theater in Westminster and Horsham, Sussex. Numerous small parts on the stage and on screen eventually led to a decent role in the play The Long and the Short and the Tall in 1959, and better parts in the theater and on television followed. His breakthrough in the cinema came with the important supporting role of Lieutenant Bromhead in the imperial adventure Zulu (1964). After a decade of frustration, Caine established himself as a major film star in the mid-1960s; with such pictures as the “Swinging London” drama Alfie (1966), the caper film The Italian Job (1969), and the vicious gangster tragedy Get Carter (1971), Caine became a major contributor to British cinema. He has been particularly evident in spy films and was a great success in The Ipcress File (1965), earning a British Film Academy Award nomination as Best Actor, and going on to play the down-to-earth, working-class spy Harry Palmer again in Funeral in Berlin (1966) and Billion Dollar Brain (1967), all adaptations of the best-selling spy novels of Len Deighton. Caine’s characterization of the bespectacled intelligence agent hailing from unfashionable south London—but teaching his superiors the finer qualities of good food and wine—was an important contribution to the new style of “anti-Bond” spy fiction, as was the emerging sense of classlessness in the more meritocratic culture and society of Great Britain in the 1960s. Two decades later, Caine reprised his Cockney secret agent in the rather dull Bullet to Beijing (1995) and Midnight in St. Petersburg (1996). Caine’s busy career on the spy screen included The Black Windmill (1974), an adaptation of the novel Seven Days to a Killing by Clive Egleton. Caine plays a security officer whose son is kidnapped and ransomed for the diamonds purchased for the operation designed to snare the gang, but the picture failed to impress critics or audiences. The movie version of the bestselling novel The Eagle Has Landed (1977) was popular but poorly received by reviewers. Films and Filming marked it down as a case of “actors and 71



their personalities making up for deprivation of material”; however, it was conceded that Caine produced “a nice line in arrogant disdain and an appropriately haughty carriage of the head,” thereby lending “credence to the paratroop leader Steiner.” The Jigsaw Man (1984) was a lackluster spy thriller in which Caine played a defector returning to Britain from Moscow, a character based on the traitor Kim Philby. The actor does not even bother to mention the film in his autobiographies. The Whistle Blower (1986) starred Caine as a bereaved parent looking into the suspicious death of his son, a linguist at the Government Communications Headquarters. Monthly Film Bulletin judged that “Michael Caine’s performance may be a little on the dewy-eyed side, but its punches at least are measured with admirable precision and all hit home.” The Fourth Protocol (1987) was a further film generally popular with audiences but dismissed by the critics. Films and Filming reported that “Caine approaches his work with the enthusiasm of a petrol attendant filling a tank,” but this is unlikely as Caine had much enthusiasm for the production and served as associate producer on the picture with Frederick Forsyth, the author of the novel. Caine later described it as a “wordy action movie” and regretted he had made a “talking picture when it should have been a moving one.” Blue Ice (1992) is a routine action film in which Caine plays a former MI6 agent who is drawn back into the game when he meets a beautiful young woman. Caine has appropriately played small parts in the spy spoof Goldmember (2002), as the father of the resurrected secret agent Austin Powers, and in the recent pastiche Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015), in which the veteran actor plays the head of the titular spy organization. Caine, who has published two volumes of autobiography in What’s It All About? (1992) and The Elephant to Hollywood: The Autobiography (2010), was awarded the CBE in 1992, received the Fellowship of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and was knighted in 2000, and made a Commander of the Arts and Letters in France in 2011. See also MASCULINITY. CALL FOR THE DEAD. Novel and motion picture. Call for the Dead, the debut novel of John le Carré first published in 1961, introduced the author’s principal series character George Smiley. Smiley, a former agent runner in World War II, is now a senior officer at the Circus, the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in London. The story takes place in 1959 in and around London. Scandal follows the suicide of Samuel Fennan, a high-ranking civil servant at the Foreign Office, resulting from Smiley’s recent routine investigation into the officer’s communist past. Certain incidental factors lead Smiley to suspect foul play, and assisted by Mendel, a recently retired officer of Special Branch, he begins to unravel a long-standing operation in which the East German Dieter Frey, a former agent of Smiley’s during the war, has



been acquiring the unsuspecting Fennan’s secrets through his wife, Elsa. The ruthless Mundt has killed the now suspicious Fennan and also badly injures Smiley. A trap is laid for Frey and he is killed during a struggle with Smiley. Mundt escapes to East Germany. Call for the Dead, like its successor A Murder of Quality (1962), is very much in the style of a detective novel, with Smiley piecing together the clues and coming to the conclusion of murder. Le Carré was still serving in MI5 when he published the story, writing in penny notebooks traveling to and from work and in his lunch hours. The author sought official approval from the Service, and the manuscript was read by the legal adviser who suggested only a single minor alteration to avoid the possibility of libel and that the author used a pseudonym. The opening chapter provides an overview of George Smiley, who would feature or appear in many of le Carré’s novels until Smiley’s People in 1979. Several other characters would also play a part in the novelist’s future sagas: Inspector Mendel, Peter Guillam, Oliver Maston, and the East German Mundt. A tale of treachery, Call for the Dead was of its time, making reference to actual traitors such as Klaus Fuchs and Donald Maclean, using a dramatic presentation of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II as a commentary within the novel on treachery and murder (and, of course, a play written by a practicing spy), and suggesting Smiley’s sense of betrayal in killing Frey, a former student and colleague who, despite the opportunity and his ruthlessness, could not come to kill Smiley. The film version of Call for the Dead appeared in 1967 as The Deadly Affair, scripted by Paul Dehn, and produced and directed in London by the American Sidney Lumet for Columbia Pictures. Lumet had wanted to film the production in black and white as more suitable for a downbeat spy picture, but Columbia, with future sales to television in mind, would not allow this. So, the director asked Freddie Young, the cinematographer, to see what he could manage regarding the muting of color, and he came up with the solution of “pre-fogging,” exposing the film to 30 percent of normal before shooting the picture. This had the effect of desaturating the colors without changing their value, and the result is a depressing palette enhanced through shooting in outlying districts of London during a wet, bleak late winter. Lumet commented at the time: “all the glamour is knocked out: everything is real; somehow the glamorous edge is taken off it, which is terribly important.” Some minor changes to the story were likely to annoy purists. Due to contractual reasons, the protagonist becomes Charles Dobbs (James Mason) as the George Smiley name belonged to Paramount Pictures, which had acquired it with the rights to The Spy Who Came in from the Cold; Peter Guillam becomes Bill Appleby (Kenneth Haigh) and Mundt becomes Karel Harek (Les White) presumably for similar reasons; and the central character, Dobbs, is here working for MI5 rather than SIS. In the film, Mendel and Harek are killed, which does damage to the complicated chronology of the



George Smiley saga as both are required in stories set after Call for the Dead. A more constructive development to the story is the extra attention given to the marital difficulties of the central character, thereby paralleling the theme of ideological betrayal with an equally important sense of emotional betrayal. This is achieved through having the serially unfaithful Ann (Harriet Andersson) enter into a serious relationship with Dieter Frey (Maximillian Schell), the two people Dobbs loves most, and marking the dual level of the political and the personal in the imaginative title change to The Deadly Affair. The picture attracted good reviews, many critics finding it a serious and accomplished treatment of the spiritual loss and exhausted ethics of espionage since the end of World War II. Penelope Gilliat, writing in the Observer, believed The Deadly Affair “carries the real sour taste of the half-century. It is about a world of suave Whitehall coldhearts and sanctioned perfidy, where the double-crossings and killings are undertaken as trivially as the affairs.” Mike Sarne at Films and Filming found The Deadly Affair “quite as good as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and possibly better”; and Penelope Houston at the Spectator claimed, “This is the real Le Carré country, a meeting of middle-aged survivors on the barbed wire of their ideological frontier.” The Deadly Affair was nominated for Best British Film, Best British Actor (Mason), Best British Cinematography (Color, Freddie Young), and Best Foreign Actress (Simone Signoret as Mrs. Fennan) at the British Film Academy Awards. See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. CALLAN. Television drama series, novels, and motion picture. The agent David Callan initially appeared in the single-play drama “A Magnum for Schneider,” broadcast in February 1967 as part of the prestigious drama strand Armchair Theatre. The character, created by James Mitchell, was revived for four seasons, broadcast later in 1967 and in 1969 (black and white), and in 1970 and 1972 (color). The first season was produced at ABC TV, while the subsequent seasons were produced at Thames Television. The working-class Callan was played by Edward Woodward, and the show concentrated on the drama of a situation that had the agent reluctantly working for The Section, a “dirty tricks” department responsible for assassination, extortion, and blackmail, all the jobs that are too suspect and sordid for the conventional Security Service. Callan is a specialist, a master safecracker, and executioner but also a man with a conscience who has to live with the consequences of his actions. Uncomfortably for his superiors he is insubordinate and likes to know “why” a job has to be done. The series, with its pronounced class and psychological dimensions and low-key London settings, was an important contribution to the realist espionage story of the 1960s and 1970s, and stands in a direct line of descent from the Len Deighton stories The Ipcress File (1962) and Funeral in Berlin (1964).



Callan is in conflict with Hunter, head of The Section (the various incarnations were played by Ronald Radd, Michael Goodliffe, Derek Bond, and William Squire), and a strong antagonism exists between Callan and a rival agent, the socially superior Toby Meres (Anthony Valentine). This rivalry is transferred to the younger agent Cross (Patrick Mower) in the third and fourth seasons where age becomes the mark of contrast and competitiveness. A further significant series character is the insanitary Lonely (Russell Hunter), a petty thief whom Callan intimidates to acquire information and burgle premises. The offbeat and sometimes touching relationship between Callan and Lonely was a significant factor in the popularity of the show. The overall approach is unglamorous; the characters, though fascinating, are often unappealing; and there is a sense of unease and moral uncertainty about much of the work undertaken by The Section. Callan, in stark contrast to James Bond, is an ordinary Londoner, a man with a stain in his past, which is the leverage that Hunter uses against him. He lives in a dingy flat in Shepherd’s Bush, eats at cheap workers’ cafés, and seemingly leads no kind of social life. During its four seasons, Callan was one of the most popular dramas on television. It was reputedly the favorite show of the two-time Labour prime minister Harold Wilson, a politician who held a jaundiced view of British Intelligence. At the culmination of season 2, in the episode “Death of a Hunter,” Callan is wounded at the end of the drama, and when rumors started of the intention to kill off the character, the audience reacted strongly, and there was even a “Callan Lives” graffiti campaign. Callan was a critical success and the benchmark television spy series of the late 1960s and early 1970s against which all others were measured. Initially, Callan is an outsider, a former agent now pressured by Hunter to take on special assignments for The Section. Ordinarily, he works as a lowly bookkeeper. In season 2, he returns to The Section where he serves as the leading operative. By season 4, Callan has reluctantly been promoted to Hunter, a role which tests his conscience even further as he now has operational leadership and life-and-death decisions to make. Callan is involved in a variety of cases and assignments that effectively traverse the spectrum of Cold War, domestic subversion, and terrorist activities and threats. In “The Good Ones Are All Dead” (1967) Callan must determine if a businessman is a wanted war criminal; in Red Knight, White Knight (1969), he rightly suspects a KGB defector is an assassin intending to kill Hunter; in “Amos Green Must Die” (1970), The Section is detailed to guard a controversial right-wing politician and Callan closes in on a black militant assassin; and in the threepart “The Richmond File” (1972), Callan plays a cat and mouse game with a high-ranking KGB agent.



In addition to the 43 episodes of the four seasons, there appeared an eponymously titled feature film in 1974. This expanded the original story of “A Magnum for Schneider,” which had Callan assigned to assassinate an arms dealer, and is one of the better spin-offs from the small to big screen in the period; cinema critic Tom Milne found it “surprisingly enjoyable,” well directed and acted, “entirely gripping.” A final, belated screen outing for the agent came in 1981 with the feature-length television drama Wet Job, in which Callan is forced out of retirement to deal with a past antagonist who threatens to expose the former agent in his memoirs but, in fact, intends to kill him. A subplot involves a dissident writer, spirited out of Czechoslovakia and now a target for the KGB. Mitchell also published five novels featuring the Callan character: A Red File for Callan (1969, a novelization of “A Magnum for Schneider”), Russian Roulette (1973), Death and Bright Water (1974), Smear Job (1975), and Bonfire Night (2002), as well as some short stories that appeared in TV Times (1967) and the Sunday Express (1973 and 1976). Out of an original total of 43 episodes, 10 episodes are missing and believed lost: four from season 1 and six from season 2. Callan has slowly attracted a cult around it with devoted fans and admirers, and the show remains one of the most fondly remembered of all British television spy dramas. See also MASCULINITY. THE CAMBRIDGE SPIES. Notorious British traitors. “The Cambridge Spies” is the collective term for five graduates of Cambridge University who attained senior positions in the British Secret Service or government office, where they systematically spied for the Soviets. Kim Philby (code names: SÖHNCHEN, STANLEY, SYNOK, TOM), served in the wartime Special Operations Executive, at the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) from September 1941, and in a senior intelligence role in Washington in the late 1940s. Under suspicion from the early 1950s, he was removed from sensitive information and eventually defected to Moscow in 1963. Guy Burgess (code names: MÄDCHEN, HICKS, JIM, PAUL), who for a time served at the BBC and developed a peripheral role in the SIS and the Foreign Service, and Donald Maclean (code names: HOMER, LYRIC, SIROTA, WAISE, STUART), who became a senior diplomat at the Foreign Office, both spending time in Washington, fled Great Britain for Soviet Russia in 1951, moments before the exposure of Maclean. Anthony Blunt (code names: TONY, FRED, JOHNSON, YAN) served in the wartime MI5 before returning to academic life after the conflict, from where he occasionally performed services for the Soviets for several years. He came under suspicion in the early 1950s, eventually confessed on the promise of immunity from prosecution in 1964, and was publicly outed in 1979 in a damaging exposure for the government. John Cairncross (code names: LISZT, MOLIÈRE, KAREL) served at the Foreign



Office, the Treasury, as a wartime code breaker, with SIS, at the Cabinet Office, and the Ministry of Supply, a remarkable collection of offices from where he could obtain classified documents. He came under suspicion following the defection of Burgess and Maclean and quietly left government office. On investigation, he made a partial admission, but it was only on the release of Soviet documents in the 1990s that the true extent of his treachery and his importance to the Soviets were revealed. The assessment of the intelligence historians Nigel West and Oleg Tsarev is that “the damage inflicted by Philby, Burgess and Maclean can only be described as colossal.” Add to these the names of Blunt and Cairncross, of the group as a whole the latter passing the most classified documents to the Soviets in the period 1941–45, it is unsurprising that the Soviets referred to the men as “The Magnificent Five” and the remarkable intelligence they provided over many years as “The Crown Jewels.” The Cambridge Spies or “Stalin’s Englishmen” as they have been called, stand as the index of Cold War treachery in Britain. As such, mere mention of the group or an individual in British spy fiction summons up the very depths of perfidy and delineate the territory of the traitor. As the historians Willmets and Moran recently asserted, “Few Cold War stories have captured the British public’s imagination with such frenzied intensity and lengthy duration as the saga of the Cambridge Five.” Novels as diverse as The Enormous Shadow (1955), From Russia with Love (1957), The Ipcress File (1962), The Naked Runner (1966), Colonel Butler’s Wolf (1972), Disorderly Elements (1985), Legacy (2002), Restless (2006), and Free Agent (2009) make mention of Burgess, Maclean, or Philby as a mark of the fiction’s supposed authenticity or realism and, in some cases, as part of a wider critique of the British establishment and political society. In a more direct fashion, aspects of the story of the Cambridge Five have been dramatized in the single-play television dramas Philby, Burgess & Maclean (1977); An Englishman Abroad (1983), which has a disheveled Burgess in Moscow; A Question of Attribution (1991), which deals with Blunt’s sensitive role as surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures; and in Blunt (1987), which examines the title character’s role in the defection of Burgess and Maclean in 1951. The lavishly mounted television serial Cambridge Spies (2003) provides the most thorough treatment of the infamous story, and all of these dramas are notable examples of historical spy fiction. The Young Philby (2012) is a recent novel by an American, Robert Littell, which treats part of the myth of the notorious Soviet mole, and follows on from the author’s inclusion of Burgess, Philby, and Maclean in his imaginative history of the Central Intelligence Agency, titled The Company (2002). In other cases, a character in a drama or novel is a thinly veiled account of one of the traitors. The scandalous Burgess at public school is the subject of the stage drama and film Another Country (1984, as Guy Bennett); the



drunken Adrian Harris in his dingy Moscow flat in the television play Traitor (1971), the patrician Bill Haydon in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (novel 1974, TV 1979), the surgically transformed Philip Kimberly who is returned to Britain in The Jigsaw Man (novel 1977, film 1983), and the spent journalist who defects from Beirut to Moscow in A Little White Death (1998) are all widely appreciated as derivative characterizations of Philby. Philby is the inspiration for the double-agent-cum-defector Maurice Castle in The Human Factor (novel 1978, film 1979); and the disgraced art curator Victor Maskell in the novel The Untouchable (1997) is clearly based on Blunt. An imaginative engagement with the characters of Burgess, Philby, and Blunt is offered in David Mure’s novel The Last Temptation (1984), which purports to be the diary of the intelligence officer who unknowingly recruited the men into the British Secret Service. The saga of treason is extended in the television drama Blade on the Feather (1980), which examines the university don who recruited the Cambridge Spies, and the novels The Cambridge Theorem (1989) by Tony Cape, which involves the mysterious death of a student who is searching for the identity of the suspected “Fifth Man” (published at a point when little was known publicly about Cairncross), and The Trinity Six (2011) by Charles Cumming, which treats a struggling author and his unearthing of shattering information about a possible sixth member of the spy ring and MI6’s and the KGB’s subsequent attempts to suppress him. The social and cultural fascination in Britain with the treachery of the Cambridge Spies has had a profound impact on the writing of spy stories in Britain, greatly influencing the shift toward cynicism and realism in spy fiction around the turn of the 1960s. This could be appreciated as a modification of the dominant style of the spy thriller into that of the espionage story. A fictional afterlife has been created in a number of stories for Kim Philby, the glamorous traitor who has most attracted the attention of writers and the public. In Alan Williams’s thriller Gentleman Traitor (1975), Philby makes a break from Moscow and is pursued by the KGB and MI6. In Joseph Hone’s The Sixth Directorate (1975), Philby is called on by the KGB to advise on tracking down traitors in the organization. In Ted Allbeury’s The Other Side of Silence (1981), an investigator must assess the complex reasons behind Philby’s request to return to Britain, while in Frederick Forsyth’s The Fourth Protocol (1984), Philby is the British expert in the planning of Aurora, a Soviet operation to explode a nuclear device on a U.S. air force base and tumble Britain into revolution. Other agents who served Soviet Russia and studied at Cambridge University include atom spy Allan Nunn May, the British Communist Party luminary James Klugmann (code name: MAYOR), the American Michael Straight (code name: NIGEL), the filmmaker and intellectual Ivor Montagu (code name: INTELLIGENTSIA), and Leo Long (code name: RALPH), a former student of Blunt. Much less is known about the network of spies



recruited at the rival Oxford University. It was suspected at the Security Service in the early 1960s that the MP Bernard Floud, formerly of the Ministry of Information and the Board of Trade, had acted as a talent spotter for the Soviets at Oxford. Goronwy Rees (code names: FLIT, GROSS) and Arthur Wynn (code name: SCOTT) have been positively identified, and the code name of another agent BUNNY tantalizingly exists in the Soviet archives. See also SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. CAMBRIDGE SPIES. Television drama serial. Cambridge Spies is a fourpart historical drama broadcast on BBC television in 2003. It deals with the four best known of the Cambridge Spies, Guy Burgess (Tom Hollander), Donald Maclean (Rupert Penry-Jones), Kim Philby (Toby Stephens), and Anthony Blunt (Samuel West), and covers the period 1934 to 1951. Episode 1 is set mainly in 1934 and deals with the “talent spotting” of Philby and Maclean by Burgess and Blunt at Cambridge University, and with Philby’s period in “Red Vienna,” where he witnesses Nazi brutalities and returns with a communist wife, Litzi Friedman (Lisa Dillon). Episode 2 treats the young men’s outward commitment to Nazi Germany and fascism as they prepare a long-term cover to hide their communist sympathies: the beginnings of their penetration of the British establishment with Burgess at the BBC and on the fringes of MI5, Blunt at the Royal Palace, Maclean at the Foreign Office, and Philby as a journalist at The Times covering the civil war in Spain before joining the War Office, and ending with the confusion caused for the Cambridge men by the German-Soviet Pact in 1939. Episode 3 covers the wartime period, with Blunt more deeply ensconced at the Palace and serving for a time at MI5; Maclean’s marriage to the American Melinda Marling (Anna Louise-Plowman) and his mounting instability; the treachery of John Cairncross, another Cambridge graduate, at the code breaking center at Bletchley; and Philby, now rising through the ranks at MI6. Episode 4 commences in 1948, with Maclean at an important post in Washington with access to atomic secrets, the closing in on Maclean by the Americans led by James Jesus Angleton (John Light) of the newly established Central Intelligence Agency, and the desperate efforts of the four English traitors to manage the defection of Burgess and Maclean to Moscow in face of a mounting suspicion in British Intelligence. The chief dramatic concern of Cambridge Spies is friendship, and treachery and betrayal are figured principally for the four men in terms of their loyalty to each other as comrades in a struggle for their shared beliefs. There was shrill criticism in the right-wing press that Cambridge Spies glamorizes Burgess, Maclean, Philby, and Blunt and that it “glorifies treachery”; it was even denounced as “KGB propaganda.” It had been unfortunate that during pre-publicity a reference to the Cambridge Spies as “heroes” had



been let to slip. The historian of espionage Phillip Knightley countered some of the accusations, warning that they tend to “overlook the KGB spies’ main motivation: to counter the influence of powerful people in Britain in the 1930s—‘Hitler’s Englishmen.’” For authenticity, the producers wanted to shoot the early parts of the drama at Trinity College, Cambridge, where three of the men studied, but it is a measure of the lasting sensitivity toward the treachery that the BBC was refused permission, and filming had to take place at another college. There was much criticism of Cambridge Spies as a historical drama and much complaint regarding factual inaccuracies in the serial. Miranda Carter, a biographer of Blunt, claimed that “it changes, fudges and messes around with pretty much every single event that actually took place, and in so doing, both misrepresents the relationship between [the Cambridge Spies], and makes them less interesting.” She dismissed the serial as “just an expensive soap.” Other voices raised against the production included the Soviet defector Oleg Gordievsky, who questioned the representation of the Cambridge Spies as “idealists” when they were “traitors,” and Gayle Cairncross-Gow, who resented the “falsification of history” in the misrepresentation of John Cairncross and his diminution in the story. The “softening” of the principals and their notoriety to win viewer sympathy—through emphasis on the vigorous heterosexuality of Philby at the expense of any discomfiting homosexuality practiced by Burgess and Blunt, and a general attribution of Jewish sympathy to the men “when the likelihood is that Philby, Burgess, Blunt, and Maclean shared the standard anti-semitism of their circle at the time”—did not go unnoticed. In defense against the critical onslaught, the publicity material indicated that the intention was a “fictional drama inspired by real events,” and the screening carried the fairly standard disclaimer that “certain events and characters have been created or changed for dramatic effect.” The writer Peter Moffat, who researched and wrote the serial over a four-year period, commented on the difficulties of reconstructing events: “The spies were so selfserving that many accounts of the same events were contradictory. This made it difficult to discern the truth, because theirs is a world full of liars.” Despite this, the critic Mark Lawson, writing in the Guardian, wondered “whether we can believe anything the characters say,” and noted a considerable irony: “given that one of the drama’s points is the British establishment’s almost comic lack of suspicion of Philby and chums, we find ourselves questioning everything they say.” He concludes that “Cambridge Spies is high-class drama, but historically it’s best regarded as a cover story.” See also BLUNT; PHILBY, BURGESS & MACLEAN; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS.

CANNING, VICTOR (1911–1986)


CANNING, VICTOR (1911–1986). Novelist. Canning, the son of a coach builder, was born in Plymouth, Devon., The family could not afford to send Victor, a promising student, to university, so he went to work as a clerk in an education office at age 16, first in Oxford and later in Weston-super-Mare. He began writing by contributing short stories to boys’ magazines, and his first novel, Mr. Finchley Discovers His England (1934), a series of semicomic adventures featuring a middle-aged solicitor, sold very well. Canning also published seven novels under the names of Alan Gould and Julian Forest in the 1930s. During World War II, Canning served in the Royal Artillery, training with his friend, the writer Eric Ambler. He saw service in the south of England with an anti-aircraft battery; he also served in North Africa and Italy, attaining the rank of major. After the war, Canning turned to writing popular thrillers, mainly in the crime and espionage genres. One of the most successful of these was The Golden Salamander (1949), an adventure story set in Africa that was successfully filmed in Great Britain in 1950. The espionage stories began with Panther’s Moon (1948), an unusual tale of microfilm hidden in the collar of a panther being transported to a zoo that escapes and is hunted by a varied group of interested parties, and continued on in such titles as Castle Minerva (1955) and The Limbo Line (1963). A Forest of Eyes (1950) is the only Canning novel set behind the Iron Curtain and owes a debt to his friend and fellow author Eric Ambler in its story of a British engineer, Robert Hudson, unwillingly involved in espionage and suspected by the local police chief, Zarko. In the later 1960s, Canning wrote a quartet of consecutive stories featuring a tough private detective Rex Carver, who is coerced into taking on assignments for British Intelligence. The Whip Hand (1965), Doubled Diamonds (1966), The Python Project (1967), and The Melting Man (1968) were written under the influence of spy fiction as it had recently developed in the hands of Ian Fleming and Len Deighton; the novels jettisoned the conventional moral codes of Canning’s writing of the 1940s and 1950s, and, according to a review in the Observer, with these stories Canning had “toughened up.” Following a period of domestic difficulty, Canning’s style took on a darker hue and became more naturalistic and modern, evident in his spy thrillers of the 1970s: Firecrest (1971), The Finger of Saturn (1973), and The Mask of Memory (1974). Birdcage (1978) is widely seen as the best of the later novels; the “Birdcage” of the title is a “dirty tricks” department of the British government, which featured in eight of Canning’s later stories. In a writing career that lasted over five decades, Canning wrote 61 novels, over 100 short stories, numerous travel pieces for newspapers, and various scripts for cinema and television, including the BBC espionage drama series Curtain of Fear (1964) and Contract to Kill (1965) that are now believed lost. The published output included comic and historical novels, children’s books, and radio plays, as well as 33 popular thrillers. The Rainbird Pattern



(1972), about a scheme to kidnap the archbishop of Canterbury, was acquired by Alfred Hitchcock and turned into the Hollywood film Family Plot (U.S., 1976). At their time of writing, Canning’s thrillers were valued for their invention, humor, wit, elegance, suavity, recreation of local color, and informative descriptions of wildlife. In 1985, the critic Frank Denton claimed Victor Canning’s name as “synonymous with the best in international intrigue.” Relatively little regard has been given to the author in recent times, his mystery fiction being largely passed over as competent but commercial. Perhaps the later novels, more cynical and realistic, should be given more merit, at least up to the inventive The Boy on Platform One (1981). CARRY ON SPYING. Motion picture. The Carry On franchise was the most prolific series in film history. Beginning with Carry on Sergeant in 1958 and running through to Carry on Columbus in 1992, it embraced 30 feature films, one compilation film, and a host of television specials and stage shows. The film series was produced at Pinewood Studios by Peter Rogers and directed by Gerald Thomas. The low-budget comedies, drawing on the traditional working-class humor of the music hall and saucy seaside postcards (and deploying considerable amounts of innuendo), were derided by the critics but popular with audiences. The Carry On imprint eventually established itself as a national institution, an undemanding cinema of “irresistible badness.” Initially, the comedies were set in a typical institution or regulated environment, such as an army camp, a hospital (Carry on Nurse, 1959), a school (Carry on Teacher, 1959), or a police station (Carry on Constable, 1960). Later, the formula switched to historical subjects and parodies of established film genres. Carry on Spying (1964), the ninth in the series, was an early attempt to spoof the James Bond movies, which had begun to appear two years earlier; Rogers had registered the title as early as 1962, realizing the commercial potential of the idea. In Spying, a group of raw recruits serving at British Operational Security (BOSH) are assigned to recover a secret formula stolen from a research establishment. The team includes their pompous leader Simkins (Kenneth Williams), Charlie Bind (Charles Hawtry; the Bond producers had threatened legal action if Rogers had gone ahead with the planned character name of James Bind), and the glamorous Daphne Honeybutt (agent number 38-22-35, Barbara Windsor). The film has much fun at the expense of the incompetent agents and the camp demeanor of the men. When Bind is asked his agent number, he replies “Double O, O.” When asked to clarify, he reveals that the officer who assigned the number simply said “Double O, oh?” A pistol with a drooping barrel is an apt symbol of the men’s questionable masculinity. James Bond–like, the group is up against a master villain, the cross-gender Dr. Crow (“Dr. No”!, Judith Furse), first of a new superrace of Men-Women endowed with the physical and mental attributes of both sexes, and head of the evil organization STENCH: the Society



for the Total Extinction of Non-Conforming Humans. A trick attaché case, wristwatch garrote, and Orient Express setting reference the recently successful From Russia with Love (1963), while a radio transmitter concealed in a bra is a typical invention of the Carry On brand. The other main intertextual reference is the classic British crime film The Third Man (1949). Accordingly, Vienna is stereotypically constructed in terms of rain-soaked streets, sewers, black cats, balloon sellers, and zither music. When the party of inept spies arrives at the Café Mozart and is shown to a table “Reserved for Party of British Agents,” there comes the inevitable response: “Do you think they’re onto us?” The action shifts swiftly to Algiers to allow the film to make its nod to Casablanca (1943), and finally to the underground lair of Dr. Crow where the team are held captive and where the brainless Honeybutt is subjected to a bout of brainwashing, aimed to make her reveal the secret formula she has memorized (“take one tablespoon of nitro-glycol . . .”). In a last-minute rescue, the group is saved by an agent of the Society for the Neutralization of Germs (SNOG) and, taking an elevator from the secret underground base, emerge directly in the office of the chief of BOSH—with Dr. Crow’s secret headquarters set to blow up imminently. The creators of the Carry On films delighted in thumbing their noses at the sort of British authority figures revered in the James Bond tradition and celebrated aspects of national identity such as feyness, gullibility, and muddling through (the exact opposite of the traits demanded of the iconic superagent). In their opposing ways, James Bond and the Carry On films portrayed something essential about the British and their perception of themselves. Film historian Robert Murphy trumpeted Carry on Spying as “the first and best attempt to parody the new spy film”; a contemporary review in the Spectator enjoyed the burlesque and judged the latest Carry On film as “probably the funniest and certainly the crudest to date.” CARVE HER NAME WITH PRIDE. Book and motion picture. Carve Her Name with Pride is the popular factual account of the wartime Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent Violette Szabó, written by R. J. Minney and first published in 1956. Violette Bushell was the daughter of humble parents, a French mother and English father, and mainly brought up in working-class south London. In 1941, the 19-year-old Violette married the Free French officer Étienne Szabó who was tragically killed at the Battle of El Alamein in 1942; he never saw his daughter, Tania. Violette was approached to join SOE in 1943, underwent intensive training, and served two missions in France. It was during the second mission, which supported the D-Day landings in June 1944, that Szabó was captured, held in Limoges, and transferred to Paris where she was interrogated and tortured; shortly before the liberation of the city, she was transferred again to the concentration camp Ravensbrück where she was executed in February 1945, along with the other female SOE agents



Denise Bloch and Lilian Rolfe. Violette Szabó was only the second female to be awarded (posthumously) the George Cross for gallantry, and she also received the French Croix de Guerre. In a famous commendation, fellow SOE agent Odette Churchill praised Violette Szabó as “the bravest of them all.” Of SOE’s 55 female agents, 13 were killed in action, 12 were killed by execution, one died from typhus in a Nazi concentration camp, and one died in hospital of meningitis. More recent accounts of the remarkable heroine are Violette Szabo: The Life That I Have (2003) by Susan Ottaway and Young, Brave and Beautiful: The Missions of Special Operations Executive Agent Lieutenant Violette Szabó, George Cross, Croix de Guerre avec Étoile de Bronze (2007) by Tania Szabó. A movie version of Carve Her Name with Pride was released in 1958, directed by Lewis Gilbert and starring Virginia McKenna. The story commences early in the war at the point Violette courts and marries Étienne, and the film then attends to her recruitment to SOE, her training, the two missions in France, and her capture and eventual execution in Ravensbrück. The picture makes no mention of Violette’s previous experience in war work in the Women’s Land Army or in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, thus suggesting a more vivid shift from shop girl to female agent, nor does it mention the forced labor Violette undertook at Torgau and Königsberg during her captivity in Germany. It also suggests a more emotional relationship between Szabó and her commanding officer, Charles Staunton (Paul Scofield, Captain Tony Fraser in the film and an amalgamation of several characters from the actual events), and invents a long-standing friendship with Denise Bloch and Lilian Rolfe whom Violette in fact first met at Fresnes prison in Paris. The picture makes dramatic use of the poem “The Life That I Have,” a romantic offering in the film from Étienne to Violette. The poem, which plays no part in the book, is one of the most fondly remembered aspects of Carve Her Name with Pride; it was originally written by wartime cryptographer Leo Marks in memory of his girlfriend Ruth, who had died in a plane crash in Canada, and later issued by Marks to Szabó as a poem code. A very popular film, Carve Her Name with Pride has been called a “paradigm of British pluck and reserve,” yet, at the same time “surprisingly forward-looking in its portrayal of women and their ability to excel in a male dominated environment.” Film historian Robert Murphy was critical, finding the picture “anaemic and sentimental” and its perspective “indelibly of the 1950s,” failing to capture the impression of urgency of the war years. See also CHARLOTTE GRAY; ODETTE; SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II; WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. CASINO ROYALE. Novel and motion pictures. Casino Royale, first published in 1953, is the debut novel of Ian Fleming and the first adventure featuring secret agent James Bond. The story was soon dramatized as an



U.S. television film (U.S., 1955) and serialized as a comic strip in the Daily Express (1957); it was later adapted into two films: in 1967 as a riotous spoof, and in 2006 as an important reinvention of James Bond for the 21st century starring Daniel Craig. The outline story of Casino Royale has James Bond sent on a mission by the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) to engage the criminal Le Chiffre in a high-stakes card game. The aim is to bankrupt the villain and bring down his crooked empire, and to deliver a serious blow to SMERSH, the department of extortion and murder of the Soviet KGB for which Le Chiffre serves as banker. Bond is assisted on the operation by the beautiful Vesper Lynd. In the initial engagement at the card table, things do not go too well for Bond, but with additional funds provided by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) the British agent comprehensively defeats and ruins his opponent. Following two assassination attempts on Bond, Le Chiffre, desperate, kidnaps Lynd and lures the agent into a trap. In a notorious scene, Bond is subjected to humiliating torture in an attempt to get him to reveal the whereabouts of his winnings. Bond escapes but is embittered when he discovers that Lynd had been working for Le Chiffre under the threat of blackmail. The guilt-ridden Lynd commits suicide. In the novel, the story is set in the casino town of Royale-les-Eaux, Normandy, in northern France. Important characters are introduced who will continue to play a significant part in the series of Bond stories: M, the Chief of SIS; Miss Moneypenny, M’s secretary; Felix Leiter of the CIA; Q of weapons branch; as well as a colorful master villain and the all-important “Bond Girl.” Some critics dug around in the story to assess how much of the fiction was derived from reality; their investigations pointed to the disclosure of Great Britain’s early wartime intelligence presence in New York, the credible tradecraft of James Bond, and the incident in which a Soviet assailant blows himself up with a bomb (something Fleming based on a real event—the attempt on the life of Franz von Papen, the German ambassador to Turkey, in February 1942). The idea for the story came to Fleming during his wartime service in Naval Intelligence. Passing through neutral Lisbon on his way to the United States, he observed a high-stakes card game and speculated on the possibility of ruining one of the many German agents who hung about the town trying to pick up intelligence. Casino Royale has been judged highly by other mystery writers and Fleming admirers. Both Raymond Chandler and Kingsley Amis considered it the best of the Bond adventures, and current spy novelist Jeremy Duns finds it “intense, almost feverishly so, and richer in characterisation and atmosphere than many of the others.” The producer Charles K. Feldman acquired the rights to Casino Royale, the only Fleming book not under the control of movie producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and originally intended his film to be a straight thriller. The celebrated Hollywood screenwriter Ben Hecht had several at-



tempts at a script for the 1967 film, and, reportedly, Billy Wilder, Joseph Heller, Terry Southern, Wolf Mankowitz, Michael Sayers, and John Law all took a turn at it and the project increasingly shifted toward an outrageous spoof. During shooting, improvisation from star Peter Sellers and material from Woody Allen for his own scenes added to the spirit of comedy. The madcap story retains but the bare bones of the original novel. A reclusive Sir James Bond (David Niven) is tempted out of retirement to deal with an unprecedented threat in which agents of the British, American, Russian and French services are being eliminated. Various attempts are made on the life of Bond, all by female operatives in the service of the evil Dr. Noah. To confuse the enemy, all Western agents are henceforth to be known as James Bond, which explains the tagline for the movie: “Casino Royale is too much for one James Bond!” The mission gradually centers on Le Chiffre (Orson Welles), the banker of SMERSH, who urgently needs funds to pay off debts. Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers), who has devised an infallible method for baccarat, is dispatched by Vesper Lynd (Ursula Andress) to play and defeat Le Chiffre at Casino Royale. It is eventually revealed that Dr. Noah is Jimmy Bond (Woody Allen), the intimidated nephew of Sir James, and his master plan is to unleash a germ that will make all women beautiful, and to kill all men shorter than himself and replace world leaders with robots under his control. The film ends in a frantic fight at Casino Royale in which all are killed in a gigantic explosion. Casino Royale had a long, difficult, and expensive shoot. The original director, Joe McGrath, was fired at some point, and remaining material and additional segments were shot by John Huston, Val Guest, Ken Hughes, and Robert Parrish. The temperamental star Peter Sellers made life difficult for all concerned and was let go at some point with some of his scenes still to be shot. Some roles were cast at the very last minute, and there were delays in production; opportunities producer Feldman took to sign up yet another star who happened to be passing through London to play a cameo. Much material ended up on the cutting room floor, and the picture announced as a threehour extravaganza with an interval was eventually released in a more conventional 131-minute form with an accomplished score by Burt Bacharach. The film attracted universally bad reviews; most critics found it an ill-judged, rambling, and misfiring farce. John Patterson, writing in the Guardian, described it as “the most grotesque and moronic Bond spoof of all”; Penelope Gilliat in the Observer used the phrase “flailing mish-mash,” and Ian Wright, in an on-set report in the Guardian, noted that “even the spoofs are seeking to out-spoof each other.” However, audiences, especially in the United States, delighted in the zany, star-studded send-up of a very popular genre, and the picture made lots of money. It is now a cult film, a camp classic, a psychedelic James Bond, endlessly absorbing in the manner of a train wreck.



The latest screen version of Casino Royale (2006) was eagerly anticipated. Pierce Brosnan had stepped down as James Bond with Die Another Day (2002), and the new film offered a distinctive interpreter in the form of Daniel Craig, who publicly stated that he wanted to connect with the character’s “dark side.” While entirely contemporary, the movie reverts chronologically to the commencement of Bond’s career as a secret agent. In the obligatory pre-credit sequence, we see Bond earning his “double-0” status through killing a duplicitous MI6 agent in Prague, and therefore the audience gets a young, inexperienced 007. In a calculated, audience-pleasing delay, it is not until the final frames of the film, following a remarkable series of action sequences, displays of heroism, and a maturing of the character, that Craig utters the immortal words, “Bond . . . James Bond,” thereby finally assuming/confirming his identity as the icon of secret agents. Another significant modernization of the franchise has been the jettisoning of the standard Cold War and master villain bent on world domination themes of the series, for the more contemporary fears regarding terrorism. In the revised story, Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) is the banker and investor for international terrorists. Other notable developments are the eroticizing of Bond as a masculine sex object (principally in the lingering shots where he steps out of the ocean displaying his muscular physique) and the reinvention of the “Bond Girl” for postfeminist times, one who holds down a professional role as a Treasury agent and who can quip on equal terms with the hero. A major surprise of the movie is its retention of the most notorious line from the book, when Bond, disillusioned by the treachery of Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), consoles himself with the thought that “the bitch is dead”; another is the presentation of the notorious torture sequence in vaguely homoerotic terms. Casino Royale emerged into a cinema sace informed by the Jason Bourne films (The Bourne Identity, U.S., 2002; and The Bourne Supremacy, U.S., 2004), reflecting a greater psychological realism than the recent films in the Bond series, which had in fact been present to a degree in the original novel. Following its release, Casino Royale was widely praised and became the most commercially successful Bond film to that date, grossing around $1 billion for all revenues. The film attracted unprecedented critical and academic interest, Christoph Linder claiming the importance of the picture in that “Casino Royale is not just a revising of 007, it is also a reimagining, a reintroduction, a reevaluation, a reinvention and a renewal.” CASTLE MINERVA. Novel and motion picture. Castle Minerva was written by Victor Canning and first published in 1954. In a complex plot, schoolteacher David Fraser is recruited to help his wartime senior officer, Colonel Drexel, who still functions in the shadowy world of secret intelligence, to baby-sit Jabal, a young pro-British Arab prince who must be protected in the weeks before his assumption of the throne of the small, oil-rich state of



Ramaut. The boy is abducted by a gang, although it is Fraser who is suspected by the French police, and to his surprise, Fraser is lifted from custody by the same gang and held captive in the Chateau Minerve. It is there that he learns of the treacherous plan of Drexel, in league with what turns out to be a troupe of third-rate circus performers, to ransom the prince to the highest bidder, the Anglo-Media Oil Company or the evil Regent of Ramaut, who has designs on the throne, throwing the blame on Fraser, whom he intends to pay off with ₤2,000, a new passport, and passage to South America. Fraser escapes with the help of the beautiful Sophie of the circus troupe and is in time to confront Drexel high on the Spanish border before he can trade the prince. In a climax straight out of a classic adventure story, Drexel redeems himself, saving Jabal on a collapsing plank bridge, and chooses death rather than disgrace, allowing himself to fall into the deep ravine. Castle Minerva is a traditional adventure thriller and, like many of the action-oriented stories of the 1950s, harked back to the wartime period for peacetime male readers who had a nostalgic yearning for excitement and comradeship. The restricted perspective of first-person narrative from the viewpoint of Fraser maintains the mystery of the story as readers are drawn into one confusing event after another along with the bemused protagonist. The personal and professional treachery of Drexel is momentary, and the act of redemption and sacrifice at the denouement returns the narrative to normality. The traditional nature of the story is also served in that Fraser intends to marry Sophie, and the reader is left with the improbable, if intriguing, prospect of the English schoolmaster returning to his minor public school with a French circus performer as his wife. Basil Dearden and Michael Relph’s movie version Masquerade appeared in April 1965, part of a production deal the filmmakers had with United Artists that had already realized the psychological drama Woman of Straw (1964). Dearden and Relph had considered filming Castle Minerva in the mid-1950s during their time at the famous Ealing Studios. The original story was a fairly straight adventure yarn typical of its decade, and screenwriters Relph and William Goldman updated this to offer a more ironic treatment of the theme of loyalty and patriotism suitable to a mid-1960s setting, as well as to take account of the recasting of the lead role of Frazer (now spelled with a z) to the American actor Cliff Robertson. Masquerade emerges as a comedy thriller, released with the tagline “The Fun Starts When They Take Their Cloaks and Daggers Off!,” in which the hapless Frazer at one point selfconsciously declares, “I’m an internationally known traitor, I’ve been in a car wreck, dunked in a wine tanker, hit on the head three times and locked up in a cage with a vulture.” Staring directly at the camera, the exasperated character proclaims, “Someone up there hates me.” The reviewer at the Sunday Times felt Robertson had exactly and agreeably found the “unheroic bearing of the hero.”



In a heavily ironic conclusion, the intelligence chiefs hopelessly misinterpret the recent events, place the blame on a subsidiary character, and congratulate Drexel and Frazer on an “entirely successful mission.” The senior man is rewarded with a lucrative post with a grateful oil company, while the American has to make do with the promise of a dinner at the chief’s club and a check for £11 9s. 2d (£11, 9 shillings, and 2 pennies, nearly £12)—the balance left from the original promise of £500 after the deduction of back taxes. Masquerade includes the customary nods to both James Bond and Alfred Hitchcock. In one scene, the young prince is passing time reading Goldfinger (1959) and idly complains that it is too “far-fetched”; a later scene, which has Frazer abducted in a circus by four clowns in full view of the audience, is a typically Hitchcockian moment emphasizing that danger lurks where least expected. A catchy theme song sung by Danny Williams, an animated title sequence, picturesque locations around Alicante on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, and the glamorous continental actress Marisa Mell providing the love interest completed the formula attractions of the picture. The general critical assessment was that Masquerade offered a pleasurable blend of action and light comedy, and had a few worthwhile satirical comments to make regarding espionage narratives and the concomitant fictions of Great Britain’s world standing. The reviewer at The Times felt that Dearden had managed “the right tongue in cheek verve,” a sentiment echoed at the Saturday Review, which acknowledged the director’s “wink,” “his tacit admission that he knows it’s nonsense, but isn’t it lots of fun.” The view at Monthly Film Bulletin, rarely a friend of Dearden and Relph, was more jaundiced, finding the picture a “sluggish thriller,” and dismissing its “modish cynicism.” CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (CIA). The U.S. Intelligence Service. The CIA, established in 1947, replaced the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and though initially based in Washington, D.C., moved permanently to Langley, Virginia, in 1963. Providing research, analysis, and operations functions, the CIA has experienced a checkered history. Until the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974, the president’s authority to authorize the CIA’s intervention on national security grounds went unchallenged; however, public embarrassment and concern over misconduct resulted in damaging congressional investigations in the mid-1970s and revelations of attempted political assassinations overseas, mind control experiments, cover-ups, and domestic surveillance of Vietnam War protestors. The outcome was greater congressional oversight and a long period of public rehabilitation. The CIA has also come in for criticism following alleged failures over the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001 and consequently has had to face some restructuring of national intelligence.



The CIA has featured in the “special relationship” that has existed between Great Britain and the United States since World War II. The London Station is one of the largest outside the United States and is headed by a senior officer. There has long been agreement that neither the CIA nor the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) will conduct operations on the other’s national territory without prior agreement. Of course, suspicion remains regarding possible undeclared intelligence activities on both sides. The CIA has figured in British spy fiction as ally and partner, rival and irritant, and opponent and foe. Writer Len Deighton has pretty much covered the spectrum of representations in his novels, casting Americans in many notable roles. U.S. Foreign Service officer Harvey Newbiggin is a useful contact man in Funeral in Berlin (1964), but as aid of the reactionary General Midwinter, an antagonist in Billion Dollar Brain (1966). The nameless agent of The Ipcress File (1962) is admiring of American ambition when visiting Tokwe Atoll to witness a nuclear test, but he is less appreciative when he is suddenly hauled up for espionage and murder and roughly treated. The tough Colonel Schlegel of Spy Story (1974) and Yesterday’s Spy (1975), and the bureaucratic Bret Rennselaer of the Game, Set and Match trilogy (1984–86) are American senior officers operating within British Intelligence and who perhaps should not be trusted. The best-known CIA agent to feature regularly in British spy stories is Felix Leiter, ally, friend, and, in Casino Royale (1953), savior of James Bond, who appeared in six of the adventures by Ian Fleming. The working partnership of Bond and Leiter is seen as symbolic of the “special relationship” between Britain and the United States, although it is significant that Bond leads and Leiter provides essential support. A mutually desirable functioning relationship between SIS and the CIA is also a feature of The Sandbaggers (TV 1978–80) in which Jeff Ross (Bob Sherman) of CIA London Station makes regular appearances, is informed of British intentions and actions, is consulted on strategy implications, and provides essential material and moral support on some sensitive operations. A slightly different relationship pertains in the “secret state” thriller Edge of Darkness (TV 1985), in which larger-than-life maverick CIA agent Darius Jedburgh (Joe Don Baker) unites with a grieving British policeman (Bob Peck) to uncover an environmental conspiracy. The Double Man (film 1967) is a spy thriller set in Europe that features a senior American CIA officer (Yul Brynner) as the target of a plot to replace him with a doppelgänger. His relationship with a retired British agent reverses the usual hierarchy: the tough, authoritative, and superior American who is used to giving orders, and the tired, weak, and subservient Briton. A similar casting of national types is played in Ian McEwan’s The Innocent



(novel 1990, film 1993), which features a young, inexperienced British engineer put under the command of a tough-talking professional CIA officer in Berlin as unusual arrangements are made to spy on the Soviets. Several stories paint a less than flattering picture of U.S. Intelligence and its agents. Such a viewpoint is part of a broader British suspicion and envy of the United States, and a sometimes expressed distaste of a perceived brashness, assertiveness, and swank in the American character. In Disorderly Elements (1985), the minister responsible for the intelligence services declares, “You know, I really can’t stand the Americans. They’re so noisy and vulgar.” Americans are drawn as crude and egotistical: the unlikable Milton K. Nagel, the head of the Anglo-U.S. Intelligence Liaison, is derided as a “loudmouthed slob who ate hamburgers instead of taking baths.” In the story Charlie Muffin (novel 1977, TV 1979) by Brian Freemantle, the fragile alliance between Britain and the United States is treated satirically. The British preen at the prospect of reeling in a senior Soviet defector; the Americans, wildly envious, scheme to be allowed to participate and share in the spoils, believing the incompetent Brits are bound to “screw it up.” The truth, of course, is that a wily old general of the KGB is taking both for a ride and uses the suspicion and misgivings between the British and Americans to identify and round up all the Western agents in Austria. In several stories, British agents come up against the U.S. Secret Service as rival and competitor. In The Eliminator (novel 1966, filmed as Danger Route 1967) by Andrew York, the agent Jonas Wilde is ordered by SIS to kill a Soviet defector in American custody that SIS believes is a plant. The agent succeeds but is captured by the CIA, which in turn uses Wilde to flush out a traitor within the British Secret Service. The CIA as dominant partner in an Atlantic alliance is a theme in The Whistle Blower (1984) by John Hale, in which the British SIS has to bow to pressure from the CIA and wrongly eliminates suspected spies for the Soviets. CHARLIE MUFFIN. Novel and television movie. Charlie Muffin by Brian Freemantle is the first novel to feature the eponymous series character and was first published in 1977. In the story, there has recently been a shake-up of British Intelligence: a new military rigor will prevail, and old hands such as the meritocratic Muffin, working class and grammar school educated, are out, in favor of Oxbridge types. However, Muffin is a survivor. Muffin survives a betrayal by his own service as he crosses from East to West Berlin, suffers an inferior office, and is refused the credit for the recent breaking of a Soviet network in the West, which has landed the important Russian agent Berenkov in jail. The department seeks to demote him, or better still, remove him. Muffin’s native brilliance and his superior’s incompetence keep the shrewd agent one step ahead. Kalenin, a senior general of the KGB, is under pressure following the exposure of the Berenkov network;



he indicates to the British that he is willing to defect for $500,000. This would be a major coup for the new regime, and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) brings pressure to bear to be included as part of the operation. Initially, Charlie is scrupulously kept out of things, but when two inexperienced agents are lost to Russian counterespionage, Muffin is recalled and sent to Moscow to negotiate secretly with the general. An elaborate Anglo-American operation is mounted in Austria to bring the valuable defector through from Czechoslovakia. All the while, Muffin is dangerously exposed. When Kalenin is welcomed by the chief of British Intelligence and the director of the CIA at a safe house in Vienna, he casually announces that he has no intention of defecting and that he has used the opportunity to round up the 200 Western agents deployed on the operation and has the chief and the director at his mercy. British Intelligence and the CIA have been delivered a serious blow, all in revenge for the destruction of the Soviet network, and the westerners will be exchanged for Berenkov. Muffin has colluded with the Russian general, will keep the $500,000, and is confident he can keep one step ahead of a vengeful British Intelligence and CIA. With Charlie Muffin, Brian Freemantle created a distinctive secret agent, conceiving of him as “a quirky, unpredictable, oddball MI5 spy who’s a pain in the ass of his Public School colleagues.” The author described his character as “disheveled, cantankerous and disrespectful . . . a devious, amoral, determined, stop-at-nothing survivor who drinks too much and gambles too hard”; his axiom is “to screw anyone from anywhere to avoid it happening to him.” The middle-aged, lower-class agent is further characterized by permanently aching feet covered over with comfortable, if impractical, and scuffed Hush Puppy suede shoes. Muffin is eternally at odds with his higher-class superiors who look down on him with distaste. A true professional, Muffin has more in common with his opponent in the KGB, Berenkov. Freemantle published a further 16 Charlie Muffin stories. Charlie Muffin was produced as a television movie at Euston Films in 1979, part of its Armchair Cinema strand, scripted by the respected Keith Waterhouse, directed by the talented Jack Gold, and shot on location in London, Vienna, and Berlin. The drama sometimes went by the name A Deadly Game. It is a close adaptation of the novel and lavishly casts David Hemmings as the crumpled Muffin. A witty credit sequence presents a restricted view in which only the feet of characters are observed, with smart brogues finally passing onto worn Hush Puppies and the introduction of the misfit protagonist. The critical reaction to the television drama was muted as reviewers had only very recently been bowled over by the BBC television version of John le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979). Margaret Forwood at the Sun noted the comparison, suggesting that where “Smiley was an enigma, Charlie was a riot.” Nancy Banks-Smith in the Guardian liked Muffin but admitted it was merely a “tinier tinker.” Clive James at the



Observer found the drama a “wearily familiar story,” and he couldn’t resist the parting shot: “Tinkers, tailors, soldiers, cobblers.” Brian Freemantle was impressed by Hemmings’s characterization of Muffin, revealing, “Up until that moment I knew how Charlie Muffin thought and how he’d react and what he physically looked like. But I didn’t have his facial features. But from then on I did and it’s always David Hemmings’s face I see when I’m writing, not my blank-canvassed Charlie.” There had been vague plans to shoot other Muffin stories, but these never materialized. See also MASCULINITY. CHARLOTTE GRAY. Novel and motion picture. Charlotte Gray, a wartime story of the Special Operations Executive (SOE), is the sixth novel by the acclaimed author Sebastian Faulks; following The Girl at the Lion d’Or (1989) and Birdsong (1993), it is the third of his historical stories set in France. Charlotte Gray is a young Scottish woman who is reluctantly persuaded to join G Section of SOE and trains to serve as a courier with the resistance in France. When her lover, Peter Gregory, is shot down over France, Charlotte accepts a mission where she hopes she will be able to locate and help him if he is still alive. The long novel develops along several narrative strands, unfolding across the years 1942–43. There is Charlotte’s mission with the resistance, her efforts to track down Peter, and her complex relationship with her father, a character suffering from his traumatic experience of World War I and who had appeared in the earlier Birdsong. There is the injured Peter who must painfully make his way back to friendly lines. There is Julien, the local resistance leader, who falls under the spell of Charlotte; and there is his father and two young Jewish boys who are eventually rounded up by the authorities for dispatch to a concentration camp. In the final outcome, Charlotte and Peter are reunited in England. Faulks spent a year in Burgundy while he was writing Charlotte Gray; fascinated by the prospect of communicating the experience of recent history, the author aimed to provide readers with an “imaginative access to the past.” In an author’s note appended to the novel, Faulks states that he drew on documentary evidence and “tried to represent the historical background as it actually was.” Critics tended to find the novel two-faced: a rather improbable love story set in rural France and a somewhat more serious treatment of the human condition in the complex context of occupation. As noted at the New York Times, the novel was “about changing perceptions of morality, existential solitude, the dehumanizing effects of war, the nature of romantic love.” The driving motivation of romance deflects from the credibility of a story about women in the secret war, and although there are claims that Charlotte Gray draws on the actual experiences of brave agents such as Nancy Wake and Pearl Cornioley—and there is an observable influence from



the classic account rendered in Odette (1949)—the novel is a missed opportunity to present an imaginative treatment of a remarkable set of female experiences from World War II. The novel was adapted into the movie Charlotte Gray in 2001, directed by Gillian Armstrong, starring Cate Blanchett, shot on location in the MidiPyrénées region in southern France, and released with the tagline “The story of an ordinary woman in an extraordinary time.” The film story centers more on the heroine and each of the strands of the book; Peter, Julien and his father and the Jewish boys are experienced from the character of the protagonist. Some material is lost to simplification—for example, the issues Charlotte has with her father—while others are changed, such that the picture ends with the heroine returning to France after the war to take up her romance with Julien. The effect is to enhance further the romantic and melodramatic aspects of the story and package these alongside the visual pleasures of a contemporary heritage film experience. It was also felt that the movie fudged the matter of language and accents, as no character speaks French; some, like Julien (Billy Crudup), speak with a French accent, while others such as his father (Michael Gambon) unaccountably speak plain English. The New York Times found the film “lumbering” and complained of an “incoherence and lack of credibility in a movie that leaves an emotional void.” At least one reviewer unfavorably compared the movie with a former classic, suggesting that “Carve Her Name with Pride sets a very high standard that Charlotte Gray never really approaches.” In 1999, Cate Blanchett had played the lead role in a celebrated performance of David Hare’s Plenty, a stage play that dealt with a former wartime female agent readjusting with difficulty to the peace. See also ODETTE; SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II; WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. CHESSGAME. Novels and television drama series. Chessgame is the television dramatization of the first three novels of Anthony Price, produced at Granada Television and broadcast in 1983. The stories The Labyrinth Makers (1970), The Alamut Ambush (1971), and Colonel Butler’s Wolf (1972) feature the series character Dr. David Audley, a historian of the medieval Arab world whose scholarly aptitude is used by British Intelligence where he serves as a Middle East analyst and security adviser. In the novel The Labyrinth Makers, Audley is required to delve into a mystery dating back to September 1945 and the disappearance of a Royal Air Force transport plane in flight from Berlin to England. The Dakota has recently been found in a lake with the dead body of the pilot, and, inexplicably, the Russians show a keen interest and sniff around the investigation. Audley, with his assistants Hugh Roskill and Colonel Butler, is quickly able to establish that the crew was involved in the black market, but this doesn’t explain the KGB’s continued concern. Interviewing surviving airmen and relatives,



and piecing together disparate clues, the scholar makes the remarkable discovery that the plane was carrying Schliemann’s treasure, plundered from Turkey in the 1870s, deposited in Berlin in 1881, and which disappeared in 1945 during the Russian invasion of Germany. Audley’s research enables him to find the treasure on a disused airfield in the Midlands, where it is claimed by Panin, a Russian archeologist who is also a dangerous KGB agent. Audley correctly surmises that the Russian is actually after documents that reveal the treachery of the Soviet army in the 1930s, secreted in with the treasure, and which could be used as a powerful bargaining lever in a current power struggle in Russia. Panin leaves with the documents and the British are left with the treasure. In the novel The Alamut Ambush, a bomb is planted in the car of a senior adviser on Middle Eastern affairs at the Foreign Office; however, it is a young security technician, Alan Jenkins, who is blown up defusing the device. In this story, Hugh Roskill, a friend of Jenkins, leads the investigation, and Audley hovers in the background piecing together the complex puzzle. It is cleverly surmised that Jenkins was, in fact, the target of the assassination, having unexpectedly stumbled across secret plans for a cease-fire in the troubled Middle East. Meanwhile, an Arab terrorist group plots to wreck the détente through assassinating all moderate leaders in the region. Israeli and Egyptian intelligence officers plan to remove the terrorist threat through an Israeli air strike on the jet carrying the terrorist planners, with the likely blame being attributed to one of the many fringe Arab terrorist groups. At the culminating meeting in England between the Israeli and Egyptian intelligence officers, Roskill, though wounded, shoots dead three of the terrorists before they can get word to the Middle East. It is at this point that Roskill finally understands that the unfortunate Jenkins had been killed by the Israelis before he innocently gave the game away. In the novel Colonel Butler’s Wolf, a threat emerges in which the Soviets are planting able young men in the leading universities in the hope of them attaining positions of power and influence in the future. One of these, Neil Smith, having second thoughts, is mysteriously killed in a motorcycle crash—but not before suggesting to a former master at Oxford University that he is, in fact, a Russian deep penetration agent. In this story, with Roskill holed up in hospital recovering from his wound, Colonel Butler leads the investigation, with Audley once again lingering on the fringes pursuing his own discrete inquiries and offering occasional penetrating insights. The conspiracy is identified at Castleshields, an elite educational establishment in the north of England, close to Hadrian’s Wall. Butler infiltrates the college, posing as a Roman military historian, and he is aided by Dan McLachlan and Polly Epton, two student friends of Smith. A plot to assassinate a reactionary


CHEYNEY, PETER (1896–1951)

Portuguese general visiting the Wall is discovered and averted, but this turns out to be a blind, enacted to divert attention from McLachlan who is a Soviet plant. Polly shoots McLachlan dead before he can kill Butler. The first three novels of Anthony Price announced an original talent in British spy fiction. Audley is an eccentric, scholarly figure and echoes the university dons who were recruited into the secret war of deception and black propaganda between 1939 and 1945. Audley is not a man of action, more at home in the “back room among the files and the reports,” a “world of possibilities and theories and hypotheses.” He is a man uncomfortable with people but excited by an intellectual puzzle and exceedingly devious. The stories are full of literary and historical allusions and quotations, there for the educated and intelligent reader to savor: Charles Dickens, John Dryden, and Rudyard Kipling in The Labyrinth Makers; Shakespeare, Kipling, and the military philosophy of de Vigny in The Alamut Ambush (Alamut is the location in northern Persia where the sect of the Assassins originated); and Aldous Huxley, A. E. Housman, the Roman hero Gaius Mucius Scaevola, Beowulf, Robert Graves, Kipling, and Shakespeare in Colonel Butler’s Wolf. The television serial Chessgame comprised six 55-minute episodes and treated each novel across two installments. Film star Terence Stamp, although reluctant to play in a television drama, was cast as Dr. Audley, and the actor’s working-class London and sexy persona is hardly ideal for the Cambridge scholar he is playing. The story of The Labyrinth Makers is necessarily updated to accommodate a production of the early 1980s: the treasure is now the czar’s, and the documents relate to a supposed wartime pact between the Red Army and the Nazis. While Roskill (Robin Sachs) and Colonel Butler (renamed Nick Hannah, who uses the cover name of Colonel Butler on the operation; Michael Culver) lead the operations in the dramatizations of The Alamut Ambush and Colonel Butler’s Wolf, in deference to the casting of Stamp, the character of Audley in these adventures is given greater prominence. The adaptation is quite flat, largely uninvolving and lacks the intellectual challenge of the original novels. A reviewer in the Guardian thought Chessgame had “the look of a low-rent Le Carré, sexier, but less sonorous”; although Judith Simons at the Daily Express felt Stamp graced the Audley character with “ascetic fascination and subtle sex appeal.” CHEYNEY, PETER (1896–1951). Novelist. Reginald Peter Southouse Cheyney was born in common circumstances in Whitechapel, east London. He served as a lieutenant in World War I, had modest business ventures in the theater, spent some important formative time as a crime reporter, and flirted with right-wing politics. He eventually found success in the mid-1930s with a crude type of crime fiction modeled on the American hard-boiled style and featuring such derivative characters as the G-Man agent Lemmy Caution and the private eye Slim



Callaghan. Unsurprisingly, critics were unimpressed, sometimes shocked by Cheyney’s coarse efforts and excessive violence, and rejected the “embarrassingly pseudo-American style” in the Caution stories. John le Carré later complained of the “awful, mercifully forgotten chauvinistic writers like Peter Cheyney.” The successful crime novelist published over 30 “tough thrillers” and many collections of short stories; he was very popular on the Continent and influenced such British hard-boiled writers as James Hadley Chase and Hank Janson. Commencing during World War II, Cheyney wrote a number of spy thrillers. Seven novels, which include Dark Duet (1942), Dark Hero (1946), and Dark Bahama (1950), have come to be known in Great Britain for obvious reasons as the “Dark” series. For some, the stories dealing with British counterespionage around the time of World War II are an improvement on the bloody crime novels. They feature similar tough characters in the form of Michael Kane, Johnny Vallon, Shaun O’Mara, and the sinister Free-Belgian Ernest Guelvada, and it has been suggested that the wartime titles were smuggled into occupied Europe, where they “carried a message to those who needed cheer and encouragement in their secret and dangerous tasks.” The stories have been viewed as Cheyney’s most original work, “uncompromising studies of the cold-blooded world of spies and double agents.” As such, they constitute “Cheyney at the very top of his form.” Cheyney also put his series detectives to espionage work from time to time, as with Everard Peter Quale in The Stars Are Dark (1943) and Lemmy Caution in I’ll Say She Does! (1946). Cheyney was a flamboyant figure who enjoyed an ostentatious lifestyle, driving fast red sports cars, parading around in a showy black cloak and wide-brimmed hat, and sporting a red carnation and gold monocle. There are claims that Ian Fleming was an avid reader of Cheyney and studied the latter’s style as he embarked on the James Bond saga. CHILDERS, ERSKINE (1870–1922). Novelist and Irish patriot. Robert Erskine Childers was born in London, but grew up with an aunt and uncle in Ireland. He studied law and languages at Cambridge, was employed as a clerk in the House of Commons, and patriotically served in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899–1902. Childers authored a number of volumes on military strategy, which included War and the Arme Blanche (1910) and German Influence on British Cavalry (1911), as well as The Framework of Home Rule (1911), a book which dealt with the thorny Irish Question. Childers only ever wrote a single work of literary fiction, but it was the classic The Riddle of the Sands (1903), a novel that has never been out of print. He was a passionate sailing enthusiast who regularly adventured around the treacherous North Sea, and this provided him with the technical knowledge and background to write the story of two British yachtsmen who



venture to the remote Frisian Islands in search of German naval intentions. The novel has been regarded as one of the greatest treatments of sailing in literature, the best of the “invasion scare” novels of the period, as well as one of the most influential of all spy stories. The Riddle of the Sands was written as a warning of the growing militarism of Imperial Germany; Childers himself declared it “a yachting story with a purpose,” and the tale is given credibility now that it has become known that Germany had prepared plans for the invasion of Great Britain as early as 1896. Disenchanted with government policy on Ireland, Childers increasingly turned his support toward the Irish Republican cause. On the eve of World War I, this involved him in gun-running, using his yacht Asgard to ferry weapons to the National Volunteers near Dublin. Childers served with distinction for Britain in the Royal Naval Volunteer reserve during the war, working in air reconnaissance and, for a time, with the Secret Intelligence Service in the eastern Mediterranean, earning a Distinguished Service Cross and reaching the rank of lieutenant commander. After the war, he settled in Dublin, edited the republican Irish Bulletin, served as minister of propaganda in the self-constituted Dáil Éireann formed in 1921, and acted as secretary to the Irish delegation at the peace conference in London and as a hard-liner opposed the resulting Irish Free State. In November 1922, he was arrested in his childhood home of Glendalough by Free State soldiers, convicted and executed by firing squad. As a biographer observed, “Vilified as a traitor by many in both England and Ireland, Childers met a curious and tragic end for the author of a work so fervently patriotic as The Riddle of the Sands.” CLUBLAND HEROES. See MASCULINITY. CNOCKAERT, MARTHE. See MCKENNA, MARTHE (1892–1966). CODENAME: KYRIL. See THE MAN CALLED KYRIL. COLD WARRIOR. See BLOOD MONEY. COLES, MANNING. Novelist. Manning Coles is the pseudonym of two British mystery writers, Adelaide Frances Oke Manning (1891–1959) and Cyril Henry Coles (1899–1965), neighbors in East Meon, Hampshire, who wrote many spy thrillers from the early 1940s through the early 1960s. Manning was educated at the High School for Girls in Tunbridge Wells, Kent; she worked in a munitions factory and later at the War Office during World War I. A birth defect had left her with a deformed ankle, and a career as a writer seemed a natural choice. However, a debut novel, Half-Valdez (1939), a fanciful tale of a hunt for lost Spanish treasure hidden in the days of



the Armada, was a critical and commercial failure. Cyril studied at Churchers College in Petersfield, Hampshire, but he was an indifferent student and had excelled in school in only two areas, modern languages and creative writing, in spite of being dyslexic. When war broke out in 1914, Coles attempted to get in on the action despite being only 15 years old. His parents prevented this and sent him to work in a draughtsman’s office in a shipyard, but the young man managed in the following year to gain entry to a front line regiment and saw action in France. Use was made of his languages and Cyril ended up being conscripted into Military Intelligence, becoming Great Britain’s youngest intelligence officer. He went behind German lines working out of Cologne and did not return to England until 1920, two years after the war ended. Following the war, Cyril ran an import-export business in Cologne, and he pent time in Australia working on the railways, managing a garage, and working as a journalist. Coles also seemingly served some kind of intelligence role during World War II, allegedly operating in Holland and Germany, and by some accounts retaining his association with British Intelligence until the late 1950s. While having tea one day, Manning and Coles discovered their common interest in the literary life and hit upon the idea for a spy novel based on Cyril’s own adventures in World War I. This was published to acclaim in 1940 as Drink to Yesterday, a story that was relatively realistic and included a touch of grimness. A follow-up was required, but the problem was that the authors had killed off the young protagonist Michael Kingston and his schoolteacher-spy mentor Tommy Hambledon in the original adventure. In the event, Hambledon was more easily resurrected; he returned in Pray Silence (1941, best known under its U.S. title Toast to Tomorrow), where it is revealed he was not drowned in the North Sea but picked up by a submarine and interred in Germany. The story is set during the early years of the Nazis in Germany. Thomas Elphinstone Hambledon, a modern-language instructor and sometime secret agent who works for British Intelligence, would eventually feature in 23 spy thrillers. The character was possibly based on John Radwell, Cyril Coles’s supportive language teacher at Churchers. The postwar books perhaps suffered from an excess of lightheartedness and whimsy, something the eminent critic Anthony Boucher described as “good-humored implausibility,” and such titles as Green Hazard (1945) and The Man in the Green Hat (1955) remained popular. Following Adelaide Manning’s death in 1959, Cyril Coles completed Concrete Crime (1960) on his own, and Search for a Sultan (1961) and The House at Pluck’s Corner (1963) with Tom Hammerton. The early stories have been seen as part of the reconfiguring of British fiction in the 1940s, a time of considerable social and cultural change, with Manning Coles offering a particular style of “identity-seeking, reconstructive espionage fiction.” Literary critics suggested the aesthetic of some writing of



the 1940s and 1950s is best explained in terms of “intermodernism,” a critical practice that engages with non-canonical genres addressed at middleclass readers. Mary Ann Scholfield sees the energy and probing of the early novels of Manning Coles as responses to “Total War,” which give way to less challenging and more plot-oriented stories in the postwar period. The series agent Tommy Hambledon suffers from “frequent amnesiac or ‘gap’ states,” and Scholfield interprets this in terms of a fractured sense of self and an apt metaphor for a disorientated Britain at war. In the wartime novels, therefore, Coles can, in the view of Scholfield, offer intriguing ways to view the wartime order of identity, fictionality, and politics “at its most vulnerable time,” and thereby set about “restoring the mythic order of national and cultural stability.” Manning Coles also wrote a number of humorous novels about modernday ghosts, some of them involving apparitional cousins named Charles and James Latimer. These novels were published in England under the pseudonym of Francis Gaite but released in the United States under the Manning Coles imprint. See also SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II; WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. COLONEL BUTLER’S WOLF. See CHESSGAME. CONNERY, SIR SEAN (1930– ). Actor. Connery grew up in working-class Edinburgh, served in the Royal Navy, and afterward worked in various menial jobs before drifting into acting. He was an enthusiastic bodybuilder, and his impressive physique would contribute significantly to his screen presence. He worked briefly in the theater and attracted some parts on television, appearing in such shows as Dixon of Dock Green (1956) and single-play dramas like Requiem for a Heavyweight (1957) and The Square Ring (1959). In the cinema, Connery tended to be cast in working-class tough roles, films such as Hell Drivers (1957) and the crime film The Frightened City (1961), and his face can be seen playing a private among the cast of stars in the epic war film The Longest Day (1962). Connery’s breakthrough to international stardom came when he was cast as the secret agent James Bond in Dr. No (1962), the first movie adaptation of the popular spy novels of Ian Fleming. He played the role in the next four titles, From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), and You Only Live Twice (1967). His replacement George Lazenby in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) did not prove suitable, and Connery was again cast as Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1971). During a lull in his career, he returned for a final outing as Bond in Never Say Never Again (1983), produced unofficially away from Eon Productions, which controlled the franchise. The raw and rugged Connery was not what Fleming envi-

CONRAD, JOSEPH (1857–1924)


sioned, initially dismissing him as an “overgrown stunt-man.” However, the elegant Terence Young, director of the first two films, tutored the actor, showing him how to walk, how to talk, how to dress, and how to eat. Following the premiere of Dr. No, Fleming and most others were impressed, and Connery became one of the great action stars and sex symbols of the decade. Wary of being typecast, Connery maintained a schedule of work in other productions, such as the two intelligent thrillers Woman of Straw (1964) and Marnie, the latter directed by Alfred Hitchcock (U.S., 1964). The actor struck up a particularly productive relationship with the American director Sidney Lumet, starring in the British-made war film The Hill (1965), the psychological police drama The Offence (1972), the all-star adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (1974), and the U.S.-made The Anderson Tapes (U.S., 1971) and Family Business (U.S., 1989). A major international star, Connery later appeared in the European-made medieval adventure The Name of the Rose (West Germany/Italy/France, 1986), for which Connery received the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for Best Actor. He appeared as the Soviet submariner who might be defecting in the thriller The Hunt for Red October (U.S., 1990), won an Academy Award for his supporting role as a tough Irish cop in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables (U.S., 1987), and, in an inspired piece of casting, played the father of a contemporary superhero in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (U.S., 1989). His work in British cinema included starring roles in John Boorman’s challenging science fiction film Zardoz (1974), John Huston’s adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s imperial adventure The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Richard Attenborough’s star-studded A Bridge Too Far (1977), and in the science fiction thriller Outland (1981). Connery received a Lifetime Achievement Award (1990) and a Fellowship (1998) from BAFTA, was awarded the French Legion d’honneur, and was knighted in 2000. He has been a lifetime supporter of Scottish nationalism and provides a personal portrait of Scotland and its achievements in Being a Scot (2009). See also MASCULINITY. CONRAD, JOSEPH (1857–1924). Novelist. Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski was born into a respectable family at Berdyczów in Ukraine. His parents were Polish patriots and both died as a result of Russian oppression. To this Polish upbringing may be traced Conrad’s later preoccupation with the themes of isolation, embattled honor, and political disillusionment. A lover of adventure and the sea, Conrad spent many years serving on ships (first French and later British) and traveling the world. In 1886, he not only gained his master’s certificate but also took British nationality. His experience of many far-flung posts was imaginatively recorded in such masterpieces as An Outcast of the Islands (1896) and Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim (both 1899). With English as his third tongue, it is astonishing that



Conrad became one of the greatest writers of fiction in the English language. It was often a struggle, however; the writer once complained that “I had to work like a coalminer in his pit quarrying all my English sentences out of a black night.” The Secret Agent (1907) and Under Western Eyes (1911) were written during Conrad’s most brilliant period and represent a high point of literary achievement in espionage fiction. The two stories with their “dark portrayals of intrigue and betrayal, of ceaseless but futile espionage between countries” stand in stark contrast to the contemporary popular writing of William Le Queux and E. Phillips Oppenheim and their gentlemen heroes and caddish foreign spies. Conrad’s morally complex tales are the origin point for the line of development in spy fiction, which traces its course through Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene, and John le Carré. Greene, in particular, is seen as the inheritor of the Conradian tradition, and the seedy, corrupt terrain of “Greeneland” owes much to the murky, debased city of The Secret Agent. It is recorded that when Greene voyaged up a Congo tributary to research A Burnt-Out Case (1960), Conrad’s Heart of Darkness accompanied him. However, a novel such as The Secret Agent has been seen as more thoroughly tragic, a story without heroism and no meaningful conflict between good and evil: in Conrad’s own view, a use of anarchist intrigue and counterespionage as a means of “telling Winnie Verloc’s story to its anarchistic end of utter desolation, madness and despair.” The Secret Agent reached the screen in 1935 as Sabotage in a famous film version by Alfred Hitchcock and, more recently, in 1996 in a film version by Christopher Hampton; it was adapted for television in 1967 (two parts), 1975, and 1992 (three parts). Under Western Eyes was adapted as single television dramas in 1962 and 1975. CONTRABAND. Motion picture. Contraband, released early in 1940, was the second collaboration of director Michael Powell and screenwriter Emeric Pressburger, and followed their thriller The Spy in Black (1939). The wartime film starred Conrad Veidt and Valerie Hobson who had been successfully paired in the previous picture. The setting is November 1939, and involves the Danish Captain Andersen (Veidt) stranded in Great Britain while his ship is inspected for contraband. When two passengers jump ship, Andersen takes pursuit and follows them to London, a capital city in the grip of the blackout. Andersen quickly locates the beautiful Mrs. Sorensen (Hobson) and is drawn into a dangerous intrigue in which the couple is abducted and held captive by foreign spies. Sorensen is, in fact, a British secret agent seeking to get crucial information to the Admiralty regarding a German scheme that has its ships disguised as neutral vessels. There follows an inventive series of escapes and fights, and Andersen, suborning the staff of a

CRAIG, DANIEL (1968– )


Danish restaurant storms the secret headquarters of the spy ring. In a final shootout, Andersen kills the main German agent, Van Dyne (Raymond Lovell). Contraband was produced during the “Phony War” period, before the German army’s sweep westward and northward into continental Europe made the lighthearted tone and the hopes of alliance insinuated in the film irrelevant. The picture was released in Britain on 11 May 1940—the day after Winston Churchill became prime minister and as World War II was starting in earnest. Film scholar Tony Williams suggested that Contraband “resembles a cinematic gourmet feast” in the imaginative manner that it blends generic elements and national cinematic traditions. Pressburger, Veidt, and art director Alfred Junge were Central European and personified the best traditions of pre-Nazi German cinema; Powell had experience of filmmaking in the south of France, and Hobson had worked in Hollywood. In particular, Contraband is appreciated for the way it weaves together the traditions of expressionism and romantic comedy of the German cinema with Hollywood film noir and screwball zaniness. A celebrated scene is the concluding shootout, which takes place in a warehouse stuffed with patriotic plaster busts. As Andersen and Van Dyne blast it out, figures of recent Prime Minister Joseph Chamberlain are smashed to pieces, a symbolic reference to the bankruptcy of appeasement for dealing with European dictators. Williams also identifies an untypical sexiness in the picture, drawing on the “Viennese influence” and “emphasizing sexuality in a far more accomplished manner using double entendres and other devices that would escape the censor.” A motif of bondage worthy of Alfred Hitchcock is weaved into the relationship between Andersen and Sorensen, and the film employs “hidden shadows” in both its imagery and suggestiveness. A lighthearted espionage thriller, Contraband deploys the usual themes of democratic alliance and anti-Nazism of the early wartime period; but, in the hands of the daring and unconventional Powell and Pressburger, the picture also manages a visual and thematic sophistication that would appear to even greater effect in such later masterpieces as The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) and A Matter of Life and Death (1946). See also SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II. CRAIG, DANIEL (1968– ). Actor. Raised in Liverpool, Craig studied at the National Youth Theatre and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and began to make regular appearances on television from the early 1990s. His breakthrough role on TV was as Geordie Peacock in the acclaimed drama serial Our Friends in the North (1996), which required the actor to age 30 years over eight episodes. In cinema, Craig was cast in the cameo role of the would-be assassin John Ballard in Elizabeth (1998), and he obtained the more substantial parts of George Dyer, the lover of a controver-


CREASEY, JOHN (1908–1973)

sial painter in Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998), and as the tough and experienced Sergeant Winter in William Boyd’s uncompromising World War I drama The Trench (1999). Craig was introduced to mainstream U.S. audiences with supporting roles in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (U.S., 2001) and Road to Perdition (U.S., 2002). Craig convinced as the troubled protagonist of Enduring Love (2004) and the well-todo drug dealer in Layer Cake (also 2004, and one of the better recent British gangster pictures). In 2005, in a surprise move, Craig signed a multi-picture deal with Eon Productions to play James Bond. The casting surprised and perplexed many: some rejected a blond 007, some found him too old at 37 to start a series, and others suggested it was an ill-advised move for a stage-trained actor. The first of his outings, Casino Royale (2006), silenced the doubters and proved to be the most commercially successful Bond film to that date; Craig won many plaudits for his performance, including an unexpected British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Actor Award nomination. His portrayal of the iconic secret agent was “brutish” and “sexy”; one critic referred to his characterization as a “noble thug,” and the actor was judged in some quarters to have improved the cultural relevancy of the character. His second Bond movie, Quantum of Solace (2008), was not as well received, many feeling the revenge-driven narrative was out of character and the film under-powered in terms of the villain and the Bond Girl. After a four-year hiatus, Skyfall appeared late in 2012 to great acclaim and success, marking the 50th anniversary of the James Bond series. With his performance in this film, critics tended to accept that Craig now fully inhabited the role of James Bond, had “relaxed into Bond,” had “developed an authoritative Bond persona,” and stepped “out of the shadow of [Sean] Connery.” Elsewhere, Craig has starred in the epic Defiance (U.S., 2008), a true story of Russian partisans in World War II, and the better-received adaptation of Steig Larsson’s best-selling The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (U.S./Sw/No, 2011), directed by David Fincher. CREASEY, JOHN (1908–1973). Novelist. Creasey, born in Southfields, Surrey, to an ordinary working-class family, was possibly the most prolific novelist in the English language. In a phenomenal career, he wrote over 600 novels in at least 5,000 editions, using a variety of names, such as Michael Halliday, Anthony Morton, J. J. Maric, Gordon Ashe, and Norman Deane, as well as John Creasey. His books were translated into 29 languages and sold in excess of 80 million copies in his lifetime. At times, Creasey was writing 30–40 novels and selling one to two million copies a year. Creasey is best known for his crime and detective fiction, writing popular series featuring such characters as The Toff, The Baron, Inspector Roger West, Gideon of Scotland Yard, and Dr. Cellini, a criminal psychiatrist; he



also wrote children’s books, westerns, romances, and many short stories. Somehow, Creasey found time to write spy thrillers, notably within the Department Z series (1933–57), the Dr. Palfrey series (1942–79), The Liberator series (writing as Norman Deane, 1939–54) and the Patrick Dawlish series (writing as Gordon Ashe, 1939–77). The Gideon stories are the author’s most acclaimed work, judged by some as the best examples of the police procedural novel produced in Great Britain. In the assessment of the genre critic Melvyn Barnes, Creasey’s “early novels gave little evidence of the good standard of his work to come”; however, he felt that the author “was later to show that he possessed a well of ideas which was never to run dry, a facility to keep countless readers enthralled with action as well as mystery, and the ability to improve upon the literary quality of his actual writings as his career progressed.” In 1953, Creasey cofounded the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) in the United Kingdom. The CWA New Blood Dagger (formerly the John Creasey Memorial Dagger) is awarded in his memory. In 1969, Creasey received the Mystery Writers of America’s greatest honor, the Grand Master Award. He was editor and publisher of the John Creasey Mystery Magazine (1956–65) and was made Member of the Order of the British Empire for services in the United Kingdom’s National Savings Movement during World War II. See also SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II. CUMMING, CHARLES (1971– ). Novelist. Cumming was born in Ayr, Scotland, and educated at Eton College and the University of Edinburgh, where he took first class honors in English literature in 1994. Following graduation, Cumming was approached for recruitment by MI6, but the young man’s entry into the covert world of the Secret Service got no further than the preliminary stages. Cumming has written a number of contemporary spy thrillers, commencing with A Spy by Nature in 2001, a story dealing with Alec Milius, a new recruit to MI5 who gets drawn into the shady world of industrial espionage and international intrigue. The first part of the story dealing with recruitment into the Security Service was drawn from the author’s own recent experience with MI6. Each of the subsequent novels treats a modern development or an aspect of recent concern for the intelligence services: the Russian Mafia and the war in Afghanistan in The Hidden Man (2003), nationalist terrorism in Spain in The Spanish Game (2006, a second Milius story), and the changing scene in China since the transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997 in Typhoon (2008). A Foreign Country (2012), taking its cue from the appointment of Stella Rimington at MI5 in the 1990s, is a thriller dealing with the sudden disappearance of Amelia Levene, the first female head of MI6. The recent A Colder War (2014) features Thomas Kell, the agent disgraced in the previous story, in a search for a mole in British Intelligence that takes him



from Turkey, through London, to Greece, and into Eastern Europe. Perhaps the most ambitious novel is The Trinity Six (2011), in which an academic stumbles on evidence that there was a sixth member of the Cambridge spy ring. The novels have been critically well received; A Foreign Country won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, awarded by the Crime Writers’ Association for the year’s best thriller in the vein of Ian Fleming. The Times described Cumming as “the man who most successfully gets under the skin of Britain’s intelligence agencies”; and of the new generation of spy authors he is the one most commonly seen to be “writing in the shadow of John le Carré.” A Spy by Nature, Typhoon, and The Trinity Six have all been optioned for screen adaptation, while Cumming’s novels have been translated into nine languages. The novelist constantly has to disappoint inquirers with the simple fact that he is not related to Sir Mansfield Cumming, the first head of the Secret Intelligence Service. CURTAIN OF FEAR. Novel. Billed as a “Dramatic story of a nightmare weekend behind the Iron Curtain,” Curtain of Fear by Dennis Wheatley was first published in 1953. The story concerns the cousins Bilto and Nicholas Novák, the former a scientist based at Harwell, the government’s atomic energy research establishment, and the latter a junior professor of political economics at Birmingham University, and both of Czech descent. To prevent Bilto defecting to Czechoslovakia, Nicholas poses as his cousin, but this unfortunately leads to his forcibly being taken to Prague in the belief that he is Bilto Novák. Behind the Iron Curtain, Nicholas has all his cherished ideals crushed. He finds a repressive police state and, once exposed, is branded an imperialist spy and prepared for transit to Moscow where mind control will be used to make him confess his crimes at a show trial. Fedora Hořovská, the “comrade-companion” of Bilto, reveals herself a member of the resistance, and the pair escapes captivity and flees to the border. Fedora dies melodramatically shortly before her chance of freedom, but Nicholas makes it to Germany where he is able to warn the authorities and have Bilto detained. He returns to Birmingham, now content to marry his well-bred girlfriend. Wheatley had published seven Gregory Sallust novels, his main espionage character in the time-honored heroic mold, before attempting something different and more up to date with Curtain of Fear. It is a Cold War thriller by a reactionary of the old school of traditional adventure stories, and that is where its chief interest lies. As such, stage villains spout Marxist-Leninist platitudes as they set about novel forms of repression, the hero denounces them as “brutes,” and the reader is given insight “into a way of life in which barbarities were practiced that had never been equalled in the Dark Ages.” The main object of the narrative is for the young radical to discover the error of his thinking and come to embrace the decent values of “God, the Queen,



and England.” To this end, he is given a stern, if unlikely, lecture by a Czech resistance worker. Despite the “Author’s Note,” in which he explains that “this story gives a by no means exaggerated picture” of events and circumstances beyond the Iron Curtain, the overall effect is fanciful. Later on, even Wheatley was led to inscribe in his wife’s copy of the novel, “One of my worst books!” Wheatley incorporates into his narration an unusually self-conscious set of literary references, which he uses to bolster the claims of authenticity of the fiction. Thus, the narrator brings to the reader’s attention Paul Galico’s recent novel Trial by Terror (1952), about the mental coercion of a Western journalist in Hungary, to make manifest the ruthless techniques of brainwashing employed in the East. Even more striking is the author’s subjectivity in having the idealist Nicholas recall the “absurdity” of a recent spy thriller he has read. The hero of the story, “a revolting buffoon,” “rejoiced in the unlikely name of Gregory Sallust,” the novel written by a “blood-lusting blimp named Dennis Wheatley.” While this might be partly motivated by Wheatley’s desire to suggest a modernization in his approach, the fact that the protagonist is repeatedly revealed as misguided in his thinking and idealism makes the self-conscious reference to the author and his standard hero less a self-mockery and more a justification for the ideological project of the story. Curtain of Fear was one of the first fictions to respond to the controversies surrounding the traitorous atomic scientists in the late 1940s, and reference is made to Nunn May, Fuchs, and Pontecorvo in the narrative. The story bears some comparison with The Enormous Shadow (1955), which has similarly been viewed as an ideologically reactionary text. See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS.

D A DANDY IN ASPIC. Novel and motion picture. A Dandy in Aspic is the debut novel of Derek Marlowe, first published in 1966. Two years later, the book was filmed by Columbia Pictures in Europe from a screenplay by Marlowe and released with the teasing tagline “A Double Agent Ordered to Kill . . . Himself!” In the story, Alexander Eberlin is a KGB mole in British Intelligence who serves his masters as an assassin and has recently eliminated three British agents. Eberlin, tired of the imposture, is refused permission to return home and is shocked to be given a new assignment by the British: to identify the Russian assassin and kill him! The action swings from London to Berlin, and Eberlin’s frustration turns to anxiety when he is suspected by Gatiss, a ruthless British counterespionage officer. Eberlin and the Soviets are finally dismayed when it is revealed that British Intelligence knew who Krasnevin was all along—that Eberlin had been used so the British could identify and break up important KGB networks in London and Berlin. The U.S. edition of the novel ends here with the assumption that Eberlin is returning to certain exposure and captivity. The original British edition has Eberlin return to Great Britain, where he is killed in a car crash, an outcome prefigured in the story, but the U.S. publishers demanded something less overtly downbeat. The debut novel, allegedly written in only four weeks while Marlowe worked as a clerk with National Benzole, was critically well received and especially popular in the United States. E. S. Turner thought A Dandy in Aspic a “highly meretricious spy-thriller” and in general admired “the atrabilious wit and the poetic melancholy” of the novelist’s writing. Many reviewers found the idea of a secret assassin being assigned to eliminate himself “intriguing” and “arresting,” although some found the central character “superficial.” Eberlin is, indeed, rather unlikable as a protagonist, although considering his fate the novel could have been too downbeat for popular taste if he had been more agreeable. There is a rather perfunctory romance in the story, and the character of the ingenue Christine is mainly there as a symbol of innocence in a world of cynicism and ruthlessness. The novel makes an interesting play on the psychology of the double agent, a toll exacted by the 109



ceaseless act of imposture and the manipulation of individuals by ruthless intelligence organizations. Marlowe assumed a classical definition of the dandy for his story, explaining that it is not simply about dress but really about self-discipline, a discipline that denies friends, sex, and ostentation. His character of Eberlin, he explains, “retires into his own entity, a dandy in aspic, untarnished.” The Anglo-Greek Derek William Mario Marlowe was born in Perivale, Middlesex. He studied English literature at the University of London but has claimed that he was sent down for writing an unacceptable parody of Catcher in the Rye (1951) and possessing a generally bad attitude. However, he remained with the university’s 60 Theatre Group, for which he wrote and acted. During this period, Marlowe shared a flat with two other young writers, Tom Stoppard and Piers Paul Read, and the three young men wagered who would earn the first million pounds. Marlowe won the bet with the proceeds of his first novel, A Dandy in Aspic. The author wrote some additional non-espionage thrillers, and these—Echoes of Celandine (1970), Somebody’s Sister (1974), and Nightshade (1975)—similarly dealt with isolation and loners. The film version of A Dandy in Aspic is remembered (if at all) for the death of the great Hollywood filmmaker Anthony Mann during location shooting in Berlin. Filming was completed by the leading man, Laurence Harvey, who, it is commonly felt, ruined the potential of an interesting production. Some years later, Marlowe complained of a “badly cast Eberlin”— of Harvey directing his own “mis-talent” and changing the script, “rather like Mona Lisa touching up the portrait while Leonardo is out of the room.” This seems a harsh indictment of a stylized spy thriller that was gloomier than the norm, imaginatively photographed by Christopher Challis and designed by Carmen Dillon. The “all-location” movie paints an unglamorous picture of London and Berlin, where tourist spots are merely glimpsed and sprinkled with the obligatory characters of the contemporary mod scene. Appropriately, considering that Mann was a master of Hollywood’s dark cinema, the film is photographed largely as a film noir, and this underpins the paranoid quality of the story. However, despite these intriguing qualities, film historian Robert Murphy dismisses A Dandy in Aspic as “derivative” and “disappointing,” lumping it with the other run-of-the-mill spy films of the latter part of the 1960s. David Austen at Films and Filming complained of a “cheerless ‘entertainment,’” while Jeanine Basinger found it “almost tragic to see the purity of Mann’s style totally cheapened.” Most critics were of the view that Harvey gave another of his trademark “somnambulistic” performances. The film, though, can be enjoyed as a highly mannered spy picture of the genre’s baroque period. The film opts for an ending more like the British edition of



the novel and has Gatiss confront Eberlin at the airport in Berlin, the film ending on a freeze frame as Gatiss hurtles his car toward Eberlin and the Russian empties his gun into the vehicle carrying his nemesis. A Dandy in Aspic, both book and film, typical of the spy thriller in the period, make self-conscious generic allusions to other espionage narratives. The novel quips at the character of Harry Palmer in the recent film version of The Ipcress File (1965), while the movie has a sinister Russian dress in the manner of Harry Lime, use the cover name of Harry, and conduct a meeting with Eberlin high above the city of Berlin in an elevator, all references to the classic film noir The Third Man (1949). At one point in the novel, Eberlin watches a film version of The Scarlet Pimpernel, envious of the double agent who can return home after his mission. DANGER MAN. Television adventure series. Danger Man commenced as a series of 39 half-hour episodes produced by the ITC Company and broadcast on commercial television in Great Britain in 1960 and 1961. The series was devised by Ralph Smart, who was looking for an action drama that ITC could sell in North America, and the stories were framed in a first-person narration reminiscent of American hard-boiled detective fiction. Following discussions with Ian Fleming, the idea for a spy thriller emerged that featured the agent John Drake who served as a special undercover security operator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. To help the sale of the show to the United States, the American-born Patrick McGoohan was cast as Drake, and under the influence of the actor, the character was sharply distinguished from James Bond and emerged as a man of moral standards, who detested violence, used his brains, and treated women with respect. As McGoohan stated of Drake at the time, “He is not a thick ear specialist, a puppet muscle man.” Rather, he saw the agent “in the heroic mould, like the classic western hero, which means he has to be a good man.” Danger Man was broadcast on CBS in the United States and, although attracting favorable reviews, was not sufficiently popular to warrant a further season. Following the phenomenal success of the early James Bond films from 1962 onward, ITC returned to Danger Man and produced two seasons of hour-long episodes in 1964 and 1965, and a further two color episodes in 1966, the longer format allowing for more complex plots and character development. These were broadcast in the United States as Secret Agent, where it now succeeded as a primetime hit. Drake, still played by McGoohan but in a more British manner, was now a Special Security Agent for the fictive MI9, his assignments issued exclusively from Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Established cinema directors who worked on the series included Pat Jackson and Charles Crichton; emerging filmmakers included Clive Donner, Peter Yates, and Don Chaffey, and a handful of episodes were directed by McGoohan. Well-known guest performers included Sylvia Syms, John Fraser, and



Virginia Maskell. In the extended episodes, Drake was cast into a variety of missions of espionage and international criminal intrigue, for example, tackling an agent suspected of smuggling naval secrets in “Don’t Nail Him Yet” (1964), leading an operation to rescue an agent from an Eastern Bloc embassy in “A Room in the Basement” and posing as a defector in Singapore in “A Very Dangerous Game” (both 1965), and investigating the disappearance of a scientist in “Dangerous Secret” (1966). A distinguishing feature of Danger Man was its puritanical attitude toward sex, which stood it in contrast with the approach of James Bond. It was McGoohan’s insistence that there should be no titillation or gratuitous violence, and that the drama should remain suitable for children. The star described the unconventional genre character as “the spy with no gun and no girl.” The show was therefore morally conservative in a decade that was to be characterized by permissiveness and stands in contrast with The Avengers (1961–69), which paraded its modish and swinging credentials. In other respects, Danger Man conformed to—and, in some cases, pioneered—the modern spy story: Drake is whisked around the world to deal with intrigue in a parade of exotic locales, and, especially from the second season onward, he has a variety of gadgets—tie-pin cameras, an electric razor that doubles as a tape recorder—to help him. The show was popular around the world, was important in the ITC Company’s campaign for overseas markets, and helped pioneer associated merchandise and tie-ins for a popular television drama. DANGER ROUTE. See THE ELIMINATOR. DANGEROUS KNOWLEDGE. Television drama serial. Dangerous Knowledge is a spy thriller produced at a small independent company, Southern Television, and broadcast over six 30-minute episodes in 1976. The story deals with Bill Kirby (John Gregson), a divorced, middle-aged insurance agent, who has money problems and drinks too much. He fulfills minor undercover assignments for the extra funds it supplies, and it is during one of these tasks in northern France that he acquires the “dangerous knowledge” that casts him into a deadly conspiracy. A former resistance worker, Madame Lafois (Elisabeth Bergner), has recognized Dr. Vincent (Robert Keegan), a key adviser to the British government, as a fellow trainee in a postwar Soviet spy school. A screen is put around Vincent by a misled Roger Fane (Patrick Allen), the civil servant responsible for internal security. Kirby acquires proof of the accusation in the form of a video recording, but his contacts and witnesses are continually being silenced, including a CIA agent who negotiates for the information. When Vincent panics and proposes to shoot Kirby and Fane on a beach in France, the KGB mole is exposed and brought into custody.



Dangerous Knowledge was shot on location around Southampton, the New Forest, and in Normandy, northern France. It was written by the local television dramatist N. J. Crisp, who had previously contributed to the spy dramas Codename (1970) and Spy Trap (1972–73), and who published a handful of spy novels such as The Gotland Deal (1976), The London Deal (1979), and Yesterday’s Gone (1983). Reviews were lukewarm, many finding the series old-fashioned, derivative, and clichéd. “Shiny but routine” was how it was described in the Guardian. Gregson had been an important film star in Great Britain in the 1950s, and this proved to be his final role; he died of a heart attack shortly after shooting aged only 55. The drama serial is also notable for featuring Elisabeth Bergner, the great Austrian actress of stage and screen. Dangerous Knowledge is largely forgotten and has until recently mainly circulated in a reedited, barely comprehensible 90-minute television film. DARK JOURNEY. Motion picture. Dark Journey was produced at London Films from an original story by Lajos Biró and released in 1937. The film, set during World War I, stars Vivien Leigh as Madeleine Goddard and Conrad Veidt as Baron Karl von Marwitz. The action unfolds in Stockholm, Sweden, where Goddard runs a high-class dress shop and serves as an agent for the Germans, but she is, in fact, a loyal agent of France. The German naval officer Baron von Marwitz, posing as a playboy disillusioned by the war, is, in fact, the head of German Intelligence in Sweden and seeking to counter Allied intelligence in the city. There follows a cat and mouse game between Goddard and Marwitz who are strongly attracted to each other. Finally, the German has to act and Marwitz’s attempt to abduct Goddard is thwarted by an alert British Intelligence, but she is deported by the Swedish authorities. The German Secret Service makes arrangements to have her ship intercepted by a U-boat, and Marwitz takes her personally from her ship and into custody. Fortunately, the ever alert British navy has a Q Ship in the vicinity, the U-boat is engaged and subdued, and Marwitz is taken prisoner. Madeleine Goddard calls across the water that she will be waiting for him when he is released. Dark Journey was a major British motion picture of its period, distinguished, like so many of the films aimed at the international market made at Alexander Korda’s London Films, by its impressive set design and art direction—in this instance overseen by the Russian Andrej Andrejew. It is typical of Korda’s cinema of the period in the way the picture provides a voyeuristic look into the privileged world of the upper classes, and the setting of highclass fashion and nightclubs served this objective well. The film was directed and produced by the experienced Victor Saville, who had been responsible for the earlier espionage films The W Plan (1930) and I Was a Spy (1933). Dark Journey is a largely forgotten film of the 1930s; if remembered at all it


DAVIDSON, LIONEL (1922–2009)

is for the early starring role of Vivien Leigh, who, two years later, would be catapulted to international stardom playing Scarlett O’Hara in David O. Selznick’s classic Gone with the Wind (U.S., 1939). The film was the typical combination of intrigue and romance that characterized the spy film of the period; however, it was not liked by Graham Greene, who complained in his review in the Spectator of a “pedestrian unreality” and an “incredible naivety” of the script. The idea that agents of two opposing sides in World War I could become romantically involved was an old-fashioned idea that would be swept away in the more ideologically charged and fanatical atmosphere of World War II. See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION. DAVIDSON, LIONEL (1922–2009). Novelist. Davidson, the youngest of nine children, was born in Hull, Yorkshire, to poor Jewish refugees from Poland and Lithuania. He largely educated himself (teaching his mother how to read in the process) and took his first job as office boy at the Spectator. Davidson served as a wireless operator in submarines in the Pacific during World War II, an experience that, it has been claimed, provided him with a heightened sense of claustrophobia, which he used successfully in his stories. He later worked in a variety of roles in newspapers, as fiction editor at the popular magazine John Bull, and as a freelance photojournalist, mainly in Eastern Europe. Davidson’s first novel was the award-winning The Night of Wenceslas (1960), an espionage thriller admired by the crime writer H. R. F. Keating for its “uncluttered sharpness of tone and its memorable vividness.” The story was filmed as the comedy spy film Hot Enough for June (1964). Other spy novels occasionally followed, as with Making Good Again (1968), set in southern Germany shortly after the end of World War II, and The Sun Chemist (1976), in which various agents are trying to locate the notebooks of a brilliant Israeli chemist who has developed a method for the cheap synthesis of petroleum. Davidson also wrote ambitious thrillers and adventure novels; wrote juvenile literature as David Line; was admired by such eminent figures as Graham Greene, Daphne du Maurier, and Rebecca West; and was three-time winner of the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) Gold Dagger for best novel. The novelist James Carroll, writing in the New York Times, called his Siberian-set thriller Kolymsky Heights “an icy marvel of invention,” adding: “It is written with the panache of a master and with the wide-eyed exhilaration of an adventurer in the grip of discovery. Mr. Davidson has not only rescued one of the most familiar narrative forms of the era, the spy thriller; he has also renewed it.” World War II claimed 37 of Davidson’s aunts, uncles, and cousins at Auschwitz, and when he subsequently established himself as a novelist, Davidson, who lived for about a decade in Israel, refused to allow his books to be



published in Germany. Davidson was not a prolific author, finding writing difficult. He once claimed, “It’s like getting into a boxing ring and taking a really good hiding.” Davidson received the Israeli President’s Prize for Literature, and in 2001, he was presented with the CWA’s Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement. DAWN. Motion picture. Nurse Edith Cavell, shot at dawn by the Germans on 12 October 1915 for helping Allied soldiers cut off by the enemy advance into Belgium to return to their own lines, became a British heroine and her martyrdom the international symbol of savage Prussian aggression. A modest film had been made of her exploits as early as 1915, Nurse and Martyr, but a far more significant production was Herbert Wilcox’s Dawn released in 1928. A silent film starring the celebrated stage actress Sybil Thorndike, it presents the essential details of the story: Cavell’s prewar work as a nurse in Brussels; her wartime activity of aiding Allied soldiers escape the Germans; her betrayal and arrest, solitary confinement, and trial; appeals for clemency from a German diplomat and the American legation in Brussels; and Cavell’s dignified bearing in facing the firing squad and a young German soldier’s refusal to fire upon her. Dawn is now best remembered for the problems it encountered with the film censors, which, according to one film historian, was “the hardest fought British film censorship struggle of the entire inter-war period.” It was widely felt at the time that the subject was highly improper for a commercial entertainment film and in the poorest taste and, further, would reopen painful memories of the war, which would hinder the development of Anglo-German relations at a time when the sensitive issue of the demilitarization of the Rhineland was under discussion. Pressure was put on the Board of British Film Censors (BBFC) by the German foreign minister, the German embassy in London, the foreign secretary, and the Foreign Office, and the matter even drew discussion in Cabinet and in the House of Commons. A main problem for the politicians was not to be seen engaging in political censorship of the cinema. Dawn was initially banned by the BBFC, although Wilcox was able to circumvent this by appealing to local authorities and was able to secure screenings in many districts, including London. Under pressure, certain changes to the picture had, in fact, been made: Pauline Frederick, the original actress who was to play the martyred nurse, withdrew from the production; the treatment of the execution was made less melodramatic; and the idea that a squad member who refused to shoot was executed for disobedience was dropped. Dawn followed in the wake of other successful antiwar pictures, notably Hollywood’s The Big Parade (1925), and its theme was of the humanity of nursing in contrast to the carnage of war. The eminent playwright George Bernard Shaw passed favorable judgment on Dawn, praising the producers in



the following terms: “You have a most moving and impressive incarnation of that heroine by our greatest tragic actress whose dignity keeps the whole story on the highest plane. It has been told by a young film poet who has been entirely faithful to his great theme.” It is probable, however, that Shaw’s hyperbole was partly the outcome of his wish to support freedom of expression for the arts. Wilcox returned to the story of Great Britain’s greatest heroine of World War I with Nurse Edith Cavell (U.S., 1939), a film made in Hollywood starring Anna Neagle. By this time, different sensibilities prevailed, and released shortly after the outbreak of World War II, the picture served as a welcome and timely warning against German aggression. See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; MCKENNA, MARTHE (1892–1966). THE DEADLY AFFAIR. See CALL FOR THE DEAD. DEFENCE OF THE REALM. Motion picture. Defence of the Realm is a brooding conspiracy thriller released in 1985. Journalist Nick Mullen (Gabriel Byrne) is doggedly pursuing a sex and politics scandal involving a prominent left-wing politician, Dennis Markham (Ian Bannen), who has seemingly been sharing the favors of a young woman with an East German embassy official. Fellow journalist Vernon Bayliss (Denholm Elliott), a friend of Markham and former communist, disbelieves the accusations and mysteriously dies while secretively pursuing his own inquiry. Mullen now switches his attention to the conspiracy, discovers material previously supplied to Bayliss by a government “mole” (which reveals that Markham has been framed by MI5 to silence him from asking awkward questions in Parliament), and slowly unravels a massive government cover-up of a nearnuclear accident at an U.S. Air Force base in East Anglia. Mullen is prevented from publishing his explosive story by the owner of the newspaper (who has financial interests in defense contracts) and is brought in for interrogation by the Security Service. Refusing to answer its questions and maintaining the right for freedom of information, the reporter is unexpectedly released. In a shock ending, Mullen and Nina Beckman (Greta Scacchi), Markham’s secretary who has reluctantly come to help the investigation, die in a mysterious explosion in Nick’s apartment. However, Nina has been able to post evidence of the conspiracy to French and German newspapers and a major scandal is visited on the Conservative government. Defence of the Realm was directed by David Drury and produced by David Puttnam’s Enigma Films, and counts as a minor triumph in the British film renaissance of the first half of the 1980s. However, more impressively it stands as a leading example of the “secret state” thriller, which came to prominence in the same period. Released with the tagline “Just how far will a government go to hide the truth?,” the picture has been called “Britain’s first

DEHN, PAUL (1912–1976)


fully fledged contemporary paranoia movie.” The film draws on the tradition of European political thrillers—the filmmakers specifically acknowledging the influence of Francesco Rosi’s Cadaveri eccellenti (Illustrious Corpses, It/Fr, 1976)—and reconfigures the style for a British political and security context, which had created a persecution mania among liberals and leftists. Julian Petley, writing in Monthly Film Bulletin, was surprised to find a film prepared to broach all sorts of political questions, in particular, “the politicization of the security services, the issues raised by the presence of U.S. nuclear bases in Great Britain, and the reasons why Britain’s press is so monolithically conservative.” In the process, Defence of the Realm “sheds light on a vast web of unsavory events, ranging from the U.S. bases to Fleet Street, from the hushed world of gentleman’s clubs where secret political deals are struck to the anonymous, windowless rooms and corridors where faceless functionaries deal with those deemed a threat to the defence of the realm.” Left-wing film critic Sally Hibbin, writing in Films and Filming, commented on the rarity of “a good British political thriller,” finding that Defence of the Realm “neatly skirts most of the traps that make British thrillers dull and predictable”; and Philip French at the Observer felt the timely film fed “our current fears and anxieties into its nightmarish narrative.” The acting is uniformly excellent in the picture, and the cinematography and staging create an artfully film noir ambience for the paranoid theme. While boldly political during a controversial period for British Intelligence and the Service’s questionable relationship with the government—there was a Commons Home Affairs Committee inquiry into Special Branch early in 1985 of which a senior police officer expressed the hope of “repolishing the image” of the Branch—it is perhaps reassuring of the true strength of democracy that Defence of the Realm was completed with government finance channeled through the National Film Finance Corporation. The title derives from the Defence of the Realm Act passed in 1914 at the outset of World War I and relates to wide-ranging powers assumed by the government, which some have criticized as authoritarian and partly aimed at social control. DEHN, PAUL (1912–1976). Scriptwriter. Dehn was born in Didsbury, Manchester; he was of German Jewish descent and educated at Oxford University, where he first began to write film reviews. By the mid-1930s, he had established himself as a film critic, a profession in which he became a leading practitioner, working over a long period for several London newspapers. During World War II, Dehn served in covert operations and political warfare, at one time instructing the agent Odette as she passed through the Special Operations Executive “Finishing Schools” during the Second World War. Dehn later claimed to have reenacted this meeting in a brief two-line scene opposite Anna Neagle in the film Odette (1950). Following the conflict, he


DEIGHTON, LEN (1929– )

had success writing drama and for the musical stage but most notably for the screen. Amazingly, he won the Academy Award for his first screen story, the apocalyptic drama Seven Days to Noon (1950), shared with James Bernard. His best scripts drew on his wartime experience in special operations and espionage, including Orders to Kill (1958), about an agent parachuted into France to eliminate a suspected traitor in the French Resistance, which won the British Film Academy Award for Best Screenplay; the fanciful but hugely successful James Bond vehicle Goldfinger (1964), an experience Dehn later described as a “frolicsome collaboration” he shared with cowriter Richard Maibaum; and the far more sober adaptations of the brilliant spy fiction writer John le Carré, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and The Deadly Affair (both 1966), the latter nominated by the British Film Academy for Best British Screenplay. Dehn, faced with the demand for realism with The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, “performed a Proustian Exercise—living myself back into the 1940s and into motives of the agents I had helped to teach.” Later scripts included the wartime murder mystery The Night of the Generals (1967), Franco Zeffirelli’s frisky The Taming of the Shrew (U.S./It, 1967), the psychological thriller Fragment of Fear (1970), and the four sequels in the Planet of the Apes series (1970–73). Dehn’s final screenplay was for Sidney Lumet’s handsomely mounted Murder on the Orient Express (1974), which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. He also wrote the lyrics for songs used in Moulin Rouge (1952) and The Innocents (1961). See also SPY AS NOVELIST; SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY. DEIGHTON, LEN (1929– ). Novelist. Len Deighton was born in Marylebone, London, the son of a chauffeur and cook to the keeper of prints and drawings at the British Museum. At the age of 11, the young Deighton witnessed the arrest of the German spy Anna Wolkoff, who lived next door to the family. At 17, he joined the RAF Special Investigations Branch, where he trained as a photographer and which served as an entrée to the world of secrets and investigations. Following his national service, Deighton studied at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London and later won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art. Among his varied careers, Deighton worked as a railway clerk, illustrated book covers, served as an art director in a London advertising agency, and wrote and illustrated a number of popular diagrammatic cookery strips for the Daily Express and the Observer. Deighton claimed that serving as a flight steward for British Overseas Airways provided the future author with the background experience of people and places like Hong Kong, Beirut, Cairo, and Tokyo.

DEIGHTON, LEN (1929– )


Although earning well as an artist, Deighton turned to writing in 1960 and, unimpressed by “serious literature,” chose to author a spy novel. He later described his approach: “I liked to have a problem or enigma that could follow the action of the book, but I wanted the book to be ragged and untidy, as life is. I wanted the characterizations and the dialogue to control the enigma, rather than the other way round as had been the case with the detective novels of the ’thirties, which had become puzzles rather than stories.” The result was the groundbreaking The Ipcress File (1962), which introduced “the spy with no name,” a streetwise, lower-class agent who works within an obscure corner of Military Intelligence and narrates the story. Deighton has expressed his preference for the “police procedural” form of the detective novel, admiring its sense of “authenticity,” and has described his own approach as the “spy procedural.” Along with John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), the novel changed the nature of British spy fiction, introducing a more insolent, disillusioned, and cynical style to the espionage story. The New Statesman reported on The Ipcress File that “there has been no brighter arrival on the shady scene since Graham Greene started entertaining.” The anonymous agent who served in W.O.O.C.(P)., an invented department of British Intelligence, featured in four further novels: Horse under Water (1963), about the wartime secrets located on a sunken submarine off the coast of Portugal; Funeral in Berlin (1964), which deals with the defection of a Soviet scientist; Billion Dollar Brain (1966), in which an American billionaire plans to invade Soviet territory with a private army and initiate an uprising; and An Expensive Place to Die (1967), which is set in France, where a clinic in Paris compiles dossiers on its influential patients that could serve as the basis of blackmail. The prose, characterization, and stories were influential; the author and critic Julian Symons stated in admiration: “Writing of this quality, combined or contrasted with the constant crackle of the dialogue, makes Deighton a kind of poet of the spy novel.” For some of this period, Deighton also served as travel editor at Playboy magazine. The spy novels are written wholly or mainly in the first person, and Deighton’s espionage stories are distinctive thematically and stylistically. They promoted a more egalitarian and meritocratic outlook in contrast to the contemporary James Bond stories, with a laconic, anti-authoritarian, northern lower-class hero who was clearly influenced by the literary “Angry Young Men” of the late 1950s and the cultural and social challenge they initiated. Deighton, responding to questions regarding autobiographical elements of his series character, claimed that “all his mistakes and myopia are mine and all his brilliance and perception are fictional.” Just as important, though, the character is transplanted into a metropolitan setting, an emergent “Swinging London” scene, leading one critic to refer playfully to Deighton as “protomod” in contrast to the “doomy, middlebrow” le Carré. The stories are writ-


DEIGHTON, LEN (1929– )

ten in the shadow of treachery, of Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean in the early 1950s and of Kim Philby in the early 1960s, and as with le Carré, a prominent theme is betrayal. The first four novels are organized as dossiers or secret files and include the “academic framework” of footnotes and addenda of technical information, which promotes a sense of authenticity. Some have balked at the complexity of the plots, and one of these the author Kingsley Amis later recanted, accepting that Deighton’s work was “actually quite good if you stop worrying about what’s going on.” The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin, and Billion Dollar Brain were filmed in 1965, 1966, and 1967, respectively, starring Michael Caine as the agent named Harry Palmer for the convenience of a screen story, while plans to adapt Horse under Water in 1968 were dropped following the modest success of the previous picture. In the mid-1970s, Deighton published three further spy novels. Spy Story (1974) once again features a first-person narrator who just might be the nameless agent of the early spy novels in an intrigue involving computersimulated war gaming and the defection of a senior Russian admiral. Yesterday’s Spy (1975) deals with modern weapons smuggling and characters who trace their association back to World War II, while Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Spy (1976) involves the defection of a Soviet scientist and Western intelligence’s sinister designs on his talents. The critic Christopher Ford, writing in the Guardian in this period, claimed that Deighton “turned the spy story into something approaching a momentary high-art.” Deighton himself simply stated that “I write as well as I can for an audience as intelligent as possible.” In 1976, Deighton coauthored Warhead with Sean Connery and Kevin McClory, an unfilmed script for a James Bond picture. Deighton sought to extend and deepen the range of his espionage fiction with three ambitious trilogies of novels featuring the agent Bernard Samson. Berlin Game (1983), Mexico Set (1984), and London Match (1985) make up the Game, Set and Match trilogy; Spy Hook (1988), Spy Line (1989), and Spy Sinker (1990) make up the Hook, Line and Sinker trilogy; and Faith (1994), Hope (1995), and Charity (1996) make for the final trilogy. The complex saga of the British agent Samson recounted in these stories ranges across a series of perplexing defections and personal, professional, and national betrayals. In the words of one critic, “Nothing and no one is wholly good or bad; everyone is ambiguous, and everyone is eventually betrayed.” Game, Set, Match, Hook, and Line (which are set in the periods of spring 1983 to spring 1984, and 1987) are presented in the first person, while Sinker is told in the third person, covers the decade 1977 to 1987, and provides an objective account of the story so far, filling in gaps and introducing a backstory, before the saga is recommenced in the familiar first-person style in Faith, Hope, and Charity. Some of the background story of the Samson



family is told in Deighton’s historical novel Winter: A Berlin Family, 1899–1945 (1987). Game, Set and Match was expensively dramatized for British television in 1988, but it was not a success. Len Deighton has also successfully authored cookery, travel guides, and military history books. Cookery titles have included Len Deighton’s Action Cookbook (1965) and several dealing with French cuisine. Len Deighton’s London Dossier (1967) is a guide to the “Swinging London” scene of the mid-1960s with a secret agent theme. Meticulously researched novels and military histories mainly dealing with World War II, such as Bomber (1970), Fighter: The True Story of the Battle of Britain (1977), Blitzkrieg: From the Rise of Hitler to the Fall of Dunkirk (1979), Goodbye, Mickey Mouse (1982), and Winter, have been well received by professional historians and readers alike. In 2012, Deighton published electronically the engaging James Bond: My Long and Eventful Search for His Father, his memories of fellow spy author Ian Fleming and his popular creation James Bond. Deighton’s own direct involvements with the cinema were to coproduce the comedy Only When I Larf (1968), from his own novel, and write the screenplay and to coproduce (uncredited) the musical Oh! What a Lovely War (1969). The BBC has recently announced plans to dramatize Deighton’s alternative history novel SS-GB (1978), dealing with a defeated Great Britain occupied by the Nazis. DEPARTMENT K. Novel and motion picture. Department K is a spy thriller first published in 1964 by the prolific Canadian-born British crime novelist Hartley Howard (Leopold Horace Ognall, who also wrote under the name Harry Carmichael). The story was turned into the film Assignment K by Columbia Pictures in 1968. It deals with former racing driver now turned intelligence agent Philip Scott, whose cover is as managing director of a small toys company in London, something that allows him to travel internationally without attracting attention. His fiancée is abducted in an attempt to get Scott to reveal his private network of agents in Germany. The novel reads like a taut crime mystery in the hard-boiled style and thus resembles Howard/ Carmichael’s writing in the crime genre. First-person narration puts the reader close to the thoughts and emotions of Scott and restricts knowledge to that of the protagonist who is engaged in a race against time, which occupies only a few tense days. The principal settings are the seedier side of London, such as an East End London pub, and the weather is dank and rainy; many scenes are staged at night, and the story has a pronounced film noir feel to it. There is a brief trip to Berlin, but again the city is not glamorized and the action is restricted to locations in the sleazier side of town. Many of the characters in the story are suspicious and potentially conspiratorial, and Scott faces a series of mysterious events: he discovers a dead body under his bed in a hotel room and is inexplicably subject to a murderous attack upon entering his


DIMENT, ADAM (1943– )

hotel. The reader, though, is gradually made aware that the capable agent is involved in a larger conspiracy to uncover treachery within the British security establishment, and in an unsentimental fashion typical of the author, Scott finally uncovers the treachery of both the girlfriend and the head of Department K. Philip Scott returned for one more adventure in The Eye of the Hurricane (1968). The film Assignment K, directed by Val Guest and shot entirely on location, starred Stephen Boyd as Scott and Michael Redgrave as the head of Department K and was an obvious attempt to cash in on the vogue for spy movies in the late 1960s. As such, it adopts a more glamorous approach to the story, replacing the seedier quarters of London with more recognizable locations, such as the Embankment and the Palace of Westminster, and introducing new scenes in the cosmopolitan ski resort of Kitzbühel, Austria, and in Munich, Germany. Scott’s treacherous girlfriend is dropped in preference for the beautiful—if equally deceitful—Toni Peters (Camilla Sparv), who is “planted” on Scott in Europe. In a typical nod to the James Bond pictures, the film invents a “Q-type” branch of special gadgets that furnishes the agent with a booby trap bomb. The modestly budgeted film, released with the tagline “Any moment the world might blow up in their double faces!” only played on a double bill in Great Britain and was regarded as little more than a routine spy thriller. Monthly Film Bulletin was perhaps a little harsh in finding the plot meandering “from dull beginning to dull end with nothing of interest in between.” See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. DIMENT, ADAM (1943– ). Novelist. Frederick Adam Diment, the son of a farmer, studied at the Royal Agricultural College. He subsequently worked as an advertising salesman for magazines, in paperback publishing, and as a copywriter. His brief celebrity derived from his four trendy spy thrillers, which he published before disappearing from view in the early 1970s: The Dolly Dolly Spy (1967), The Great Spy Race and The Bang Bang Birds (both 1968), and Think, Inc (1971). All four are about the adventures of Philip McAlpine, a literary projection of the author. Atticus in the Sunday Times observed: “Adam Diment is 23; his hero, Philip McAlpine, is based on himself. That is to say he’s tall, good-looking, with a taste for fast cars, planes, girls and pot.” The publisher of the paperback editions of the novels promoted McAlpine as “the man of today”; “the most thrilling and exciting hero to emerge since James Bond.” Diment’s much commented-on golden locks, tight pink trousers, and matching floral shirt cast him as an archetypical character of the “Swinging London” scene of the latter half of the 1960s. He was regularly photographed with trendsetters such as the artist Tim Whidborne and dated the model and actress Suzie Mandrake. Diment and his stories, both minor icons of the hip decade, have now attained cult status.



A newspaper report in 1975 placed Diment in Zurich, Switzerland, shunning publicity and claiming no plans for further novels. Recently declassified documents from the National Archive and relating to the department of Exchange Control of the Bank of England reveal problems Diment might have had regarding currency exchange, taxation, and accusations about drugs, and these might lie behind his disappearance. One recent report has Diment married with two children and living anonymously back in England in Kent. DISORDERLY ELEMENTS. Novel. Disorderly Elements is a comic espionage novel by Bob Cook, first published in 1985. Michael Wyman, an unassuming Oxbridge philosophy scholar and analyst of East Germany in MI6 is to lose his job in both secret intelligence and higher education. Suddenly Wyman’s networks inside the German Democratic Republic are broken up, and there is a suspected double agent inside MI6. Wyman locates a senior official inside East Germany, code-named Plato, who is prepared to reveal the mole inside British Intelligence for ₤2 million. Wyman’s senior officer and the minister are horrified at the exorbitant price demanded during a period of economic retrenchment but, fearing another scandal that will impact adversely on Anglo-American intelligence relations, have no other option than to pay. The Central Intelligence Agency fears another failure in British security, and the KGB is confused by the turn of events; however, both agencies dismiss Wyman as an over-the-hill amateur. Meantime, the embittered Wyman arranges payment for the wholly fictitious Plato and absconds with the money; the British authorities are unable to do anything for fear of exposing its incompetence. The shrewd academic has been able to present a series of unfortunate coincidences as a probable mole within British Intelligence and engineer a situation that would provide him with a comfortable retirement. The title of the novel and the surname of the central character are taken from a seminal work by the Harvard philosopher W. V. Quine, “On What There Is.” Cook for many years worked as a communications specialist for organizations in the United Nations and the World Bank Group; he has published five novels. Questions of Identity (1987) and Faceless Mortals (1988) also feature Michael Wyman, while Paper Chase (1990) deals with four elderly spies who are under pressure not to write their memoirs. Disorderly Elements is a novel of the mid-1980s, the period of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s radical conservatism, which privileged entrepreneurship, laissez-faire economics, and new wealth. The novel commences with the chancellor of the Exchequer on Budget Day and the reader is alerted to the administration’s intention of inflicting “Grievous Bodily Harm” on a bureaucratic and expensive civil service, and on the elitist old universities: hence, Wyman’s dilemma. A constant refrain throughout the story from the minister faced with an expensive secret operation is: “There’s a recession on,



you know”—invariably uttered while he is enjoying a rare cognac and Havana cigar in his expensive London club. One of the many ironies of the story is that a service and administration sensitive to leaks and treachery within is wholly blind to the fact that an innocent-seeming cleaning woman is regularly selling the department’s secrets to the resident KGB officer in London, and it is through these means that the Soviets are alerted to Wyman’s strange behavior. The Americans, watching anxiously from the sidelines and noisily trying to find out what is going on within British Intelligence, are drawn as crude and egotistical. The unlikable Milton K. Nagel, the head of Anglo-U.S. Intelligence Liaison, is described as a “loud-mouthed slob who ate hamburgers instead of taking baths.” His counterpart, Bulgakov of the KGB, is shrewder, more sophisticated, and more realistic. The narrative makes many allusions to espionage characters and events proper. There is reference, for example, to the real-life Michael Bettaney, the MI5 officer jailed in 1984 for trying to sell documents to the KGB, and to the British Security Commission that stood in 1982, charged to report on breaches in British security. This is a common narrative device in modern British spy fiction, which serves to suggest authenticity, realism, and topicality. THE DOLLY DOLLY SPY. Novel. The Dolly Dolly Spy, the debut spy thriller of Adam Diment, introduces the series secret agent Philip McAlpine and was first published in 1967. Written in the first person and set in 1966, McAlpine gives a vivid sense of the contemporary “Swinging London” scene of shopping boutiques on the King’s Road and Mini Cooper cars, from the perspective of a 20-something, pot-smoking, smugly hip young man and of his lustful relationship with his girlfriend Veronica. McAlpine, however, draws the line at hard drugs, necessary for a popular novel of the 1960s. He is employed by a private firm in industrial intelligence but is reluctantly suborned to serve a shadowy department of MI6, headed by the diminutive, camp but threatening Quine, under the threat of a jail sentence for possessing hashish. McAlpine is required to serve as a pilot with International Charter, a shady business organization in the eastern Mediterranean. There he is detailed to pick up Detmann, a former Nazi war criminal, for delivery to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); however, MI6 wants to debrief the SS officer first. Sensing a deep conspiracy, the British agent flies the despicable Detmann to a hideout and negotiates his own safe future. McAlpine is distraught to discover that Veronica, similarly subject of blackmail, is an MI6 plant but is surprised to learn that Quine, although economical with the facts, has been playing straight regarding the recent operation. McAlpine returns to the German, and though forced to kill him in self-defense, he retrieves Det-



mann’s briefcase, which he presents to Quine. This provides MI6 with leverage to thwart a CIA plan to take over International Charter for its own ends and deprive rival Secret Services of its benefits. The instant success of The Dolly Dolly Spy turned Diment into “the phenomenon of 1967, his debut novel wowing most reviewers.” McAlpine, young, insolent, and with a healthy regard for his own safety, is a secret agent for his hip generation. He uses words and phrases such as “with it” and “cool,” and he refers to young women as “birds.” His leisure time is spent smoking marijuana, listening to Bob Dylan, and having sex. Diment is a representative of the generational divide that was becoming particularly marked in the 1960s. He writes of the “young people, determined to live it up because we could see what our parents looked like at middle age. Storing up happy memories of casual lust so we wouldn’t have to gaze enviously at our kids.” Publishers’ Weekly found the novel “a kinky, cool mod flare that is outrageously entertaining. . . . If you appreciate clever plotting, plenty of excitement, sex at its most uninhibited, a dollop or two of explicit sadism, Adam Diment is a name to remember.” H. R. F. Keating in The Times advised, “Read it when you feel about 18: it will save you finding out for yourself what smoking ‘pot’ is like.” According to the Sunday Mirror, McAlpine was the “contemporary Bond.” There were plans to film The Dolly Dolly Spy with David Hemmings for release by United Artists, but these disappointingly fell through. See also MASCULINITY. THE DOUBLE MAN. Motion picture. The Double Man is a spy thriller filmed in Europe, directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, starring Yul Brynner, and released by Warner Bros. in 1967. It was loosely based on the U.S. novel Legacy of a Spy by Henry S. Maxfield first published in 1958, in which an American agent dismantles a network in the Tyrol, Austria, which handles payments to communist agents, and helps get a Hungarian general to the West who has crucial information about the revolutionary movement in his country. In the film story, senior Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Dan Slater (Brynner) is lured to Austria following the death of his son in a skiing accident. The boy had been under the protection of Frank Wheatley (Clive Revill), a former British Intelligence agent. Slater begins to suspect foul play and is soon confronted with the elaborate plan devised by Colonel Berthold (Anton Diffring) of the East German Intelligence Service. Kalmar, an exact double of Slater, a man altered by plastic surgery and meticulously tutored in the American’s life and ways, will return to CIA headquarters as a highly placed mole. Slater is subdued, and the double is placed with the unsuspecting Wheatley. While being driven away, Slater escapes his guards, joins a nighttime ski party, and ascends the mountain. Following a chase, the CIA agent is located in a lonely cable car station by Kalmar while Wheatley



looks on in confusion. When Slater orders Wheatley to shoot both of them as the only sure way of eliminating the imposter, the Englishman kills Kalmar, recognizing the ruthless cantankerousness of the genuine American agent. The picture was shot on location around St. Anton in Vorarlberg, Austria, and benefits from some stunning Alpine scenery. While only small incidents are retained from Legacy of a Spy, the film does mirror the novel’s pronounced interest in mutable identity. In the picture, this concern is translated into a Cold War paranoia regarding clones who can assume one’s position in society, expressed elsewhere in culture in the science fiction film Invasion of the Body Snatchers (U.S., 1956) and the movie drama Seconds (U.S., 1966). This threat to the sanctity of identity also found expression in contemporary fears regarding brainwashing, through which communists could capture the mind and, therefore, the soul of a freethinking individual. In keeping with this theme, The Double Man was released with the elaborate tagline “Who is the man in the mask? The screen’s most fantastic creation! The free world’s most incredible challenge!” The picture in characterization and casting is prominently American, the main concession to British sensibilities being the character of Frank Wheatley. The former partner of Dan Slater, whose nerves have been shredded through his experiences as an agent, he serves a symbolic function in his representation of a British Secret Service past its former glories: weak, uncertain, and a liability. The confident and strident Slater stands in stark contrast, the epitome of the American individualist, distant from his son and seemingly unable to commit to emotional relationships. There are several scenes in the film that emphasize the resemblance between the CIA officer and his communist counterpart, Colonel Berthold. This was becoming a common device in the more serious espionage stories wherein professional affinity was being marked above ideological difference. The connection between Slater and Berthold in The Double Man is most effectively caught in a late scene at the train station as the CIA officer is preparing to return to the United States. The disgraced Berthold looks secretly on at his opposite number, a hint of professional admiration, before he is obscured by a passing train, and then disappears from the image, whisked away to an unpleasant fate as the price of failure. Producer Hal Chester, while eager to suggest that the picture was an “action thriller” and not a “preachment,” confirmed that the film was interested in the position of the professional spy, claiming in an interview that “it’s an examination of the contention that all spies are made by the same process, that they’re all interchangeable parts of the same machine, no matter what side they’re on. They all think alike and they destroy everything they come into contact with.” Critics generally missed this more serious dimension and tended to be disappointed with the film, that Schaffner had only contrived an “anonymous film” with The Double Man from a “comparatively ingenious script.” Some critics carped at a basic plot idea, which had already served its time in The



Spy with My Face (U.S., 1965) and Licensed to Kill (1965), and what was felt to be too obvious process work in the ski scenes, despite the fact that the production had spent four weeks on location in the Tyrol in spring 1966. The cinema trade paper Kine Weekly sensed the commercial potential of the film, especially as it fitted with the current “popularity of special agent stuff”; but in contrast David McGillivray at Films and Filming wondered “where did the pulse-pounding excitement go?” DOWNING, DAVID (1946– ). Novelist. Downing grew up in Harrow, London, and studied at Sussex University. He initially worked as a rock music journalist in the mid-1970s on the magazine Let It Rock and published a study of utopian and science fiction explorations of the future in music as Future Rock in 1976. Downing then coauthored popular accounts of Clint Eastwood (1978), Jane Fonda (1980), and the folk-rock musician Neil Young (1995), as well as several books of history for children. Downing’s first thriller was The Red Eagles (1987), a story set at the end of World War II about the Russian attempt to get the atomic bomb. With Zoo Station, published in 2007, Downing commenced a series of spy novels featuring the characters of Anglo-American journalist John Russell and German actress Effi Koenen. The sequence, each title derived from the name of a train station in Berlin, continued with Silesian Station (2008), Stettin Station (2009), Potsdam Station (2010), Lehrter Station (2012), and Masaryk Station (2013). The series is set in continental Europe in the period from spring 1939 through to the early Cold War of 1948. In Zoo Station, Russell is pressured into spying for the Russians and, later, the British as well. In the later novels, Russell traverses a dangerous course of reluctantly serving the U.S., Soviet, and Nazi Intelligence Services in a bid to stay in Germany with his son and girlfriend, and ultimately to stay alive. The Wall Street Journal found the “Station” cycle “epic in scope”; with Downing creating a “fictional universe rich with a historian’s expertise but rendered with literary style and heart.” Inevitable comparisons have been made with the American novelist Alan Furst, who has similarly authored a series of spy stories set in Europe around the World War II period. Downing commenced a new series of spy thrillers with Jack of Spies in 2013. The inaugural novel introduces the character of Jack McColl, a Scottish car salesman, who has a hankering to work as a secret agent. The story, set on the eve of World War I in 1913, has the eponymous character in the Far East collecting intelligence for His Majesty’s Navy and, later, having to deal with problems arising from the Irish Republican movement. Downing has also published Moscow Option: An Alternative Second World War (2006), a counterfactual history of World War II, which examines what might have happened had the Germans taken Moscow in 1941, and Sealing Their Fate: The Twenty-Two Days That Decided World War II



(2009), a detailed examination of the crucial three weeks, from 17 November to 8 December 1941, which, according to the author, decided the fate of Germany and Japan. Using the name of David Monnery, Downing has also published many conventional action thrillers centered on the elite military force the Special Air Service (SAS). See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION. DRINK TO YESTERDAY. Novel. Drink to Yesterday is the debut novel of Manning Coles, first published in 1940. It is set in the period around World War I and tells the story of Michael Kingston, who, underage, enlists in the army as William Saunders and sees action on the western front. Able to speak German, he is used to interrogate prisoners to see what intelligence he can uncover. His skill at this work leads to his recruitment to wartime intelligence; there he is reunited with his schoolmaster, Tommy Hambledon, and they are dispatched to Cologne in Germany, posing as importers of Dutch–South African origin. There follows a series of adventures and secret missions, including the assassination of a scientist who is alleged to be preparing a strain of cholera to be dropped on London from the air, a daring raid on a zeppelin factory, and the killing of a senior German Military Intelligence officer who has rumbled the British agents. During an escape back to England, Hambledon is drowned in the North Sea, and Kingston returns to peacetime England a considerably changed young man. Estranged from his young wife, he sets up in business with a garage in a remote English village. There, he is eventually confronted by a former German officer he had befriended in Cologne, who feels betrayed and dishonored by the behavior of the Englishman and shoots him dead. A coroner’s court ignorant of the facts records the verdict of “death by misadventure.” Drink to Yesterday, with its episodic narrative of secret missions and wartime exploits, reads like one of the popular memoirs that appeared after the conflict ostensibly recording experiences of the secret war. This is unsurprising given that Cyril Henry Coles, one half of the writing team with Adelaide Frances Oke Manning, had served in Military Intelligence during World War I and undergone an experience quite similar to that of Kingston in the fiction. The story raises some interesting questions. Kingston’s sabotage of the zeppelins at Ahlhorn conforms to a historical event, when, on 5 January 1918, the hangars exploded, destroying the LZ 87, LZ 94, LZ 105, and SL20. This is traditionally thought to have been an accident in which 15 were killed and 134 injured. Did Coles, the Military Intelligence officer, know something that was kept out of the official records? What sets Drink to Yesterday apart from the run-of-the-mill spy yarns, though, is a realistic approach and a darker mood for certain sections of the story. The killing of the “wrong” scientist, possibly influenced by W. Somerset Maugham’s famous short story “The Hairless Mexican” (1928), the death of Hambledon, and Kingston’s growing romantic involvement with the young German, Maria, during

DUNN, MATTHEW (1968– )


his final posting to Cologne in the aftermath of the war (which partially explains his later estrangement from his loyal wife) belong to the more disillusioned and sober period spy fiction—the late 1930s and the early months of World War II—and not the period of its setting, which had generated a romantic literature of espionage. The title, Drink to Yesterday, refers to Kingston’s happy recollections of his wartime experience before it was overlaid with a mood of melancholia, quickly won admirers in both Great Britain and North America, and the writing team of Manning Coles went on to author many intelligent spy thrillers. The critic Howard Haycraft judged Drink to Yesterday and its successor Toast to Tomorrow (published as Pray Silence in Britain, but now better known by its U.S. title) “superior works” in his seminal Murder for Pleasure (1941); he included both novels in his list of cornerstone books in the development of the mystery genre. The admiring Tom and Enid Schatz judged Drink to Yesterday, for its realistic portrayal of the world of espionage, “one of the most important books in the development of the spy novel.” See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY. DUNN, MATTHEW (1968– ). Novelist and intelligence officer. Dunn was born in London and studied at the universities of East Anglia and Cambridge. He served as a field officer in MI6 from 1996 to 2001. As admiringly stated on his website, “His role required him to recruit and run agents, coordinate and participate in special operations, and to operate in deep-cover roles throughout the world in order to collect secret intelligence to support the West’s ongoing fight against hostile and unpredictable regimes, state-sponsored terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. His missions required him to travel extensively and typically he operated in highly hostile environments where, if compromised and captured, he would have been executed.” Dunn was involved in around 70 missions and also had significant experience working with the highly specialized units of the British Special Air Service and Special Boat Service, as well as joint operations with MI5, the Government Communications Headquarters, and strategic allies. Following his official role in intelligence, he worked for a time in recruitment. Dunn published his first spy thriller, The Spycatcher, in 2011, the story of counterespionage agent Will Cochrane’s race against time to stop a deadly terrorist of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. A British agent of MI6 who often works alongside the Central Intelligence Agency, Will Cochrane has since appeared in Sentinel (2012), Slingshot (2013), and Counter Spy and Dark Spies (both 2014). Dunn is acknowledged for a mastery of the details of contemporary espionage. The author commented on the enduring appeal of the spy: “We love reading about spies because they are, in essence, the living persona of all that is possible. They are sometimes our guardians, and other


DUNS, JEREMY (1973– )

times our worst enemies. That dichotomy, coupled with our desire to know who spies really are beneath the layer upon layer of their misdirection, makes them fascinating in real life and enduring on the fictional page.” See also SPY AS NOVELIST; SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY. DUNS, JEREMY (1973– ). Novelist. Duns was born in Manchester and studied at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford. He worked initially as a journalist, first in Brussels, Belgium, then in Great Britain, publishing in the Telegraph, the Sunday Times, and the Independent. He turned to writing thrillers with Free Agent in 2009, which introduced his series character Paul Dark; the book became one of the Telegraph’s “Thrillers of the Year.” The trilogy of the MI6 agent continued with Free Country (2010) and The Moscow Option (2012), all with Cold War settings. The saga commences at the end of World War II and Dark’s role in a most secret operation to hunt down and execute Nazi war criminals, a tragic experience that leads to his switching sympathy to the communists. The time frame shifts to 1969 and a Soviet defector points to another mole in the Secret Intelligence Service, and Dark must act to avoid detection. Realizing he is the victim of a series of betrayals that led him to shift his loyalty, Dark finds himself on the run and eventually ends up in Moscow branded a traitor, where he discovers the Soviets are preparing for a first strike against the West. The series represents a significant contribution to recent historical spy fiction, and Duns emphasizes this aspect of his novels through the appending of detailed notes on the historical authenticity of his stories and a bibliography of secondary accounts. The BBC optioned the trilogy for television in 2009, but the series never materialized. Duns recently turned to writing spy history; his Dead Drop: The True Story of Oleg Penkovsky and the Cold War’s Most Dangerous Operation (2013) is a factual account of the Russian colonel who provided vital secrets to the West through the British and U.S. Intelligence Services. A great admirer of Ian Fleming, Duns has also been involved in archival exploration concerning James Bond, unearthing pages of the “lost” novel Per Fine Ounce, early screenplays for Casino Royale and The Diamond Smugglers, and researching the wartime MI6 operation that inspired the opening of the film Goldfinger (1964). Duns’s research and observations have been collected recently in Duns on Bond: An Omnibus of Journalism on Ian Fleming and James Bond (2014). The author relocated to Stockholm, Sweden, in 2004, and now resides and writes in the Åland Islands, an autonomous region of Finland.

E THE EAGLE HAS LANDED. Novel and motion picture. The Eagle Has Landed is a spy thriller that details a daring German plot to kidnap British prime minister Winston Churchill in 1943 during the latter stages of World War II. The novel was written by the best-selling thriller author Jack Higgins and first published in 1975. The idea to kidnap Churchill originally starts out as an inspiration of Adolf Hitler, but Oberst Radl, a brilliant officer in German Intelligence, turns the fantasy into practical reality. Acting on information provided by a German spy in England, Radl conceives of a plan to snatch Churchill from a remote house in the village of Studley Constable, near the coast in Norfolk where he will be staying briefly for a spell of relaxation. Radl’s means are an experienced but disgraced paratroop unit, headed by the English-educated Oberst Steiner, and Liam Devlin, an Irish revolutionary who wishes to deliver a blow against the British Empire. Steiner and his men are parachuted into England uniformed as Polish commandos and are guided by Devlin, who is posing as a local marsh warden. The deception is revealed when a soldier’s German uniform is accidently exposed in his saving of a drowning child. Steiner rounds up the villagers in the church, but word gets out to a nearby unit of American Rangers; the Germans are confronted in the village, and Churchill’s guard is alerted. Most of the German soldiers are killed, Devlin escapes to the waiting E-boat, and though Steiner gets close to Churchill, he hesitates and is shot by the bodyguard. The Eagle Has Landed is one of a cycle of “secret histories” and counterfactual novels that imaginatively engage with the history of the Second World War, which includes Len Deighton’s SS-GB (1978) and Robert Harris’s Fatherland (1992). The novel opens with a deceit, a “false document” technique in which Higgins describes a personal discovery of German war dead in a remote English graveyard. He claims to have spent a year unraveling the mystery before arriving at the “truth.” In a prologue, the author states that at least 50 percent of the story is “historical fact”: “The reader must decide for himself how much of the rest is a matter of speculation, or fiction.” The inspiration for the story, and for the mission in the novel, were the extraordinary exploits of Otto Skorzeny, a Nazi SS colonel who commanded 131



the daring rescue mission of the deposed Benito Mussolini in 1943, and Operation Panzerfaust, in which a German force kidnapped Miklós Horthy Jr. and forced Hungary’s regent, Admiral Miklós Horthy, to resign as head of state before he could conclude a peace with the Soviets. Higgins returns to the present first-person account at the end of the novel and discloses a surprise twist to the story. At the time of the violent events in Studley Constable, Winston Churchill was heading for the three power meeting at Tehran; the man Steiner confronted at the conclusion of the operation was a double, a lead player in an elaborate deception plan, a deceit reminiscent of the wartime Operation COPPERHEAD, in which an actor impersonated Field Marshal Montgomery. At the time of publication, a story of a Nazi Intelligence operation and a modestly sympathetic treatment of wartime Germans were considered bold and worried some potential publishers. There is a clear attempt to distinguish between the “bad” German—Himmler, the SS, and the Gestapo—and the “good” German, exemplified by the decent and honorable Steiner and his loyal troops. The Eagle Has Landed owed something to the wartime film Went the Day Well? (1942), a similar tale of a small German military unit posing as Allies in an improbably picturesque English village and the fight back by the locals and neighboring forces. The Eagle Has Landed is possibly the most successful spy thriller of all time, selling over 50 million copies, and was allegedly turned down by one publisher who feared from the title it was a book for birdwatchers. The Eagle Has Flown, published in 1991, is a sequel in which the characters of Steiner—who it is now claimed has amazingly survived—and Devlin feature in further exploits, in particular a plot against Hitler. The film version of The Eagle Has Landed was produced in England by Lew Grade’s ITC Entertainment. It starred Michael Caine as Steiner, Robert Duval as Radl, and Donald Sutherland as Devlin; was directed by the American John Sturges, a veteran of big-budget action pictures; and released with the intriguing tagline “In 1943 sixteen German paratroopers landed in England. In three days they nearly won the War.” The movie elides a number of characters and subplots and concentrates mainly on the action stuff in the story, quickly passing over the elaborate planning of the operation, which occupies the first half of the long novel, and settling into the tense, unfolding mission in Norfolk. A major revision has Steiner shoot and kill Churchill, a split moment before his own death, and then for it to be revealed that he had, in fact, shot a stand-in, as the prime minister was away meeting President Roosevelt and Marshal Stalin. The film was a popular success and judged by many reviewers as an enjoyable, old-fashioned adventure movie. See also SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II.



EDGE OF DARKNESS. Television drama serial and motion picture. Edge of Darkness, produced by the BBC in association with the American Lionheart Television and first broadcast in 1985, is a classic of both the serial form of television drama and of the “secret state” thriller. The complex story of murder and of government and corporate cover-ups involving the nuclear industry unfolds across six 55-minute episodes. The serial was budgeted at an expensive £2 million and filmed on location in Yorkshire, Scotland, North Wales, and London. Ron Craven (Bob Peck) is a policeman assigned to investigate allegations of election fraud in the Miner’s Union involving its leader Godbolt (Jack Watson). One night he is confronted by a gunman on his doorstep and his daughter Emma (Joanne Whalley) is tragically shot dead. It is assumed that Ron had been the intended victim; however, the distraught Craven discovers a hidden side to Emma—that of an environmental activist and of her confrontation with International Irradiated Fuels (IIF) and its secret Northmoor site for dumping nuclear waste. Ron is officially informed that Emma was known to be a terrorist and a member of a subversive anti-nuclear group called GAIA, which had previously broken into Northmoor. Various complicating strands are weaved into the plot, including dangerous characters from Craven’s time serving in Northern Ireland: the eccentric U.S. Central Intelligence Agency officer Darius Jedburgh (Joe Don Baker) with a curiosity regarding Northmoor; the American businessman Jerry Grogan (Kenneth Nelson) and his intention of acquiring IIF; and Clementine (Zoë Wanamaker), a sometime associate of Jedburgh who helps Craven. Later, Craven and Jedburgh gain entry to Northmoor, where they find evidence of a nuclear accident and of secret weapons research. The American makes off with a sample of plutonium and confronts Grogan at a military conference on “directed energy weapons,” where he irradiates him. Craven traces Jedburgh to a remote cottage; ill from radiation poisoning, they discuss the coming struggle between mankind and the Earth. Jedburgh is killed when the house is stormed, but Craven is let go, only to die from his exposure to radioactive material. The cultural anxiety regarding nuclear catastrophe at the time was expressed in such dramas as The China Syndrome (U.S. film, 1978), Silkwood (U.S. film, 1983), and Threads (TV 1984). Writer Troy Kennedy-Martin commented on Edge of Darkness: “It dealt with a conflation of worrying trends—the increase in official secrecy, the growth of the nuclear industry and the power of Whitehall. In our story we show that plutonium has become a means whereby civil servants can maintain and increase their power base, and this produces a momentum which leads inexorably toward the growth of the state within the state.” Media scholar John Caughie argues such anxieties found their form in “narratives of paranoia in which dark influences were at work, and in which the interests of states and corporations were mysteriously


EGLETON, CLIVE (1927–2006)

intertwined, operating outside the normal process of politics, commerce and law.” Edge of Darkness conforms to this scheme, and its dramatic confrontations centered on energy, power, and the environment fit it into the main political struggles of the time, those between the Thatcher government and the miners on one hand, and the anti-nuclear protestors on the other. Political radicals have also pointed to the strange death of the elderly environmental activist Hilda Murrell in 1984, with claims of a cover-up, corporate conspiracy, and even of possible state murder. John Caughie comments on the unusual narrative complexity and ambiguity of Edge of Darkness, the unexpected “avant-garde sensibility in a popular thriller,” which pushes the popular serial form of television drama to its limits. Scriptwriter Troy Kennedy-Martin had previously scripted the historical spy series Reilly — Ace of Spies (1983), while producer Michael Wearing had previously fashioned the “secret state” thrillers Bird of Prey and Bird of Prey 2 (1982 and 1984). The American CIA agent is likely named after “Operation Jedburgh,” in which British and American servicemen (as with Ron and Darius) combined on clandestine operations supporting D-Day in World War II. An Anglo-American motion picture Edge of Darkness, starring Mel Gibson, was released in 2010 to mixed reviews. The film’s approach was essentially that of a revenge thriller, and the production singularly lacks the quality and intelligence of the original television drama. EGLETON, CLIVE (1927–2006). Novelist. Clive Egleton was born in Harrow, Middlesex, and educated at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School. He became a professional soldier when he joined the Royal Armoured Corps in 1945 to train as a tank driver, was later commissioned in the South Staffordshire Regiment, and served in India, Hong Kong, Germany, Egypt, and East Africa. He gained some experience in intelligence in the Persian Gulf and in counterinsurgency in Cyprus. He commenced his career as a novelist, also using the names Patrick Blake (1979–81) and John Tarrant (1977–2003), shortly before he retired from the military in 1975 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. One source claims Egleton served some unspecified role in the Directorate of Security in the British army between 1981 and 1989. Egleton commenced writing with the British Resistance trilogy of A Piece of Resistance (1970), Last Post for a Partisan (1971), and The Judas Mandate (1972). These envisage a near future in which the British state is overrun by the Soviets. The Peter Ashton series features a senior officer of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and includes Hostile Intent (1993) and The Honey Trap (2000). The Charles Winter series features a spymaster in MI6 in two stories, The Eisenhower Deception (1981) and The Russian Enigma (1982). The Cedric Harper series centers on a spymaster for the Department of Subversive Warfare who appears in four stories including Skirmish (1975) and



The Mills Bomb (1978). Egleton’s best-known spy thriller is Seven Days to a Killing (1973), in which an SIS officer has to deal with the terrorists who have kidnapped his son. A success, it was turned into the film The Black Windmill (1974) with Michael Caine. One reviewer noted how Egleton’s novels “capture the harshness and intrigue of the world of crime and international espionage,” and the New York Times Book Review called him “a fine stylist, writing with a certain amount of British reserve but never letting it interfere with hectic action and a straight, coherent story line.” The popular novelist published nearly 40 thrillers, and his stories have been translated into 15 languages. THE ELIMINATOR. Novel and motion picture. The Eliminator (1966) is Andrew York’s first spy thriller to feature the series character Jonas Wilde, an experienced assassin for “The Route,” a small covert team acting for the British government based on the island of Jersey. Wilde returns from a successful operation in Barbados, and intending to retire, he confronts Canning, the civil servant responsible for The Route, but unhappily accepts a further job: the killing of the defector Salnitz, a valued prize of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), but who, he is informed, is a Soviet plant. This he achieves, but he is captured by the CIA, which allows him to leave under close surveillance in the hope Wilde will lead them to a suspected British traitor. The agent returns to Jersey where he is taken captive by his colleague Stern, who reveals himself as the traitor. Taken out to sea to be killed, Wilde is able to turn the tables during a tremendous storm and makes it back to land alive. Canning orders Wilde to disappear while he clears up the mess. Wilde seems irresistible to females, and there are two principal women in the story. Jocelyn is the steady girlfriend who loves and asks no questions. She is revealed as an enemy plant keeping watch on Jonas, and in the end he adroitly avoids her attempt to poison him and coolly shoots her dead. Meanwhile, the beautiful Marita suddenly appears on the fringes of The Route, although Wilde does not trust her and suspects she has been planted by Canning. In fact, she is a CIA agent, part of the operation to flush out a British traitor. She survives at sea with Wilde, and in the denouement, the British agent takes her with him into his temporary exile. Andrew York published a further eight thrillers featuring “The Eliminator,” a series that ended with The Fascinator in 1975. The Eliminator made it to the big screen as Danger Route (1967), a faithful adaptation directed by Seth Holt, starring Richard Johnson and with the able supporting cast of Carol Lynley, Sylvia Syms, Gordon Jackson, and Harry Andrews. The picture accentuates the jaded feelings of Wilde who wants out of the game; the agent muses at one point, “I think people in our job ought to be very young, and very cool. I’m beginning to think I’m neither.” The picture falls between the two schools of stylish espionage dra-



ma, examples being The Ipcress File (1965) and The Naked Runner (1967), and the James Bond thriller extravaganza. “The result,” according to Monthly Film Bulletin, “is a tired, and tiring, muddle of a film.” Film historian Robert Murphy is more generous and finds Danger Route an intriguing failure, a film of complex ambition, “full of class tensions and cruel surprises,” seemingly lost to a “stingy budget.” The now largely forgotten picture was released with the aggressive tagline “He is a weapon! Government-issue! He killed 39 men, each with a single-blow! 6 were mistakes!” THE ENDLESS GAME. Novel and television drama serial. The Endless Game, published in 1986, is the first in a series of espionage stories written by the acclaimed filmmaker Bryan Forbes and introduces the series character Alec Hillsden, a middle-aged senior agent for a division of MI6. The story commences with the assassination of a prematurely aged woman in a nursing home by a Soviet hit man named Calder. It transpires that Caroline Oates had been a British agent, a lover of Hillsden’s, who was captured and tortured by the KGB and returned a vegetable. The killing is seemingly senseless, but when the former traitor Glanville is also murdered following his questioning by Hillsden, the agent decides the answer must lie in the past, in the secret mission in East Germany during which Caroline was taken. The backdrop to these events is a new Labour government (dating the setting of the story to around 1988) and the harassed home secretary, Toby Bayldon, who is struggling to deal with a breakdown in law and order and especially an intensification of terrorism and bomb outrages. Pamela is a beautiful young woman who serves in a terrorist cell; she has recently become the mistress of Sir Charles Belfrage (a senior civil servant in the Russian section of the Foreign Office) and facilitates his assassination by a member of her group. It emerges that the widespread terror campaign is supported by the Soviets. In the latter part of the story, Hillsden, acting on a plan hatched by Control, the head of MI6, leaves the Service in disgrace, seemingly deteriorates, and is approached by the Soviets for defection. He is secretly flown to Moscow, where he is interrogated by the GRU (Soviet Military Intelligence). There he is reunited with Jock, the former leader of the network in Austria that included Hillsden and Caroline, and who was thought dead. It slowly emerges that Jock is the Soviet killer Calder, and before Alec kills him in revenge for his colleague and lover, the Scotsman reveals an extensive infiltration of British Intelligence by the Russians, which includes Control and Bayldon, and which Caroline was beginning to expose. In a bleak ending, Hillsden is left isolated and impotent in Moscow, and, following increased unrest on the streets of Great Britain, Bayldon is elevated to the leadership of a new government.



The Endless Game is one of a number of spy stories that appeared in the 1980s that embodied the conservative anxiety and paranoia regarding national decline, social breakdown, industrial unrest, increased militancy, the suspected existence of a “supermole,” and Soviet plots in the period, which included The Fourth Protocol (1984). A critic called the story “a most cynical view of a nation in decline.” The novel makes various references to contemporary events and developments in a typical maneuver to suggest immediacy and realism, such as the controversial Special Patrol Group of the London Metropolitan Police (which dealt with serious public disorder) and the assassination of the Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov in London in 1978 by the use of a poisoned umbrella tip. The latter part of the novel, dealing with the supposed breakdown and defection of Hillsden, owes much to John le Carré’s classic The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963). The novel was translated into 13 languages. The New York Times Book Review found Forbes “an intelligent voice that is at its best when evoking an England far removed from any semblance to a demi-paradise.” Hillsden is an unusual hero for a spy story—middle-aged, disillusioned, and betrayed—and he appeared in two sequels to The Endless Game: A Song at Twilight (1989) and Quicksand (1996), which bring to a conclusion his struggle with treachery within the British body politic. Bryan Forbes scripted and directed a two-part British-Italian television dramatization of The Endless Game broadcast on Channel 4 in 1989, with a distinguished cast that included Albert Finney as Alec Hillsden, George Segal as Jock Calder, Ian Holm as Control, Michael Medwin as Bayldon, Anthony Quale as Glanville, and Kristin Scott Thomas as Caroline. The screen drama, shot extensively on location in London, Devon, Austria, and Finland, was the last directed by Forbes, and included a music score by the renowned Italian film composer Ennio Morricone. The drama is a close approximation of the novel, the casting of the American George Segal necessitating a change of origin for Jock Calder who is now credited as the former Central Intelligence Agency station head in Austria. The ending of the drama is slightly less bleak than the novel: here, Hillsden, while contentedly watching children ice skating, gives an ironic smile when he learns that the double agent Bayldon has succeeded as prime minister. The reviewer at the Guardian, not generally appreciative of spy dramas, worried at the acting getting “slower and slower” and the explanations “longer and longer.” See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD. See SINGLE SPIES.



ENIGMA. Novel and motion picture. Enigma is a spy thriller set in early 1943 in World War II, written by Robert Harris and first published in 1995. The story centers on a brilliant young mathematician, Tom Jericho, a Cambridge University scholar recruited to wartime code-breaking at Bletchley Park, and the most secret work on ENIGMA, the German coding machine, and ULTRA, the intelligence generated by ENIGMA. Following a monumental effort to break into SHARK, the German naval code used by the Uboats, and a failed romance, Jericho suffers a breakdown and returns to Cambridge for rest and recuperation. When the German Admiralty alters its codes and blacks out the Allies with regard to enemy naval intelligence, Tom is urgently recalled to Bletchley to try again to gain access to SHARK. The thriller element of the story concerns Jericho’s efforts to locate Claire, his former lover, who has disappeared after having taken some German signals communications. Jericho investigates the mystery with the help of Hester, Claire’s roommate, and stays one step ahead of the official investigation led by the oily Wigram of the Security Service. The mystery centers on the massacre of 10,000 Polish officers by Soviet forces in the Katyn Forrest, something the British authorities had sought to suppress so as not to embarrass its new ally, and that Claire had obtained the decrypts for her latest lover, the Polish cryptanalyst Pukowski, who aims to get the ULTRA secret back to the Germans as payback for the massacre by the Soviets. Jericho intercepts Pukowski while he is fleeing to Liverpool in an attempt to escape to Ireland, and both are shot by the Security Service. While recovering in hospital, Jericho learns that Claire is, in fact, a British agent and that he had stumbled onto a security operation. While he ponders if Claire had ever loved him and if he will meet her again, he learns that his latest efforts at Bletchley had once again got a foothold into SHARK, and this could turn the tide in the Battle of the Atlantic. In a brief author’s note, Harris stresses that the story is set against an actual historical event, that for authenticity the naval signals quoted in the text are genuine, but that his characters are fictitious. This blending of history with imagination is characteristic of British spy fiction, yet one cannot but feel that here the extraordinary achievements of the Government Code and Cipher School at Bletchley Park are lost to a commercial novel in which the thriller element and the melodramatic are primary concerns. Enigma works principally as a mystery thriller and, as such, gripped a large readership. There has been some disappointment among the Polish that Enigma should feature a Pole as the villain, which has tended to deflect attention from the fact that Poles were the first to acquire and commence cracking the cipher machine. Harris lists Peter Calvocoressi’s Top Secret Ultra (1980), F. H. Hinsley and Alan Stripp’s Codebreakers (1993), David Kahn’s Seizing the Enigma (1991), and Hugh Skillen’s The Enigma Symposium (1992 and 1994) as key factual sources for the story.



Enigma the motion picture was produced in Great Britain with the impressive team of Michael Apted as director, Tom Stoppard as screenwriter, John Barry as composer, Mick Jagger as coproducer, and stars Dougray Scott as Jericho and Kate Winslet as Hester. While keeping the basic story, the movie opts for an even more populist approach than the best-selling novel. This is evident in the revised ending, which rejects the book’s uncompromising sexual attraction of Hester for Claire in favor of a more traditionally satisfying romantic coupling of the hero and heroine, Jericho and Hester, in the final reel. This necessitates a certain demonization of Claire, who here is portrayed as helping Pukowski out of love and has to disappear with the British Secret Service seeking her as a traitor. In perhaps an obvious move, the dramatization turns Claire into one of the enigmas of the title, the one code Tom couldn’t break. The tagline for the picture reminded audiences of the mind-boggling calculations involved: “10,000,000,000,000,000+ combinations—24 hours to get it right.” Reviewers found the film old-fashioned, “a ghost from a bygone, stiffupper-lip era of British film-making,” and pointed to the descents into John Buchan country in the finale set in the Scottish Highlands where Tom apprehends Pukowski and in the Miss Marple–type sleuthing of Hester, as “Kate Winslet’s plucky investigator pedals furiously around the English countryside with a secret code concealed in her knickers.” The controversial and significant figure of Alan Turing, mentioned but not featured in the novel, has been the subject of the drama Breaking the Code (theater 1986, TV 1996), and the recent film The Imitation Game (2014) deals with Turing’s wartime involvement with ENIGMA. See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. THE ENORMOUS SHADOW. Novel. The Enormous Shadow is a political thriller written by Robert Harling in 1955. Harling was an influential typographer, designer, and editor who published a handful of novels in the postwar period. He had been posted to the Naval Propaganda Section during World War II and later served in Ian Fleming’s daring 30 Assault Unit during the D-Day operations. It was to Harling that Fleming once confessed that he intended to write the spy story to “end all spy stories.” In The Enormous Shadow, an unnamed newspaper man is assigned to write a series of profiles of up-and-coming politicians. An anonymous note to the newspaper begins the process of unearthing a deep intrigue involving one of the subjects, the Labour politician Matthew Chance, and Professor Lewis, a brilliant mathematician and research scientist based at Harwell, the government’s atomic energy research establishment. The inquiry becomes more complicated through the journalist’s growing affection for the estranged Mrs. Lewis, who, it transpires, sent the note that sparked the investi-



gation. It is eventually revealed that Chance is a long-term Soviet agent who has recruited Lewis and the pair is about to defect to Russia. On the initiative of the newspaperman, the suspects are chased downriver after boarding a Polish merchant ship, and when heaved to it is learned that Chance and Lewis have been disposed of in the Thames in a successful attempt by the crew to avoid an international incident. The British authorities demand secrecy, and the newspaper is denied its scoop. Clive Bloom, a critic of popular literature, assessed The Enormous Shadow as an archetype of the Cold War thriller as it emerged in the 1950s, a genre type that deals with the conditions governing traitorous behavior, which he sees as essentially paranoid in style. Bloom appreciates the novel as a “state of the nation” story, a reactionary text, commenting on the decline of Great Britain in the postwar period, and stitched through this is a “yearning nostalgia for an older, better, essentially rural Britain.” We see the country through the eyes of the journalist who, he tells us, takes “a trip round this ancient land,” and that he “deeply cared” for England. The immediate context for the story were the recent revelations of traitorous atom scientists and government officials, and the character of the editor in chief succinctly alludes to this in his comments on the breaking news story: “My own belief is that it’s a Pontecorvo-Nunn May-Burgess-Maclean story all rolled into one.” The many references to actual spies and traitors in the story, as well as to factual accounts such as Alan Moorhead’s The Traitors: The Double Life of Fuchs, Pontecorvo and Nunn May (1952), serves, as Bloom puts it, as a “talisman of realism,” a process reinforced through the narrative framework of investigative journalism. The positioning of the wife in the story who is forced to confront her husband’s treachery is an echo of the domestic situation faced by Donald and Mrs. Maclean, which was eagerly devoured by the popular press. A contemporary review in the Star judged the story “a thriller-novel of immense pace and quick intelligence.” Harling published a second tale of Cold War treachery with Endless Colonnade in 1960, in which H-bomb secrets are about to be passed to communists in Italy. A contemporary Cold War novel of a defecting scientist was Dennis Wheatley’s Curtain of Fear (1953). See also SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. ESPIONAGE. Television drama series. Espionage is a spy series produced in Britain in 24 black-and-white episodes and broadcast by Associated Television in Great Britain in 1963–64. Each episode, budgeted at an expensive £40,000 for a nine-day shoot, lasted 50 minutes and dealt with a complete story line; the anthology series covering various historical periods, ranging from the U.S. War of Independence to the contemporary Cold War, with some stories based on historical characters and events. The series was initiated by Herbert Hirschman and Herb Brodkin, two producers with wide expe-



rience in American television drama, and the show was initiated for the North American market where it was broadcast on the NBC network. In Britain, the series involved producer Lew Grade, who at that time was looking to break into the U.S. television market with his British productions. Originally, it was envisaged that Espionage would deal with stories about World War II and would be written and directed by Americans. However, finding this approach too restrictive, the theme and scope of the series was broadened out to one that examined “human, political and social factors in war and peace,” and aimed “to personalize in depth controversial issues and to make each episode as thought-provoking as possible.” British writers and directors were hired to contribute and included old hands like Michael Powell and Seth Holt, and future filmmakers such as David Greene, Ken Hughes, and the American Stuart Rosenberg. The superior series, shot at Elstree Studios in Britain, with locations around London, Europe, and North America, featured such well-known British and American players as Anthony Quale, Dennis Hopper, Patricia Neal, Diane Cilento, Pamela Brown, Martin Balsam, Roger Livesey, Bernard Lee, and Donald Pleasence, while the music was composed by the experienced Malcolm Arnold and Benjamin Frankel. See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION. ESPIONAGE STORY. Espionage story is a label that can be used to mark a distinction from the spy thriller. While the latter trades in pace and excitement, the former is more serious, complex, and thought provoking. In the hands of writers such as Graham Greene, Eric Ambler, and John le Carré, the spy novel has been termed the “art thriller,” suggesting a level of literary achievement and engagement, and, according to the literary historian Christopher Harvie, offering the expression of a “dissenting position in which individual loyalties cannot always be coterminous with ‘official’ patriotism.” The best mystery stories, the American literary figure Edmund Wilson once remarked, should convey a current of malaise, “the horror of a hidden conspiracy that is continually turning up in the most varied and unlikely forms.” The modern espionage story largely conforms to this ideal, exposing moral and ethical corruption, private and public betrayals, self-serving careerism and bureaucratic inertia, and, in the final reckoning, self-outweighing national interest. “It’s a bad world, where people do bad things,” as the American spy novelist Alan Furst expressed it, finding in the writing of authors such as Greene, le Carré, and Somerset Maugham “a kind of cloaked anger, a belief that the world is a place where political power is maintained by means of treachery and betrayal, and, worse, that this gloomy fact of life has as much to do with elemental human nature as it does with the ambitions of states.” The eminent critic Ken Tynan, commenting on “the bread of espionage, not



the circuses of Bondery” in regard to le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), marked with approval the widely perceived distinction between the espionage story and the spy thriller. The “serious” espionage story can be traced back to such accomplished writers as Joseph Conrad and the classic The Secret Agent (1907) and Somerset Maugham’s short spy stories collected in Ashenden (1928). These tales introduced a psychological realism where previously a melodramatic romanticism had reigned. The Secret Agent offered a narrative and psychological complexity, while Ashenden largely replaced the thrills of conventional spy fiction with an emphasis on the mundaneness of much espionage work and the often unpleasant and sometimes ethically dubious tasks that confront the secret agent. The espionage story has continued to mark out a more literary territory within spy fiction, in contrast to the spy thriller, which many critics dismiss as sub-literate. In the hands of accomplished writers, the espionage story has constructed a more morally complex relationship between agent, intelligence organizations, and society. The approach was picked up and developed by Graham Greene and Eric Ambler in the 1930s to suggest the unease in face of rising armaments and totalitarianism. With their world-weary antiheroes, these writers anticipated the moral landscape of the Cold War thriller. Ambler’s Josef Vadassy, a Hungarian refugee and language teacher who finds himself unexpectedly caught up in intrigue in the story Epitaph of a Spy, speaks the confusion of his mid-20th-century generation when he reviews his experience: “Good did not triumph. Evil did not triumph. The two resolved, destroyed each other, and created new evils, new goods that slew each other in their turn.” The espionage story is also likely to be peopled by characters that lack certainty in the actions of their service, and faith in the institutions that compel them. At the conclusion to le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974), George Smiley has painfully exposed the traitor Bill Haydon, confronted his “appalling duplicity”; yet Smiley still recognized a man of worth, of principles, however misguided. Smiley surprisingly finds his surging resentment directed “against the institutions he was supposed to be protecting”: the mendacious Minister, the morally complacent civil servant to whom he reports, and the bludgeoning greed of the new Control. “Such men invalidated any contract: why should anyone be loyal to them.” The historian and former wartime Naval Intelligence officer Richard Deacon commented on the often poor recruitment standard at the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), noting of the period following World War II that “the agents of SIS continued to be a very assorted collection of unimaginative ex-Indian Army officers, young men who had failed at stockbroking and a fair sprinkling of playboys in the idle rich category.”



The new spy literature of the 1960s forged by writers such as le Carré and Len Deighton was more cynical and tended to deal with the theme of betrayal in a wider sense. While le Carré’s style during the period has been called “gloomy,” Deighton’s is more fashionable and modish; but in their different ways each treat the contemporary British experience since World War II— class, declining national prestige, masculinity—in critical terms. Philip Jenkins appreciated the “closely observed study of individuals attempting to maintain their personal values in the moral ‘wilderness of mirrors’ that is secret intelligence,” which is characteristic of the espionage story. “A world of constantly shifting loyalties where conventional notions of truthfulness and friendship cease to apply,” he maintains, and “perhaps the finest contribution of the espionage novel to literature.” Television drama has also sometimes wandered into the territory of the espionage story. The popular series Callan (1967–72) featured a troubled and insubordinate working-class agent pressured into working for counterespionage: a thorough-going “anti-Bond.” The first two seasons of Special Branch (1969–70) and the series The Sandbaggers (1978–80) rely more on conversation: the dramatic conflicts that take place in offices as tactics and strategy are argued over and difficult ethical and moral problems are confronted. Literate and thoughtful television dramas such as Traitor (1971) and Blade on the Feather (1980) by Dennis Potter, An Englishman Abroad (1983) and A Question of Attribution (1991) by Alan Bennett, and Soft Targets (1982) and Hidden City (1987) by Stephen Poliakoff also qualify for consideration as espionage stories. Some spy fiction is notable for its literary merit and intellectual demands, and writers of the caliber and reputation of Elizabeth Bowen with The Heat of the Day (1948), Anthony Burgess with Tremor of Intent (1966), Ian McEwan with The Innocent (1990), and John Banville with The Untouchable (1997) meet the requirement of the espionage story. Other writers who have generally been treated with the kind of esteem that qualifies them as exponents of espionage literature include the respected genre specialist Ted Allbeury, the sometime writer of spy stories Julian Rathbone, and Alan Judd with the retro-spy novel Legacy (2001). See also ETHICS AND MORALITY OF ESPIONAGE. ETHICS AND MORALITY OF ESPIONAGE. The time since the ending of the Cold War and the emergence of a new phase in international terrorism has seen an increased interest in and awareness of the ethics and morality of espionage and security. The fundamental philosophical issue at the heart of debate on these matters can be stated simply: “Whatever interests or rights that states can legitimately be said to have must derive from the interests and rights of their individual citizens.” Many have felt that the practice of intelligence and espionage, often defended in the interest of national security and



subject to an extraordinary or specialized ethics, has transgressed fundamental moral values and ethical principles; has been, in fact, pursued for narrower private and professional interests; and, in the area of covert actions and special operations, has sometimes contravened basic human rights and decency. During the Cold War, Soviet Russia was promoted as an “implacable enemy” that aimed at “world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost.” Intelligence and security policy maintained that the only credible response was an equally ruthless stance—a “fundamentally repugnant philosophy,” but necessary. Victor Marchetti and John Marks, in their exposé The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, comment on the “clandestine mentality” and its belief “that human ethics and social laws have no bearing on covert actions and their practitioners.” Such a mind-set tends to free the intelligence profession from moral restrictions: “There is no need to wrestle with technical legalities or judgments as to whether something is right or wrong. The determining factors in secret operations are purely pragmatic: Does the job need to be done? Can it be done? And can secrecy (or plausible denial) be maintained?” Advocates of a strong response to contemporary terrorism promote similar arguments centering on “just cause.” An extreme view is presented in Richard Deacon’s A History of British Secret Service (1980), where the former intelligence officer and controversial historian writes, “In espionage there should be precautionary rules, but no others: whether a government likes it or not, if the end justifies the means, all should be forgiven. Morality does not, indeed should not, enter into this subject.” Many would not accept such a blanket rejection of morality, and the scholar J. J. Macintosh proposes four main moral issues raised by a consideration of espionage fiction: the justification of spying itself; the unnecessary sexism of fictional versions of spying; other connected immoralities such as murder, torture, and deceit; and the morality of writing, selling, buying, and reading literature that is devoted to detailing such activities. Before the routinization of espionage following the establishment of the official Secret Service Bureau in 1909, spying was the province of amateur gentlemen who were occasionally called upon to root out the country’s enemies or deal with half-crazed anarchists who threatened terror. In this context, the “spy” was something distinctly alien, spying a dishonorable activity, and at best “dirty though necessary.” While sometimes prepared to act as a quasi-official “secret agent,” the intrepid hero was happier to serve in a counterespionage role against beastly foreigners, and happier still if there was a damsel to be rescued in the bargain. A famous passage in Erskine Childers’s The Riddle of the Sands (1903) articulates the ethical dilemma confronting the English gentleman agent at the time. In a decidedly “delicate matter,” the two gentlemen heroes, Carruthers and Davies, must decide if it is proper to watch carefully a suspicious German yachtsman whom they suspect to be a British traitor in the service of the kaiser and whom they consider



“the vilest creature on God’s earth.” The blunt Davies left for dead by the suspect ponders, “Why shouldn’t we?” Then arguing his duty and self-sacrifice if necessary, he points out: “The man’s an Englishman, and if he’s in with Germany he’s a traitor to us, and we as Englishmen have a right to expose him. If we can’t do it without spying we’ve got a right to spy, at our own risk.” The unquestioning sense of duty and belief in the rightness of the national cause tended to dominate British spy stories up to the time of James Bond in the 1950s, an agent who retained faith in his superior M and only sometimes showed doubt regarding his “license to kill” for Queen and Country. The moral concept of “honor” was central to these traditional spy fictions. Important exceptions are Joseph Conrad’s Under Western Eyes (1911), which is the first story to explore the situation of a double agent and the attendant complexities of loyalty and betrayal, and Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden tales (1928), which do not shirk from showing the tedium and sometimes repugnant aspects of secret agent work. The Times Literary Supplement stated in its review of the Ashenden short spy stories: “Never before or since has it been so categorically demonstrated that counter-Intelligence work consists often of morally indefensible jobs not to be taken by the squeamish or the conscience-stricken.” In the 1960s, a different world of British spy fiction offered a more critical attitude toward espionage, intelligence organizations, and officials. Particularly important was John le Carré and his breakthrough novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963). In this story, le Carré sketches a manipulative Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) for which expediency and short-term advantage is pursued over and above ethics and morality. In a famous exchange, a spymaster muses with the agent Leamas over the proper response to the Soviets. “You can’t,” says Control, “be less wicked than your enemies simply because your government’s policy is benevolent—can you?” The story, one of great historical irony, reveals a British Secret Service that favors a traitor and a Nazi in order to rid itself of an able opponent, a loyal Jew. The agent Leamas describes spies as “a squalid procession of vain fools, traitors too, yes; pansies, sadists and drunkards.” “Do you think they sit like monks in London balancing the rights and wrongs?” he asks. The dirty work of espionage is done, he cynically informs his companion, the communist Liz Gold, “so that the great moronic mass that you admire can sleep soundly in their beds at night.” In a review of the novel in the Observer, a somewhat unnerved Maurice Richardson commented, “The homicidal wickedness and unscrupulousness of our side, sacrificing agent after agent, is laid on very strong.” However, a sobering counter to this view comes from a former serving officer of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who believes that the story “correctly captures the ethical dilemma of the espionage business—that sometimes you have to deal with/use individuals for whom you have little or no respect (Mundt) but who, because of their access, can



provide important service for your government.” The kind of introspection of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold remained typical for le Carré. In Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974), the senior civil servant Lacon confesses to spy chief George Smiley, “It’s a little difficult to know when to trust you people and when not. You do live by rather different standards, don’t you?” Accepting that the methods of the politician and the intelligence officer are different, Lacon suggests that for the latter morality was vested in the aim; adding, “Difficult to know what one’s aims are, that’s the trouble, especially if you’re British.” The context for the emergence of this new style of spy fiction was a more suspicious and damning public attitude toward espionage and security organizations. In the United States, there was a sense of failure following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 and of betrayal during the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s. The CIA was the subject of hostile investigation by the Rockefeller Commission, the Church, and the Nedzi and Pike committees in the mid-1970s, on allegations regarding unauthorized domestic spying activities, involvement in assassination attempts against foreign leaders, budgetary irregularities, experiments in mind control, and other abuses. During this period, the CIA was labeled a “rogue elephant” and the intelligence community as “out of control.” In Great Britain, the situation was little better, and a spate of damaging domestic espionage scandals in the early 1960s cast doubt on the efficiency of the Secret Service and the effectiveness of its patrician leadership. A lingering suspicion of traitors in the intelligence and diplomatic services, the embarrassing exposure of the coverup of Anthony Blunt’s traitorous service, the annoying praetorian approach of the British government to intelligence during the 1970s and 1980s, and misgivings regarding the political partisanship of the Secret Service (which resulted from allegations of smears against the leader of the Labour Party, known as the “Wilson Plot) ensured that the public stock of the intelligence and security services in Britain remained low in the 1970s and 1980s. The unease and disquiet found imaginative expression in the “secret state” thrillers of the period, such as the novels In the Secret State (1980) and A Very British Coup (1982), the films Defence of the Realm (1985) and Hidden Agenda (1990), and the television dramas Bird of Prey (1982) and Edge of Darkness (1985). These fictions dealt with malevolent intelligence organizations, in which intimidation, falsification, cover-ups, the obstruction of justice—and even state murder—were acceptable in the service of social and political elites. The perceived malpractices and “dirty tricks” of the intelligence community—lying, coercion, entrapment, extortion, manipulation, bribery, deception, blackmail, and murder—found popular expression as plot devices and details in novels and screen dramas. The Ipcress File (novel 1962, film 1965) features a British agent who is unwittingly used by the War Office to



flush out a highly placed traitor in British Intelligence. At one point, believing he is captive behind the Iron Curtain, he is subjected to disturbing mindmanipulation techniques. In the film, having survived the ordeal, he complains to Colonel Ross, the senior officer behind the scheme, “You used me as a decoy. I might have been killed or driven stark raving mad.” Ross blandly replies, “It’s what you’re paid for.” The false or incomplete briefing of an agent is a common plot for spy thrillers and is used, for example, in Running Blind (novel 1970, TV 1980) by Desmond Bagley, where the operative, believing he is engaged on a simple courier job, finds himself in a life-and-death struggle between Western intelligence and the Soviets. The Naked Runner (novel 1966, film 1967) by Francis Clifford has a businessman manipulated by the Secret Service into innocently serving a dangerous operation; vengeful after being led to believe that his young son has been killed, he fulfills the mission and assassinates an American defector. The disillusioned Laker muses on the terrain of espionage as the “hunting-ground of back-room entrepreneurs who’d devised their stealthy games of blackmail and death, catch-as-catch-can, their own dirty laws, their own ethics.” The Human Factor (1978) by Graham Greene has SIS poisoning a wrongly suspected double agent within the Service with aflatoxin to prevent a potential public scandal. The doctor who administers the fatal dose contents himself with the knowledge that “he’ll hardly suffer at all”: “To spend only a week dying is quite a happy fate, when you think what many people suffer.” The honorable security officer Daintry is appalled, “tired to death of secrecy and of errors which had to be covered up and not admitted.” A character marginalized by the sour ethics of the Service, he could not justify “murder by mistake.” The Waiting Time (novel 1998, TV 1999) by Gerald Seymour shows the smug attitudes of the patricians who send the agents out on dangerous operations, an officer informing a subordinate: “It’s idiots not us who do the graft. We send them off through the wire, across frontiers and through the mines. We don’t go sentimental, we don’t get involved. We just give the idiots a good push and send them on their way.” Such callousness inevitably leads to the acceptance of “expendable” agents, a situation dramatized in le Carré’s The Looking-Glass War (novel 1966, film 1969) in which a faded department of British Intelligence, seeking to restore itself to wartime glory, sends a pathetically underprepared agent into East Germany, simply to abandon him to his fate when promises of restoration of former authority and privileges are forthcoming. As ethical philosopher David Perry observed, “Tragic choices are inevitable to some degree in intelligence work.” However, the difficulty of choosing does not condone the view of the spy chief “C” in Graham Greene’s The Human Factor when he smugly remarks, “We are all committing crimes somewhere, aren’t we? It’s our job”: hardly a philosophy to “minimize the occurrence of avoidable tragedy” as Perry would hope.



On odd occasions, a critic might make comment on the ethics of the spy story. Clive James, writing for the Observer, believed in the “moral obligations” of the espionage drama, and found the new spy thriller Quiller (TV 1975) “blasphemous rubbish” in its reduction of “real suffering and real dying to the status of raw materials,” and demanded “just ordinary attention to the realities of thought and feeling.” More common was the distaste for excessive sex and violence in the spy thriller, traceable for many to the sparking of a “taste for sex and sadomasochism on a limitless expense account” with the James Bond stories—an “epidemic” that spread, in one colorful phrase, with “the persistence of a growing bloodstain on the grubby sheet of English-speaking Puritanism.” In recent history, concern has grown regarding the increase in surveillance and what has been called “intelligence power” following the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 in New York (9/11) and 7 July 2005 in London (7/7). In the 2000s, there was massive expansion of the security structures in Britain with the new Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism established in 2008 and eventually the creation of the post of Minister of Security. The new security environment erected to confront the global threats of terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and transnational organized crime has led to intense debate regarding the legitimacy of much intelligence activity and striking the right balance between security and accountability in a liberal democratic setting. The international need to share knowledge regarding the threat of terrorism has bred tricky ethical problems: How does one treat hard intelligence gathered by lightly regulated foreign powers through prohibited “coercive interrogation techniques” such as torture and harsh questioning? How does one relate with intelligence partners who participate in acts of “extraordinary rendition”? In a difficult 2005 decision, the House of Lords ruled that intelligence operations could be undertaken on the basis of “tainted evidence.” Unsurprisingly, in some quarters, Britain stands accused of “accomplicity” in these matters. The issues are dramatized in David Hare’s excellent The Worricker Trilogy (2011–2014), in which a senior MI5 officer learns of the British prime minister’s complicity in secret detention camps run by American forces—information the politician studiously keeps from the British public while enhancing his own reputation as a peacemaker and international statesman. The intelligence services have had to respond to new openness and the emergence of an ethical agenda. In 2006, MI5 responded with a circular “Ethics and the Security Service” encouraging staff who were publicly accused of “complicity in torture” to voice ethical concerns, and even provided an “ethics counselor” where personal concerns were becoming intolerable. There has also been a fundamental reconsideration of attitudes toward surveillance in recent times resulting in a clear shift toward greater observation and inspection of the British public. This has not proceeded without



technical difficulties and opposition, and the government was forced to retract on large schemes aimed to intercept, store, and interrogate data, and to require UK citizens to carry an identity card. The enthusiasm of the Labour administration in the mid-1990s for large surveillance databases and biometric projects led to much unease and is dramatized in The Last Enemy (2008), a conspiracy thriller in which the British government attempts to erect an allencompassing scheme of data storage and collection allied to identity cards. This fiction bore much resemblance to the Labour government’s Intercept Modernisation Programme unveiled in 2008, projected at a cost of £12 million, and which led to uncomfortable accusations that “our state collects more data than the Stasi ever did.” The grand scheme was withdrawn, but as the scholars Aldrich and Field asserted, the “government has resolved to advance the plan by stealth.” THE EXECUTIONER. Motion picture. The Executioner is an independent film production, made in Great Britain from an original story and released by Columbia Pictures in 1970. The plot concerns the British-born, Americaneducated secret agent John Shay (George Peppard), who, following the rolling up of his networks in Czechoslovakia, must, with grim determination, confront treachery at the heart of the British Secret Service. There follows a near bewildering series of convoluted twists involving duplicitous colleagues, double agents, marital deceits, threats, capture by the KGB, and bloody killings. It eventually transpires that Shay has stumbled into a longterm British deception of the Soviets. The tourist and action codes of the narrative are effectively captured in the tagline “From London . . . to Athens . . . to the island of Corfu . . . Every day he lives, somebody else dies.” The Executioner is stylishly directed by Sam Wanamaker, with teasing flashbacks, slow motion, and film noir–like compositions. The action ranges across England, Vienna, Istanbul, and Athens. The film is at pains to make the contrast between the brash American, individualist outsider, as “English as a Hamburger” is the way he describes himself, with the closed ranks of the clubby English establishment. There is much play with the English gentlemen’s notion of espionage as a game, with overt references to such definingly English activities as cricket and snooker, as well as the more universal symbol of chess as intrigue. In exasperation to all this, Shay bursts out: “It’s all a game—it doesn’t matter which side wins, as long as it’s fun to watch. Well, it matters to some.” The spymasters are played by the resoundingly English quartet of actors Keith Michell, Nigel Patrick, Charles Gray, and George Baker. The Executioner is unjustly forgotten, a spy film of perceptible style, wit, and tension. Monthly Film Bulletin discerned some effort to cast a satirical eye over the “old school tie” world of the British Secret Service and to test the ethical complexities of modern espionage. However,



for the reviewer, the film ultimately “does not escape from the well-worn shallow groove in which the contemporary spy thriller is in danger of becoming stuck.” EYE OF THE NEEDLE. Novel and motion picture. Eye of the Needle, originally published in Great Britain as Storm Island in 1978, is a spy thriller set in wartime England, written by Ken Follett. The story centers on three sets of characters: an ace German spy using the cover name of Henry Faber and known as “Die Nadel” (The Needle), who unearths the most secret plans for D-Day and the invasion of mainland Europe; Percival Godliman and Fred Bloggs of MI5, the men urgently tasked with stopping Faber, who get onto him through the foreign agent’s distinctive use of a stiletto as a murder weapon; and David and Lucy Rose, a young married couple who suffer a terrible car accident, retreat to the remote Storm Island in the North Sea, and unwittingly become involved in the intrigue. The story unfolds as an exciting manhunt as the spy catchers Godliman and Bloggs pursue the deadly Faber north from London through Liverpool and onto Scotland as he attempts to rendezvous with a submarine and get the vital information back to Germany. Shipwrecked on Storm Island, Faber romances Lucy, reveals his true intentions when he kills the invalid David, and is in turn killed by Lucy moments before he embarks for the U-boat. In the best tradition of wartime deception, the British send a message in the name of “Die Nadel” stating that the Allied invasion of continental Europe will take place in the vicinity of Calais on 15 June 1944. Eye of the Needle is a dramatization of the secret war and the security mania attaching to FORTITUDE, the massive deception operation to convince the Germans that the Allies would invade Europe at the Pas-de-Calais. In a preface to the novel, Follett concedes that the German espionage effort in Britain was poor, and that his story is therefore necessarily fiction. However, in a facetious aside, he adds, “Still and all, one suspects something like this must have happened.” The novel makes much reference to real history and individuals to enhance its “reality effect” and the credibility of the story. Godliman is an eminent academic, and many university professors were indeed recruited into wartime intelligence and black propaganda where their sharp intellects could be useful. There is mention of actual German spies (such as Dorothy O’Grady on the Isle of Wight and the Welshman Alfred George Owens, who was eventually turned by British Intelligence); of the successful Double-Cross Committee, which manipulated the Nazi spy network in Britain; and of such real personages as Winston Churchill and Admiral Canaris who are weaved into the narrative. Follett claimed Eye of the Needle was “the best story idea I had ever had”: “I planned the book carefully and wrote a detailed outline. I researched the period thoroughly and I put a lot of the detail into the story. It gave the book



a feel for the grain of everyday life, something that my work had never had before. The richness of detail slows the writing down, but that was what my work needed. My early books were all too brisk and things happened too quickly. With Eye of the Needle, I got the pace right for the first time.” The novel was clearly influenced by both The Eagle Has Landed (1975), a massively popular wartime-set spy thriller written by Jack Higgins, which similarly placed an imaginary scenario into a credible historical framework, and by Frederick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal (1971), another study of an essentially unsympathetic killer working for the wrong side. Eye of the Needle was hugely successful, selling around 10 million copies, appearing on some lists of the best-selling novels of all time, and won the Edgar Award for Best Novel from the Mystery Writers of America. The feature film Eye of the Needle, starring Donald Sutherland as “The Needle” and Kate Nelligan as Lucy, was produced in Great Britain and released by United Artists in 1981. The picture necessarily trims the long novel, more quickly getting the German agent to Storm Island and the frolics with Lucy, a creative compromise the critic at Rolling Stone derided as a case of “Ryan’s Daughter meets The Day of the Jackal.” The picture attracted mixed reviews but won some plaudits as an intelligent thriller—with stylish handling by director Richard Marquand, who constructed an “appropriate atmosphere of ominous dread and wartime austerity”—and was welcomed as a “cut above” the average commercial movie release. The eminent critic Andrew Sarris even went so far as to praise it as “the most marvelously adult movie adventure of the year, an extraordinary achievement in an era in which adventure itself seems to have become the permanent property of childhood and early adolescence.” Eye of the Needle reminded some of the wartime thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock and Fritz Lang, and a comparison was made with Powell and Pressburger’s The Spy in Black (1939), an earlier tale of a lone German agent on a remote Scottish isle. The tagline for the movie concentrated on the romantic dilemma in the story: “Codename: ‘The Needle.’ Only one person can stop him: The woman who loves him!” See also SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II.

F FATHOM. See A GIRL CALLED FATHOM. FLEMING, IAN (1908–1964). Naval Intelligence officer and novelist. Ian Lancaster Fleming was born into a wealthy banking family in London’s Mayfair. He attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, but left without a commission in 1927; he studied briefly at Geneva and Munich Universities but to his great disappointment failed the entrance exam for the Foreign Office. Working as a journalist for the Reuters News Agency provided him with his first worthwhile adventure, when he was sent to Moscow to cover the trial of six British engineers arrested for spying. The experience gave Fleming a personal insight into the Russian situation and would influence his attitude to that country for the rest of his life. Family pressure saw Fleming placed at a small merchant bank, but soon after he moved to a firm of stock brokers where he hoped to make money quickly. Fleming had little aptitude or interest for either, and throughout the period the young man developed a reputation as a charmer and playboy. In hindsight, a formative experience could well have been a year at an Austrian finishing school, run by a former British spy, A. E. Forbes Dennis, along with his wife, the writer Phyllis Bottome. The latter, who later penned some spy novels, encouraged the restless Fleming to write, and he acknowledged his gratitude in later life. In May 1939, with relatively little achieved, Fleming was invited to join Naval Intelligence in the important post of personal assistant to Director Admiral John Godfrey, and it was in the clandestine world of wartime intelligence that Fleming found his métier. A fellow senior officer who knew Fleming well commented: “Ian had enormous flair, imagination and ability to get on with people. He would have been no use in a routine Admiralty appointment, but he was perfect for this job. He could fix anyone or anything if it was really necessary.” Fleming served with distinction on such important matters as liaison with MI5 and MI6 and, with counterparts in the United States, propaganda, political warfare, and subversion. He established the swashbuckling 30 Assault Unit, which operated behind German lines retrieving scientific and military intelligence, and reached the rank of commander. 153


FLEMING, IAN (1908–1964)

He was fond of conjuring up audacious ideas, which he then promoted as serious operations. Often bored by routine administrative work, he sometimes offered himself for daring schemes, but these were usually denied by Godfrey, who did not wish to lose his assistant to rash ideas. Fleming was particularly attached to a special pen that was able to eject tear gas if required, and he carried a cyanide capsule. It is apparent that with such an attitude and personality, enflamed in an exciting and unpredictable environment, the future writer of spy fiction experienced and developed the insights and characteristics that would serve well for the imaginative adventures of a fictional gentleman agent. Following the war, Fleming returned to journalism, joining the Kemsley newspaper group, which owned the Sunday Times, as foreign manager, responsible for its worldwide network of correspondents. It was apparently a well-paid and relatively easy life and allowed him to live for part of the year at GoldenEye, a house in his beloved Jamaica. He retained professional links with the Sunday Times until the early 1960s. Early in 1952, Fleming commenced work on his first spy novel, something he had long promised. Casino Royale, which, it has been claimed, took only a month to write, was published in 1953 and introduced the British secret agent James Bond. The book met with modest critical and commercial success. Overall, Fleming wrote 12 novels featuring the agent with the designation 007—culminating in The Man with the Golden Gun, published posthumously in 1965—and two collections of short stories before his death from a heart attack in 1964. By that time, Fleming was a celebrity, largely a result of “Bondmania,” which swept the globe following the translation of the books to the cinema screen that began with Dr. No in 1962. Fleming’s secret agent was a representative of national and class stereotypes centered on a traditional gentlemanly code and justifiable imperial mission. The author symbolically cast his hero in contrast to the erosion of British prestige since the war, as well as the egalitarianism of the Labour government (1945–51), which he found distasteful. While the stories have been criticized as reactionary, the character has been called “a post-imperial, post-industrial figure of commodified display,” situating Bond in a time of dramatic social and cultural change, in the moment between “the end of empire and the start of commercial globalization.” There are claims that Fleming modeled “his protagonist’s fantasy world after his own experiences in the intelligence field during World War II, his own personal desires, and his attitudes about women.” In Fleming’s lifetime, the James Bond novels were translated into 26 languages, sold around 40 million copies, and many more than that since. Agent 007 is conventionally thought to have been based on the master spies Sidney Riley and Dusko Popov, with an element of Fleming added to the mix.

FOLLETT, KEN (1949– )


Fleming’s was a complex character, made up in large parts of inner restlessness and isolation. This tended to leave the man apart from the group, withdrawn, often seemingly unhappy, noticeable even when he served in the cut-and-thrust world of Naval Intelligence. Unsurprisingly, critics and fans have searched for the common ground between Ian Fleming and his creation James Bond. In late 1944, the intelligence officer Ian Fleming had told a friend that at some point “I am going to write the spy story to end all spy stories.” In the outcome, he wrote several, in the process creating the secret agent who would outperform and outlast all other secret agents. Fleming has been played on television by Charles Dance in Goldeneye (1989) and Dominic Cooper in the recent miniseries Fleming. Ian’s older brother Peter was equally dashing; he served with distinction in the clandestine Special Operations Executive and later authored the thriller The Sixth Column (1951) about Soviet subversion in Great Britain. See also SPY AS NOVELIST; SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY. FOLLETT, KEN (1949– ). Novelist. Kenneth Martin Follett was born in Cardiff, Wales, but from the age of 10 grew up in London. He was a pupil of Harrow Weald Grammar School and Poole Technical College. Raised in a family of devout born-again Christians, Ken was not allowed to visit the cinema or watch television; he found his escape in books, mainly juvenile adventures borrowed from the local library. In the late 1960s, he studied philosophy at University College, London, where he began to question the religion of his upbringing, and, like many of his generation, became interested in politics. Following graduation, Follett joined a graduate training scheme with Thompson Regional Newspapers and worked on the South Wales Echo and later the Evening News in London. Never entirely satisfied with the career of journalist, Ken Follett began to write novels. He commenced with the Big trilogy, written under the name of Simon Myles. The Big Needle and The Big Black (both 1974), and The Big Hit (1975) all featured the character of Apples; however, Follett has dismissed them as “trashy and full of gratuitous sex and violence.” These were followed by The Shakeout (1975) and The Bear Raid (1976), two novels featuring the industrial superspy Piers Roper and written using the name of Ken Follett. The quality improved with The Modigliani Scandal (1976) and Paper Money (1977), two thrillers written under the name of Zachary Stone. During this period, he became deputy managing director of the small London publisher Everest Books. Follett’s breakthrough came with Eye of the Needle (originally published as Storm Island in Great Britain, 1978), a story of German espionage in Britain during World War II, which attracted good notices and huge sales, and finally allowed the author to proceed using his own name. The Key to Rebecca (1980), Jackdaws (2001), and Hornet


FORBES, BRYAN (1926–2013)

Flight (2002) are further wartime espionage stories, dealing with the Rommel campaign in North Africa, an all-female operation in France preceding the Allied invasion of Europe, and a mission to get secret information out of occupied Denmark. Other popular thrillers with an espionage angle have included Triple (1979), about the Israelis stealing uranium to make their own nuclear bomb; Lie Down with Lions (1986), a romantic drama set during the Afghan War; and Code to Zero (2000), with a background of the intense rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union during the space race of the late 1950s. Follett is perhaps best known for his historical fiction. The Man from St. Petersburg (1982) deals with anarchists, terrorism, and international diplomacy on the eve of World War I; Night over Water (1991) is a suspense story set on a luxurious airplane on the eve of World War II; and A Dangerous Fortune (1993) is a murder mystery set in the world of banking in Victorian Britain. One of Follett’s most successful books is The Pillars of the Earth (1989), an epic saga set against the construction of a medieval cathedral, and the loose sequel World without End followed in 2010. Most recently, Follett has been occupied with his Century trilogy of historical novels dealing with interrelated American and European families through the sweep of the 20th century, Fall of Giants (2010), Winter of the World (2012), and Edge of Eternity (2014). Ken Follett’s thrillers are widely regarded as formula stories of traditional heroics, swift-paced action, compelling suspense, patriotism, sex, and violence. They are distinguished by impressive descriptive detail and well-researched historical backgrounds, including the occasional appearance of an actual personage such as Winston Churchill, Field Marshal Rommel, President Sadat, Chairman Andropov, and Emily Pankhurst. Versatility and craftsmanship are the hallmarks of Follett’s writing career, and his popularity seems set to continue in the years to come. Many of Follett’s novels have been best sellers, making him one of the most popular authors of recent times. He has sold in excess of 130 million copies of his books. In 2013, he received the Grand Master Award of the Mystery Writers of America. Ken Follett has been an active supporter of the Labour Party in Britain and a committed promoter of literacy. See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II. FORBES, BRYAN (1926–2013). Filmmaker and novelist. Forbes, born John Theobald (Nobby) Clarke in Stratford, London, attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art but did not complete his studies; he served mainly in the Combined Forces Entertainment Unit during World War II. He established himself as a dependable supporting actor in British films from the late 1940s and as an accomplished screenwriter in the 1950s, and this included screenplays for the war pictures The Cockleshell Heroes (1955), I Was Mon-



ty’s Double, and Danger Within (1959), films which dealt with a secret mission behind enemy lines, a wartime deception operation, and the exposure of a German spy in an Allied prisoner of war camp. In the 1960s, Forbes became a leading filmmaker in British cinema, directing Whistle Down the Wind (1961), The L-Shaped Room (1961), Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964), King Rat (U.S., 1965), the comedy The Wrong Box (1966), The Whisperers (1967), and directed Katharine Hepburn in The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969). His status was such that he was appointed executive in charge of production at Associated-British (EMI); however, his only major successes were The Railway Children and The Go-Between (both 1970), and he resigned in 1971. Forbes’s better films in the 1970s included The Raging Moon (1971), a romance unusually played across two disabled lovers featuring Malcolm McDowell and Nanette Newman, and The Stepford Wives (U.S., 1975), a science fiction thriller that has come to cult status. His last screen credit was for coscripting Chaplin (1992), directed by his old friend and colleague Richard Attenborough. Forbes experienced a flirtation with Military Intelligence during World War II. Although something was later made of this when he became a successful writer of espionage novels, it seems to have consisted of little more than a spell in a Field Security Unit attached to the Intelligence Corps, a period Forbes later described as “devoid of interest.” If hardly writing from personal experience, Forbes did go on to author a series of well-received spy novels, beginning with Familiar Strangers (1979), a tale of deceit and betrayal in the world of British espionage, which narrowly anticipated the scandal following the exposure of the traitor Anthony Blunt late in 1979. The Endless Game (1986), A Song at Twilight (1989), and Quicksand (1996) are a trilogy of stories featuring the middle-aged British agent Alec Hillsden who discovers and attempts to expose the widespread Soviet infiltration of British Intelligence and politics. In the first of these novels, Forbes gives Hillsden a similar background in wartime Field Security. Forbes, who was long married to the actress Nanette Newman, published two volumes of biography. He was made CBE in 2004, and, having won once and been nominated a further five times for a British Film Academy Award, Forbes received a special award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2007, “For a career of outstanding achievement in film-making.” He also received its highest honor, a Fellowship, in 2012. FORSYTH, FREDERICK (1938– ). Novelist. Frederick Forsyth was born in Ashford, Kent, where his parents owned a shop selling fur coats. He studied at Tonbridge School, where he showed an exceptional ability as a linguist and would eventually be competent in five foreign languages. The young man had a yearning for adventure, which manifested itself in a desire to engage in a bull fight while engaged on a brief course of study at Granada



University in southern Spain, and in learning to fly when only 16 years of age. His military service was gained in the Royal Air Force (RAF), where he obtained his wings at the age of 19, becoming the youngest pilot in the RAF. Wishing to travel, he pursued a career in journalism, commencing at the Eastern Daily Press, but he soon landed a post at Reuters in London. Stints at the agency’s offices in Paris and East Berlin followed. Forsyth then joined the BBC, initially as a radio journalist, but he later graduated to television. In July 1967, he was sent out to Nigeria to cover the tragedy in Biafra, a great humanitarian issue of the day. His controversial stance on the conflict, captured in his published account The Biafra Story (1969), meant he parted company from the BBC and the Fleet Street press; with few other prospects, on 1 January 1970, he started work on his first novel. Forsyth’s main contribution as an author has been to the thriller generally. He used the experiences gained as a journalist to construct detailed, authentic-seeming, and fast-moving narratives that proved highly commercial. The Day of the Jackal (1971) was written in 35 days, dealt with a meticulously planned assassination attempt on the French president Charles de Gaulle in 1963, and derived from Forsyth’s time in Paris in the early 1960s. The Odessa File (1972) was written in 25 days, dealt with a young German reporter’s infiltration of a secret Nazi organization, and derived from the author’s experience in Berlin in the mid-1960s. The Dogs of War (1974) took longer to research and write, dealt with a group of mercenaries recruited to depose the leader of an African state, and derived from the writer’s period in Biafra. It was another best seller. The style of these novels—well researched, fast paced, and realistic—has come to be termed “documentary thriller,” which was influential on popular literature in the 1970s and authors such as Gerald Seymour. Forsyth maintains that his approach is largely that of a journalist and refers to excellent advice he was given as a budding reporter: “Get the facts right,” and “Tell it the way it was.” Other popular thrillers have included The Devil’s Alternative (1979), The Negotiator (1989), The Fist of God (1994), and, most recently, The Kill List (2013). In a dismissive aside, Forsyth has referred to his books as “pool-side literature.” The Fourth Protocol (1984) is Forsyth’s main contribution to spy fiction, dealing with a Soviet plot to wreck Anglo-American relations, destabilize the country, and create the conditions for an extreme left-wing government. While not highly regarded by literary critics, Forsyth is appreciated for his professionalism in researching the novels and for his technical knowledge. His stories are seen to promote the attitudes and values of the professional. Jackal, Odessa, Dogs of War, and Fourth Protocol have been made into major studio films, the latter with Forsyth as an executive producer.



In 2012, Forsyth was awarded the Cartier Diamond Dagger by the Crime Writers’ Association of Great Britain and was awarded a CBE in 1997. He has long been a high-profile supporter of the Conservative Party and a Euroskeptic. THE FOURTH PROTOCOL. Novel and motion picture. The Fourth Protocol is a popular spy thriller by the best-selling author Frederick Forsyth and first published in 1984. It is suggested in the novel that the Nuclear NonProliferation Treaty of 1968, signed by the United States, Great Britain, and Russia, contained four secret protocols, the fourth of these prohibiting the non-conventional delivery of nuclear weapons. The story then proceeds to dramatize a Soviet attempt to assemble for detonation a small nuclear device near a United States Army Air Forces base in eastern England in contravention of the Treaty. The breathless and thrilling action, set in the near future of 1986–87, rapidly cross-cuts between, first, the hatching of a most secret plan, codenamed Aurora, by the general secretary of the Communist Party in Moscow with the help of the British defector Kim Philby; second, the middle-aged British security officer John Preston of MI5, who chances across some of the components of the device being smuggled into Britain and commences, in contravention of the orders of a disbelieving senior officer, an unofficial inquiry; third, the KGB agent Valeri Petrofsky, who diligently assembles the bomb in East Anglia; and fourth, General Karpov, the director of operations for the KGB in Russia, who begins to suspect a plot and commences to piece together Plan Aurora. Preston’s painstaking investigation eventually leads him to Petrofsky on the periphery of RAF Bentwaters, and the Russian is killed seconds before he can detonate the device. In a surprise revelation, we learn that Sir Nigel Irving, chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, has colluded with General Karpov to sabotage the insane Plan Aurora and that Preston was unknowingly fed intelligence from Russia, which put him on the trail of Petrofsky. Plan Aurora is a reaction to the disturbing trend of glasnost and aimed at the expulsion of the U.S. Air Force from Great Britain, the intended nuclear explosion being blamed on the irresponsibility of the Americans, the consequent withdrawal from and repudiation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by Britain, the probable election of a Labour government committed to unilateral nuclear disarmament, and the hoped-for “capture” of this administration by a “hard left” committed to Marxist-Leninist principles and a “Manifesto for a British Revolution.” The novel was criticized in the Guardian for its right-wing posturing and failure to rise above the “excitements of a boys’ yarn.” An earlier novel that dealt with the prospect of a Soviet plot to reduce Britain to chaos through industrial action and subversive politics was The Special Collection (1975) by Ted Allbeury.



The film version of The Fourth Protocol released in 1987 from a screenplay by Forsyth was a substantial late entry to the cycle of spy thrillers in the British cinema. The picture reduces the book’s explicit political angle and stresses the exciting investigation, concentrating, as Forsyth put it, on “two men and a bomb.” The movie was released with the tagline “If the Fourth Protocol is ever breached, there would be no warning, just a nuclear explosion from a bedsitter . . . The unthinkable has just begun”; it starred Michael Caine as Preston and Pierce Brosnan as Petrofsky, and was made with considerable technical polish. The story concentrated on the action that was supposed to achieve the political coup, the explosion of a small nuclear device on an American air base in Britain, which would lead to a forced withdrawal of the U.S. military from Britain and deliver a death blow to the Western military alliance. The liberal critics found the picture tame, oldfashioned, and naive: “like spending two hours in a time-warp,” according to Derek Malcolm at the Guardian, while credibility remained “just this side of preposterous” for Martin Auty at Monthly Film Bulletin. Philip French criticized a lack of “psychological depth, political insight, and historical perspective,” believing the outcome closer to the recent James Bond extravaganza Octopussy (1983) than the thought-provoking John le Carré. While a tense spy thriller, The Fourth Protocol represents at least a response to the changing international climate. The film ends with the sensible and realistic Karpov in alliance with Britain’s chief of MI6 and the sense of a new day dawning; although Preston, forever the cynical individualist, sees no fundamental change in “the game,” just a rearrangement of pieces with the elite still occupying the important positions, and wanders off to spend more time with his son. FOYLE’S WAR. Television drama series. Foyle’s War (2002–15) is a popular historical detective series set in the area around the historic town of Hastings during World War II and broadcast on commercial television. Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) tackles a variety of serious wartime crimes, across six seasons of the show and spanning the period of the war. He confronts such misdeeds as murder, sabotage, profiteering, the black market, art theft, fraud, fifth columnists, Nazi sympathizers, and racial problems at a U.S. army base. Foyle often comes up against high-ranking officials in Military and British Intelligence who would prefer that he mind his own business, but he is tenacious in seeking justice. The episodes “The French Drop,” “Bad Blood,” and “The Russian House” draw Foyle into specific aspects of the secret war. The popular series was unexpectedly dropped after season 5 by the commercial television network and hastily brought to an end in 2008. Angry response from loyal viewers saw the series resurrected in 2010 and more wartime cases for Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle.



Season 7, broadcast in 2013, is set in the months of July to September 1946 and the recently retired Chief Superintendent Foyle is pressured into relocating to London and joining MI5, where he is to help tackle the new, terrifying implications of the Cold War. In “The Eternity Ring,” Foyle deals with atom bomb spies; in “The Cage,” he is drawn into the sinister workings of a secret military establishment; and in “Sunflower,” the security officer investigates a former Nazi now serving the Western alliance. The review in the Guardian found the new series “a lot of fun, gripping without taking itself too seriously—the cold war with a twinkle. And the Big Upheaval—of place, time, enemy, employer—isn’t just pulled off, it actually breathes new life into Foyle’s War.” The recent eighth and allegedly final season, broadcast in January 2015, features Foyle in three further cases with MI5. “High Castle” involves dark secrets from the middle period of the war, “Trespass” deals with the conflicts and complications surrounding the future of Palestine, and “Elise” has Foyle investigating a wartime traitor who gave away agents to the Nazis. See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II. FREE AGENT. Novel. Free Agent is the debut novel of former journalist Jeremy Duns, published in 2009, and it is the first installment of a trilogy completed by Free Country (2010) and The Moscow Option (2012). It introduces the senior MI6 agent Paul Dark, the son of a legendary wartime intelligence officer. A backstory has Dark serving with his father on a clandestine mission in summer 1945 to eliminate Nazi war criminals who might escape justice. However, Dark painfully learns that the operation was actually targeting Soviet agents, although technically it was still a time of alliance with Russia. Feeling betrayed, he joins the communists as a double agent. In the present of 1969, Dark is under threat from the accusations of a would-be defector. Against orders, he travels to Nigeria in the vague hope of protecting himself from the prospective defector. He is followed by Pritchard, head of the African Section, who was also involved in the unauthorized mission of 1945 and whose interest is served by confirming Dark as the traitor. There follows a series of adventures set against the backdrop of the civil war in Nigeria. Dark is captured by government forces, later by rebel forces, and finally contracts a tropical disease. In the process, he prevents a KGB plot to assassinate Prime Minister Harold Wilson who is visiting the country on a peace mission. Back in London, Dark faces exposure, but finally aware that the plot to assassinate Wilson resided in the higher echelons of the Intelligence Service, he is silenced with promotion to deputy chief of MI6. Free Agent prides itself on its careful historical research. Duns appends an author’s note to the story, claiming that “the background to this novel is real.” He goes on to sketch out the relevant historical record and his sources regarding British operations against war criminals in postwar Germany, the



“atmosphere” in the Secret Intelligence Service in the latter part of the 1960s, the civil war in Nigeria, the plot against Wilson, and other factual matters relating to a story that is peppered with historical allusions and details; it bears some similarity with the Volkov affair, which had an anxious Kim Philby scuttling off to Istanbul in 1945 to ensure that a Soviet defector was silenced before he could expose the British traitor. Duns uses an actual historical document in his narrative, which relates to Wilson’s visit to Nigeria at the time and sourced from the National Archives, and also adds a bibliography of secondary historical sources, both of which provide the novel with a certain scholarly authority. It could be claimed, though, that the effect of historical veracity is sometimes lost to the overwhelming drive of a pageturning thriller. The review in the Guardian was content, however, that a “deep knowledge of espionage and classic spy novels informs this excellent début”, while according to Publisher’s Weekly, “Duns’s terrific début will draw inevitable comparisons to early John le Carré,” but concedes that “the lead character, turncoat British Secret Service agent Paul Dark, is a complete original. . . . Seldom has a thriller plot taken more unseen turns as Paul searches for the truth about his past and the reality of his present.” In its themes of familial and national betrayal, and wartime and Cold War settings, the novel bears some comparison with Alan Judd’s Legacy (2002). See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. THE FREEDOM TRAP. Novel and motion picture. The Freedom Trap is an intelligent spy story first published in 1971 and written by the best-selling thriller writer Desmond Bagley. Mackintosh of State Security hatches a plan in which Owen Stannard, a British agent, poses as Joseph Rearden, a South African thief who is sentenced and jailed for his part in a staged jewel robbery. The operation aims to identify the mastermind behind the Scarperers, a criminal gang that breaks out long-term prisoners. Rearden escapes with Slade, a notorious British traitor and Soviet double agent, and must prevent Slade making it to Russia. Stannard’s cover is blown in Ireland, where he is being kept in a safe house. He breaks free, is joined by Mrs. Smith—in fact Alison Mackintosh, the daughter of the section chief—and their suspicion falls on Sir George Wheeler, a seemingly staunchly patriotic politician whose yacht Artina is anchored off the coast. Stannard and Smith follow the Artina, first to Gibraltar and then Malta, where Rearden rams the yacht, ignites the fuel tank, and blows up Wheeler and Slade before they can make for Eastern Europe. For a while, the unfortunate Stannard faces a tricky situation as the operation was unconventional and unofficial, and he has broken the law on several counts. It is therefore decided to announce his “death” along with Wheeler and Slade, and he disappears to North Africa with Mrs. Smith.



The novel is set up as a crime story involving a jewel heist. It therefore comes as a surprise when “Rearden” some way into the narrative is revealed as a “sleeper” agent of British Intelligence in South Africa with former field experience in the Far East and has been recalled to Great Britain for an operation; additionally, it is curious in a first-person account that the narrator Rearden/Stannard has clearly held a lot back from the reader. The villain Wheeler is revealed as a former Albanian, a Moaist, who is planning to double-cross the Soviets and deliver the unwitting Slade to the Chinese. The business of the Scarperers and the break out of Slade is clearly inspired by the spectacular escape of double agent George Blake from Wormwood Scrubs Prison in 1966, and the story describes Slade as “the biggest catch since Blake.” Common for the modern spy thriller, The Freedom Trap makes mention of real spies and secret agents, in its case Gordon Lonsdale and the aforementioned George Blake, and the sense of contemporary history is maintained in having the Irish Republican Army use the Scarperers to finance its terrorism. Slade had made his appearance as a Soviet mole within British Intelligence in the author’s previous spy novel Running Blind (1970). The novel was filmed in Europe in 1973 as The Mackintosh Man, distributed by Warner Bros., directed by John Huston, and released with the tagline “Only Mackintosh can save them now—and Mackintosh is dead!” It is a fairly close adaptation of the book, but alters the ending, which now has Mrs. Smith (Dominique Sanda) held captive by Wheeler (James Mason), and Rearden/Stannard (Paul Newman), in a scene played out in a church, spares the lives of Wheeler and Slade (Ian Bannen) in exchange for Smith. However, Smith turns the table on her captors and shoots them dead in revenge for her father, whom the villains have killed in a hit-and-run accident, and in a downbeat ending walks bitterly away from Rearden/Stannard. The film is made with considerable expertise and thoughtfulness. The presentation is downbeat, the color palette deliberately muted in the expert cinematography of Oswald Morris, the dominant colors being browns and grays, and the mise-en-scène is kept ordinary, even unattractive. The picture’s serious approach and engagement with the ethics of espionage and the reasons that can lead intelligent men like Slade and Wheeler to treason make it fit for consideration as an espionage story; however, the presentation is characterized by adventure as Rearden is rapidly taken through the stages of violent robbery, arrest, incarceration in prison, and exciting breakout, before things settle, essentially, into a thrilling man-on-the-run drama. At this point, The Mackintosh Man owes a debt to John Buchan and Alfred Hitchcock and the traditions of the classic spy adventure, involving as it does a “double chase,” wherein the fugitive is wanted by both the police and the enemy agents and, consequently, has only his own resources and a woman in tow to pull himself out of the mess and confront the conspiracy. Monthly Film Bulletin made a



flattering comparison with Graham Greene, finding the film a “highly professional” production, from a “film-maker obsessed by the quirks and hazards of an enclosed, underground world where everyone seems to be playing a double game.” The general view, though, was that this was Huston at less than his best, and that the picture failed, according to the review in the Observer “to achieve that cold-hearted relish which gives even lesser Hitchcock its compulsive hold on an audience.” John Huston had recently filmed The Kremlin Letter (1970), a Hollywood spy film based on the novel by Noel Behn. See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. FREEMANTLE, BRIAN (1936– ). Novelist. Freemantle was born in Southampton and was raised with only a modest education. He worked initially in the provincial press but graduated to London’s Fleet Street in the late 1950s, where he worked on four national newspapers, principally in regards of foreign news, and rose to the position of foreign editor of the Daily Mail in 1975. Freemantle became a full-time author in 1975. By his own account, he had written 16 novels in manuscript form during his travels as a journalist, before his first novel, Goodbye to an Old Friend, was published in 1973. His stories cover the main themes of espionage fiction as it was being written in the 1970s and 1980s. Goodbye to an Old Friend deals with a Russian defector and possible treachery in British counterintelligence; The Man Who Wanted Tomorrow (1975) deals with the legacy of Nazism in Europe; The Kremlin Kiss (1984) sees British and U.S. Intelligence compete for a high-level Soviet defector; and Betrayals (1989) is steeped in contemporary Arab terrorism. Freemantle was a popular and respected genre specialist with the thrillers he published in the period. He is best known, though, for the stories featuring the unconventional agent Charlie Muffin. The series commenced with the eponymous Charlie Muffin (1977) and runs through a further 16 titles up to the recent Red Star Falling (2013). Freemantle has enjoyed an interesting and exciting life and career. He has visited over 30 countries as a foreign correspondent, and this vast and varied experience has figured in his fiction. For a time, Freemantle was a persona non grata in Soviet Russia, chiefly for his undercover reporting of the Prague Spring from Czechoslovakia in 1968. It has also been suggested that an anxious Soviet Intelligence stole a pre-publication copy of his factual account KGB (1982). Freemantle has claimed that he was twice approached to become a spy, by the Polish and the Hungarian Secret Services that wanted him to serve as an “agent of influence,” the aim being that of “blackmailing him into writing pro-communist articles after entrapping him, with substantial cash payments, for providing innocuous articles for Warsaw and Budapest publications.”And even a murder contract was taken out on the author following his exposé of the drugs trade in the nonfiction The Fix



(1986). Freemantle published two Sherlock Holmes pastiches with an espionage dimension, The Holmes Inheritance (2003) and The Holmes Factor (2005); thrillers under the names of Jack Winchester, Jonathan Evans, Andrea Hart, and Harry Asher; and several works of nonfiction, including wellreceived overviews of the Russian KGB and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (for example, CIA, 1984). FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. Novel and motion picture. From Russia with Love, first published in 1957, was the fifth James Bond novel of Ian Fleming, and the second James Bond film produced at Eon Productions and released in 1963. In the story, the secret agent is lured to Istanbul with the prospect of acquiring a Spektor, the latest Soviet coding machine. A beautiful young Russian cipher clerk, Tatiana Romanova, will provide the Spektor if Bond will take her to England. In fact, there is an intricate conspiracy to murder Bond and discredit British Intelligence, hatched within SMERSH, the Soviet organ for terrorism and assassination. Returning west onboard the Orient Express, Bond is overpowered by Red Grant, a defector from the British Army of the Rhine and chief executioner at SMERSH. He is detailed to kill Bond and Romanova but to make it look like Bond has shot the girl and then taken his own life. With the aid of a compromising film recording the lovemaking of the British agent and the Russian cipher clerk, the Soviets intend to create a scandal and weaken the reputation of the British Secret Service. In a tense confrontation, Bond is able to turn the tables on Grant and kill him, and he makes it to France with Romanova. In a final surprise cliffhanger, Bond survives a murderous attack in a Paris hotel room from Rosa Klebb, a senior officer of SMERSH. While she is given over to the custody of French Intelligence, it is not before she has kicked out at Bond, in the process injecting him with deadly poison. In an author’s note appended to the novel, Fleming claims that the detail he provides about SMERSH is accurate. Indeed, From Russia with Love is one of the author’s most historically conscious novels; there are several references to real-life espionage agents such as the Russian defectors Gouzenko and Petrov, the legendary Soviet agent Sorge, the atom scientist traitor Klaus Fuchs, and the treacherous diplomats Burgess and Maclean. The novel sketches in considerable detail the formulation of the Soviet plot, and James Bond does not appear until a third of the way into the story. James Chapman judges From Russia with Love “one of Fleming’s strongest stories, a richly detailed and tightly plotted narrative of intrigue and suspense.” The novel, famously, was a favorite of President Kennedy. One of the most commented on parts of the narrative is the Soviet Intelligence’s assessment of the British Secret Service and its selection as the target of the operation. The Secret Intelligence Service is viewed as respected; the agents thought good and devoted, despite little reward and few privileges;



and the British are felt to play the game well. The Public School and Oxbridge tradition are seen to underpin the British sense of duty and the national love of adventure. What is usually passed over in this passage, though, is the qualifying observation that the widely felt superiority of British Intelligence is a myth. The operation is planned to destroy that myth and reduce the British Secret Service to a more credible foe. Fleming is being shrewder here than he is usually given credit. After all, British spy fiction is a main reason for any myth of invincibility, and James Bond has done most to suggest the perfection of British Intelligence. It is instructive in this sense that From Russia with Love observes a degree of literary self-consciousness, in that Bond takes with him on the operation The Mask of Dimitrios (1939), Eric Ambler’s classic espionage novel in which an Englishman travels to Istanbul and becomes involved in a mystery. Indeed, Jeremy Black called From Russia with Love “a homage to the Levantine espionage of Eric Ambler.” The story is also in parts cynical, Bond declaring his role of seducing Romanova and bringing her back to Great Britain as “Pimping for England.” Elsewhere, the agent, observing his reflection in a mirror, sees a man “tarnished with years of treachery and ruthlessness and fear,” and such passages tend to undermine the overly “romantic” view which is often leveled on the stories. The film version of From Russia with Love followed the successful launch of the James Bond film series with Dr. No in 1962. With a budget of $2 million, double that of its predecessor, From Russia with Love was fanfared with the tagline “JAMES BOND IS BACK! His new incredible women! His new incredible enemies! His new incredible adventures!” The movie, scripted by Richard Maibaum and directed by Terence Young, established the formula for Bond pictures in the decades to come. First up is a thrilling and teasing pre-credit sequence, here showing a SMERSH training camp and an exercise in which the executioner Red Grant (Robert Shaw) apparently kills James Bond (Sean Connery). The title sequence, designed by Robert Brownjohn, is an optical feast of teasing erotic details of belly dancers with the credits superimposed or shone onto the vibrating female bodies. The titles are backed by the impressive and involving music of John Barry, and From Russia with Love introduces a title song to the series, sung by Matt Monro, which plays over the end titles, but in later Bond pictures, the title song features over the opening titles. The film also racks up the physical action, adding a thrilling attack by helicopter and an explosive chase by motorboat to the original story. Producer Cubby Broccoli later agreed that in important respects it was with From Russia with Love “that the Bond formula and style were perfected.” From Russia with Love features some of Fleming’s most intriguing characters, and these are successfully made flesh in the film: the brilliant mastermind and chess champion Kronsteen (Vladek Sheybal), who plans for the discredit of the British Secret Service; the vile lesbian Rosa Klebb (Lotte



Lenya), murderous chief of Otdyel II (the department of operations and executions within SMERSH); and the likeable and life-loving Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendariz) of Station T in Istanbul, who provides able support for the British agent in the unfamiliar world of the near orient. While the psychotic Red Grant, whose murder-lust is governed by the cycle of the moon, is the preeminent antagonist of James Bond in the whole series, more credible than the master villains who tend to hold the stage in the other stories. The movie From Russia with Love changed a few things from the novel. SMERSH was dropped in favor of the non-aligned SPECTRE, a criminal conspiracy staffed by some defectors from SMERSH such as Klebb. The film retains a high regard within the fan culture of James Bond, many feeling that it performs more conventionally as a spy story and retains a realistic quality eschewed by the subsequent pictures. FUNERAL IN BERLIN. Novel and motion picture. Funeral in Berlin is the third spy novel of Len Deighton and was first published in 1964. The complex story concerning the defection of a top Soviet scientist is narrated by the nameless protagonist who served as the author’s series character in this period and occupies a little over a month in an unspecified autumn. The story, told from the first person, provides a highly restricted narrative, and the pleasure for the reader lies in the knowledge that our secret agent undoubtedly knows what’s going on and is one step ahead of the game even if we are pretty much kept in the dark until the end. A handful of chapters are presented in a more neutral third-person narrative to provide sketches of important characters. The action swings back and forth between London and Berlin, and briefly takes in the south of France and Prague, and our hero has to deal with double-crossing agents of various colors and allegiances. Colonel Stok of the KGB promises to deliver the nerve gas specialist for money; Hallam is the fey civil servant at the Home Office who will take receipt of the scientist; the charismatic Johnny Vulkan is the self-serving go-between in Berlin, a man with a dark past; and Samantha Steel is the sexy pick-up who has more than a passing interest in our hero. The plot hinges on the documents requested for the defecting scientist, seemingly innocuous identity papers in the name of Paul Louis Broum. Our suspicious hero digs into the past and discovers the real Broum worked for the Nazis in France, was exposed as a rich Jew and sent to a concentration camp, and that there he bribed a medical officer to help him assume the identity of a German guard, Johnny Vulkan. The new Vulkan now wants his identity back so that he can acquire his fortune deposited in a Swiss bank before it can be reappropriated by the authorities following new legislation. The game of bluff and double bluff ends with the devious Stok doublecrossing the British, having used the ruse of the defecting scientist to identify key members of West German Intelligence and eliminate them; with Saman-



tha Steel’s failure on behalf of Israeli Intelligence in acquiring the scientist to counter Egypt’s development of biological weapons; and with our hero pinpointing and killing Hallam as a corrupt civil servant who had connived with Vulkan to acquire the $2 million. Funeral in Berlin incorporates the stylistic flourishes typical of Deighton’s novels in this early period. Chapters are headed by comments on chess moves and strategy, offering a vague commentary on the succeeding narrative; the odd footnote provides additional information; a section of six appendixes provides “factual” information on such topics as “poisonous insecticides,” “Soviet security systems,” and “The Official Secrets Act 1911,” which are raised in the story; and a playful self-reflection has a character comment on a cookery article in the Observer, items Deighton actually contributed himself. Deighton first visited the Eastern Bloc in the early 1960s, shortly after the appearance of the Wall, and he later admitted that he became “obsessed” with Berlin, which became a “second home” to him and stood as the perfect symbol of a “divided world.” Funeral in Berlin was Deighton’s most successful book, winning praise in the New York Times and Life magazine, and spending six months on the New York best-seller list. Funeral in Berlin, starring Michael Caine, was the second film of the Harry Palmer movie trilogy of the 1960s; it was produced by Harry Salzman for release by Paramount Pictures and directed by Guy Hamilton. The simplified version of the tale, in a script by Evan Jones, rearranges the story elements so that the essential business of the original novel unfolds in Berlin, with Colonel Stok (Oscar Homolka) being the claimant for defection, a criminal gang specializing in ferrying East Germans to the West being his actual target, and a more developed role for Samantha Steel (Eva Renzi) as the Israeli agent who desires the Broum papers to claim the hidden wealth for Zion. To keep continuity with the first film adaptation of the Deighton stories, The Ipcress File (1965), Funeral in Berlin has Palmer still working for Colonel Ross at the War Office rather than Dawlish at W.O.O.C.(P). as it is in the novel. The picture benefits from extensive location shooting in both East and West Berlin. However, some reviewers found the picture flat after the stylistic excitements of The Ipcress File, and Hamilton’s direction “plodding” compared to Furie’s “undisciplined extravagance” on the previous film. The opening sequence at least belies this criticism, where a montage of a vibrant, colorful, and lively West Berlin is abruptly replaced by the dull, gray, and oppressive surroundings of the Eastern districts of the divided city. The picture was released with the humorous tagline “It was going to be a lovely funeral. Harry Palmer just hoped it wouldn’t be his.” The final Harry Palmer spy picture was Billion Dollar Brain (1967), a critical and commercial disappointment, and announcements to film Horse under Water (1963), the second of Len Deighton’s novels to feature the nameless secret agent, came to nothing.

G GAINHAM, SARAH (1915–1999). Novelist. Rachel Terry-Ames used the pen name of Sarah Gainham for a series of novels published between the 1950s and 1980s. The best known of these is Night Falls on the City, an acclaimed best seller of 1967 set among theater people in Vienna, Austria, during the Nazi period. Gainham was initially a journalist, writing for the Economist and Atlantic Monthly, while at the Spectator she served as Central and Eastern European correspondent, which provided her with many insights for her fiction. Gainham lived in Vienna from 1947, initially working with the Four Power Commission, later residing in Berlin, Bonn, and Trieste, and many of her stories are set in continental Europe. Her early novels were spy thrillers, each characterized by its setting in a central European capital city or in Eastern Europe: Time Right Deadly (1956) and The Mythmaker (1957) in Vienna, The Cold Dark Night (1957) in Berlin, The Stone Roses (1959) in Prague, and The Silent Hostage (1960) in Yugoslavia. The stories largely deal with the tensions and intrigues of the early Cold War, something that Gainham knew much about. The Cold Dark Night centers on a Four Power conference in Berlin in 1954 and concentrates on the shady, low-grade agents who shuttle between east and west of the city; The Mythmaker deals with Kit Quest, a young English officer who is dispatched on a mission to Austria to trace Otto Berger, Hitler’s former personal servant; The Stone Roses is set in Czechoslovakia in 1948 shortly after the Communist Party coup d’état, and features a journalist who is sent to the country to cover the controversial elections. Critics Myron Smith and Terry White judged Gainham “one of the three or four most important female practitioners of the modern spy thriller.” Gainham’s suspense stories were valued for their authenticity; the author once asserted: “All the best spy thrillers whose origins are known seem to be based on reality. Certainly my own stories were: they are not really fiction at all, only written as fiction.” Her husband, the investigative journalist Antony Terry, was hired to the Sunday Times by Ian Fleming, and there are claims that he served an intelligence role for MI6. Apparently, Gainham researched a document—commissioned by Fleming—titled “East-West Routes for Agents,” on how to gain access to West Berlin from East. She is reported as 169



saying, “Certainly I did have links with intelligence,” adding, “what do you think Antony has been doing all these years?” When she moved to Austria, Gainham’s attitude toward the Soviets hardened. “I had a special feeling for using the thriller as a vehicle for ideas, or rather propaganda . . . I always used them as anti-Russian propaganda,” she once stressed. An obituary recorded that “fellow journalists especially savoured her reports of the early days in Berlin before the death of Stalin and well before the wall went up, when the espionage and propaganda battle with the communist dictatorships was in full swing. She was in her element, knew all the main players, and was well connected with the murky world of espionage and counterespionage. A lot of this experience found its way into her novels.” Gainham was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1984. GAME, SET AND MATCH. Novel trilogy and television drama serial. Berlin Game (1983), Mexico Set (1984), and London Match (1985) comprise an ambitious espionage saga by Len Deighton. With these stories, the author returned to the espionage story after an absence of seven years and introduced a new series character in Bernard Samson, a former successful field agent in Germany and now a middle-ranking desk officer with the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in London. Samson is a typical Deighton outsider in the Service: he was born and grew up in occupied Berlin; his father was a self-made man who became something in Military Intelligence; the young Samson did not go to university; and he has married into a well-to-do family, his wife Fiona also working as a senior operative in SIS. The long three-part story of treachery and betrayal involves Samson in a complex “game” of intrigue played across the cities of London, Mexico City, and Berlin. In Berlin Game, Samson has to confront the fact that Fiona has been the suspected double agent in London. In Mexico Set, Samson is sent to Mexico City to assess an important major of the KGB, Erich Stinnes, the officer who had arrested him in East Berlin in the previous story. London wants Stinnes “enrolled” for defection and Samson is assigned to the tricky task of getting him, even though Stinnes could be part of a plot to ensnare Samson. In London Match, the debriefing of Stinnes suggests a further mole in London Central; circumstantial evidence points to the Anglo-American Bret Rensselaer, a senior official in SIS and in charge of the interrogation. At great personal and professional risk, Samson demonstrates that Stinnes has been a plant all along, part of a long-term plan of Fiona’s aimed at discrediting Rensselaer and Samson and destabilizing SIS. Great embarrassment at London Central ensures that the fiasco will largely be buried, and Samson can expect little credit from his insights and risk taking.



With the Game, Set and Match trilogy, Deighton intended to explore the theme of domestic and professional betrayal at length. He had initially planned to start the story following the initial betrayal by Fiona, at what is now the beginning of Mexico Set, but, sensing the need for more description of the betrayer, he ended up with the novel Berlin Game. Deighton wanted the narration to be highly subjective and wrote the series in his characteristic first-person style. Accordingly, he warned readers not to take the narrator’s words too literally: “Bernard isn’t the awesome genius that he would have us think” and “We’ll never know exactly what happened that year, and Bernard’s story is as near the truth as we can hope to get.” The Samson saga is, though, written in a more detached style than the author’s previous spy novels and eschews the deliberate hard-boiled style of The Ipcress File (1962) and Funeral in Berlin (1964) that fixes those stories to an earlier period. Deighton is a meticulous planner of his books and required a wall chart to plot the complexity of his three novels. The multibook format allowed him to take his characters into lives “that, while being so weird and wonderful, are burdened with the domestic everyday events that we all endure.” He was erecting “a boardroom drama,” as he pithily put it, “in which the consequence of being ‘outvoted’ was not losing a job, but losing your life.” Deighton drew on many sources within the intelligence community for his details, delighting in being able to “test the boundaries of secrecy” and “use material . . . by those who were gagged by over-assertive officialdom.” Two more trilogies furthering the story of Bernard Samson appeared: the Hook, Line and Sinker trilogy with Spy Hook (1988), Spy Line (1989), and Spy Sinker (1990); and Faith (1994), Hope (1995), and Charity (1996). The historical novel Winter (1987) gives the backstory for some of the characters in the Game, Set and Match trilogy. The television drama Game, Set and Match was produced at the independent Granada Television in 1988. The 13-part serial was a major undertaking and partly a response to the BBC’s success in adapting John le Carré with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979), Smiley’s People (1982), and The Perfect Spy (1986). The production was a mammoth undertaking; the publicity claimed a £5 million budget; 42,000 miles traveled for location shooting in London, Berlin, and Mexico; a shoot lasting 300 days and requiring two directors; and backgrounds requiring 3,000 extras. Denied permission to shoot behind the Iron Curtain, English locations in Bolton and Manchester doubled convincingly for East Berlin. The subjective approach of the novels is translated on screen through having Bernard Samson (Ian Holm) feature in all but four of the drama’s 664 scenes and through a voice-over technique that allows access to his thoughts and anxieties. Critical response to the serial was disappointing; one of the reasons for this is that during the long production period the mood of the Cold War changed drastically with the emergence of glasnost, and despite some updating of the drama to include refer-


GARDNER, JOHN (1926–2007)

ence to the Solidarity Movement in Poland, the story was being overtaken by events. A complex drama serial, Game, Set and Match steadily lost viewers throughout its long run up to the Christmas period in 1988. The drama is faithful to the original; the only major revision is the staging of the backstory in the novel—the failed operation into the Eastern Bloc in 1978 that reduced Samson to a desk job—as the opening episode of the series, which serves to set the scene and orient viewers. While acknowledging the professionalism of the production, Deighton was unhappy with the central casting of Ian Holm, a respected actor he felt too old (at 55) and too short for the role of Bernard Samson. Lacking control, the author felt that “someone somewhere was inflicting a brutal wound upon the whole project,” and that the casting was “bizarre”: “the tall became short, the short became tall, the angry became weary, the brunettes became blond, the fat became thin, the Americans became English, the clean-shaven wore beards and those with spectacles shed them.” Consequently, the author reacquired the rights to the story and has refused permission for rebroadcasts and for release on DVD. Game, Set and Match is therefore very difficult to see and an intriguing prospect for the fan of the spy drama. It was rumored around 2009 that cult filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, denied a chance to direct a James Bond movie, was contemplating filming the Game, Set and Match trilogy. See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. GARDNER, JOHN (1926–2007). Novelist. Gardner was born in Northumberland in the northeast of England, the son of an Anglican priest. During World War II, he served in the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, before transferring to the Royal Marines 42 Commando for service in the Middle and Far East. After demobilization, Gardner studied theology at St. John’s College, Cambridge University; he was ordained an Anglican priest in 1953 but, following a loss of faith, left the church in 1958. He worked for a time as Drama Critic and Arts Reviewer for the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald. Overcoming a problem with alcohol, he published the autobiographical Spin the Bottle in 1964. Gardner started a serious novel centered on how governments went around legally killing people. His literary agent advised an alternative approach, and he turned the idea into a comedy spoof in his first spy novel, The Liquidator, published in 1964, featuring a cowardly secret agent named Boysie Oakes, a “hero” who prefers his heroics in the bedroom. The character appeared in seven further novels up to A Killer for a Song in 1975. Gardner commenced a new series of spy novels with The Nostradamus Traitor in 1979, and these featured the character Big Herbie Kruger who was introduced ferreting out Nazis for the Allies in displaced persons camps following World War II. Kruger appeared in seven novels overall, bowing out in Confessor in 1995.



In the early 1980s, described by one critic as a shift from “spoofist to spykingpin,” Gardner was invited by Ian Fleming’s literary copyright holders to write three continuation James Bond novels. Despite reservations, he accepted, and the first of the stories was Licence Renewed in 1981, and the books were so popular the author went on to publish 14 titles in the series, culminating with COLD in 1996, plus two novelizations of recent James Bond films. Gardner has described how he “wanted to put Bond to sleep where Fleming had left him in the sixties, waking him up now in the 1980s having made sure he had not aged, but had accumulated modern thinking on the question of Intelligence and Security matters. Most of all I wanted him to have operational know-how: the reality of correct tradecraft and modern geewhiz technology.” Overall, John Gardner authored 53 novels, and other series of crime fiction included three Professor Moriarty stories, two Derek Torry stories, and five Detective Sergeant Suzie Mountford stories. GEOPOLITICS OF SPY FICTION. Geopolitics in its modern sense refers to the exercise of power in international relations. In recent history, espionage has featured in government policy and strategy as nations have attempted to discover the political and military secrets of their rivals and enemies. Accordingly, modern spy fiction incorporates the geographical sweep of international rivalries and conflicts since the latter part of the 19th century. For the early period, the geopolitical focus of British spy fiction was the “Great Game,” played out in central Asia involving the imperial ambitions of Russia and Great Britain, and which provides the backdrop of Rudyard Kipling’s Kim (1901) and George MacDonald Fraser’s later comic novel Flashman in the Great Game (1975). As rivalries intensified on the Continent, the geopolitics of British spy fiction shifted to Europe. Initially, stories warned of the threat from Russia and France, such as William Le Queux’s The Great War in England in 1897 (1894), but shifted decisively to Germany during the naval arms race of the early 20th century as expressed in Erskine Childers’s classic The Riddle of the Sands (1903), Le Queux’s The Invasion of 1910 (1906), and many other stories. In a variation, E. Phillips Oppenheim’s The Maker of History (1905) deals with an anti-British plot hatched by the Russian czar and the German kaiser. Internationalism was at the heart of the nihilist, anarchist, and socialist movements of the early 20th century. Revolutionary groups in their activities to bring about radical political and social change created great anxiety, and this was expressed in a literature of terrorism; celebrated examples are Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent (1907) and G. K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday (1908). Revolutionary Russia is the setting for James Hilton’s Knight without Armour and Dennis Wheatley’s The Forbidden Territory (both 1933).



The late 19th century also witnessed mounting anxiety regarding the “Yellow Peril,” a vision of racial menace from the East and a “vast, faceless, nameless yellow horde.” The threat was embodied most notably in the character of Dr. Fu Manchu, an evil genius who appeared in 13 novels by Sax Rohmer beginning with The Mystery of Dr. Fu Manchu in 1913 and proceeding on to Emperor Fu Manchu in 1959, as well as a number of films produced in both Hollywood and Great Britain. Rohmer also featured oriental villains or settings for his espionage stories Fire Tongue (1921) and The Day the World Ended (1930). The character of Dr. No (novel 1958, film 1962), a story in the James Bond series, re-invoked the tradition of “yellow terror” exemplified by Fu Manchu. The Far East has been the setting for such stories as William O. Greener’s A Secret Agent in Port Arthur and Allen Upward’s The International Spy (both 1905), Eric Ambler’s State of Siege (1956) and Passage of Arms (1959), and John Halkin’s Hantu (1981), in which a British agent is on the trail of a secret weapon during the early stages of the Korean War. John Sherlock’s The Ordeal of Major Grigsby (1964) involves a British officer training anticommunist forces in Malaya, and Tom Lilley’s The Project Section (1970) details the counterinsurgency measures of the British in Malaya in 1948. Communist China and its global ambitions began to surface as the subject of spy fiction in the later 1950s. In Hong Kong Kill (1959) by Bryan Peters, agent Anthony Brandon takes on a Chinese hit squad operating in the city. The former journalist Anthony Grey, detained in China on trumped-up spying charges between 1967 and 1969 and recounted in Hostage in Peking (1970), has written a number of thrillers and historical novels with an oriental setting, including The Chinese Assassin (1978). Michael Hartland’s first spy thriller, Down among the Dead Men (1983), begins with a renegade Chinese agent murdered trying to reach the British embassy in Kathmandu, setting off a trail of intrigue ranging across Tibet and on to Hong Kong. The authors Simon Harvester and Gavin Black have specialized in espionage stories set in the Far East: Harvester with his series characters Malcolm Kenton and Dorian Silk sent on operations in such thrillers as The Bamboo Screen (1955), The Chinese Hammer (1960), and Silk Road (1962), and Black with his series character Paul Harris in such thrillers as Suddenly at Singapore (1960) and Night Run from Java (1979). John Trenhaile’s trilogy The Mah-Jongg Spies (1986), The Gates of Exquisite View (1987), and The Scroll of Benevolence (1988) deal with businessman Simon Young coping with intrigue and rapid change as Hong Kong prepares to return to mainland China. The exotic Near East has been a popular setting for the staging of spy adventures. Pascali’s Island (novel 1980, film 1988) is set during the eclipse of the Ottoman Empire on a small island in the Aegean Sea. Talbot Mundy published many romantic spy adventures in the 1920s and 1930s set around India and Tibet (Devil’s Guard, 1926; East and West, 1936), and the eastern



Mediterranean and Arabia (The Woman Ayisha, 1930; Lion of Petra, 1933). Eric Ambler set several important stories in the region, including Journey into Fear (1940) and The Levanter (1972), as did Geoffrey Household, such as The High Place (1950) and Doom’s Caravan (1971). James Aldridge’s The Last Exile (1961) involves a British agent in Egypt at the time of the Suez Crisis in 1956. A common topic for spy stories since World War II has been diminishing British influence in the Arab region and often related to concerns regarding oil concessions. This is the background to the stories Castle Minerva (novel 1955, filmed as Masquerade 1965) by Victor Canning, The Man with Yellow Shoes (1957) by Anthony Heckstall-Smith, and Passport to Oblivion (novel 1966, filmed as Where the Spies Are, 1965) by James Leasor. The American continents have been the settings for such stories as Sax Rohmer’s The Emperor of America (1929), Victor Canning’s The Dragon Tree (1958, set on a South American island), Eric Ambler’s Doctor Frigo (1974, set in Central America), and Ted Allbeury’s The Man with the President’s Mind (1978). The Caribbean is the setting for Ian Fleming’s Dr. No and William Haggard’s The Telemann Touch (both 1958). Popular spy thrillers of the inter-war period immersed themselves in the major international developments of the time. The rise of Soviet internationalism is the background for Taffrail’s The Lonely Bungalow (1930) and E. Phillips Oppenheim’s Exit a Dictator (1939). Italian fascism and its dictator is the subject of Bernard Newman’s The Mussolini Murder Plot (1936), and the Spanish Civil War is the setting of Francis Beeding’s Hell Let Loose (1937), J. M. Walsh’s Spies in Spain (1937), and Herbert Greene’s Secret Agent in Spain (1938). And with the outbreak of war in 1939, the continent of Europe became the location for much intrigue, resistance, and espionage; early examples are Bernard Newman’s Maginot Line Murder (1939) and Siegfried Spy (1940). The Balkans and Eastern Europe have been appropriately exotic and unstable areas for the setting of espionage adventures, and represented what have been termed “the borderlands of danger, the natural habitat of the spy and international intrigue.” The geographer Klaus Dodds commented on the long-standing stereotypes in the West regarding the reputation of the Balkans “for violence, instability and claustrophobia.” A young woman is thrown into chaos during a train journey home from the region in Ethel L. White’s The Wheel Spins (1936, filmed as The Lady Vanishe s in 1936 and 1979, and for TV in 2013). A British agent is dispatched to rescue an American tycoon and his daughter held hostage in Bessarabia in The Fox Prowls by Valentine Williams (1939). In Victor Canning’s Forest of Eyes (1950) and Sarah Gainham’s The Silent Hostage (1960), agents must rescue Western nationals held in Yugoslavia; in Lawrence Durrell’s White Eagles over Serbia (1957), a veteran British agent becomes embroiled with royalists wishing to over-



throw the communist regime. The motion picture Highly Dangerous (1950) sends a biologist to a Balkan country to discover a new threat concerning germ warfare. The James Bond thriller From Russia with Love (novel 1957, film 1963) in which the action unfolds in Istanbul and on the return journey aboard the Orient Express is perhaps the most famous example of an adventure set in the region. Africa has been a bit of a backwater for spy fiction but has presented the setting for A. E. W. Mason’s The Winding Stair (1923, set in Morocco), Sax Rohmer’s Egyptian Nights (1944, tales featuring Major “Bimbashi” Baruk of the renowned Camel Corps in North Africa), Adam Hall’s Tango Briefing (1973, set in the Sahara), and Jeremy Duns’s Free Agent (2009, set in Nigeria). As in so many aspects of popular espionage literature, the James Bond stories and films have been central to a consideration of the geopolitics of spy fiction. As Jeremy Black comments, “both novels and films drew on current fears in order to reduce the implausibility of the villains and their villainy, while they also presented potent images of national character, explored the relationship between a declining Britain and an ascendant United States, charted the course of the Cold War, offered a changing demonology, and were an important aspect of post-war popular culture.” An important aspect of the geopolitics of James Bond is the agent’s role as defender of empire, especially in the context of British strategic interests in the Cold War, a trait more characteristic of the novels than the films. The novels Dr. No, Thunderball (1961), and The Man with the Golden Gun (1965), for example, put 007 on missions in the Caribbean. A second important aspect is the place of the United States in the stories, configured as a functioning Atlantic partnership, in Bond’s liaison with the Central Intelligence Agency, and the absence of Anglo-American rivalry and discord that, in reality, colored some elements of the relationship. The stories Live and Let Die (novel 1954, film 1973), Diamonds Are Forever (novel 1956, film 1971), and Goldfinger (novel 1959, film 1964) each have a prominent North American setting in which 007 neutralizes a threat to the United States. The classic international setting for Cold War spy fiction has been Eastern Europe, with agents sent on dangerous missions behind the Iron Curtain. Prague, Czechoslovakia, is the location for the novels Curtain of Fear (1953) and The Night of Wenceslas (1960, filmed as Hot Enough for June, 1964). East Germany has figured in John le Carré’s The Looking-Glass War (novel 1965, film 1969), Len Deighton’s Game, Set and Match trilogy (novels 1983–85, TV 1988), and Gerald Seymour’s The Waiting Time (novel 1998, TV 1999). Soviet Russia has been the setting for many stories, including Derek Lambert’s Angels in the Snow (1969) and Gerald Seymour’s Archangel (1982). Tim Sebastian, a one-time BBC Moscow corre-



spondent who was expelled from the city in 1985 on charges of spying, published The Spy in Question (1988), set in Moscow, and Spy Shadow (1990), set in Warsaw. The ideological struggle of the Cold War as it engaged the First, Second, and Third Worlds is dramatized in Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana (novel 1958, film 1959) and The Human Factor (novel 1978, film 1979), the latter focusing on the East-West struggle in Southern Africa; Len Deighton’s Mexico Set (1984), which is located in an important backwater of the Cold War in Central America; and John le Carré’s The Tailor of Panama (novel 1996, film 2001). A GIRL CALLED FATHOM. Novel and motion picture. A Girl Called Fathom is a contemporary spy thriller written by Larry Forrester and first published in 1967. Fathom, a young, athletic, British woman, Amazonian in stature, “unusually sensual,” arrives at a mansion and casually shoots dead a Hollywood film director in his swimming pool. It transpires that he had corrupted her into a sordid life of sex and drugs. The woman is offered escape from a prison sentence through recruitment into CELTS (CounterEspionage [Long Term Security]), an Anglo-American special operations unit whose operatives all have a background in crime and perversion. Fathom undertakes demanding training, during which she is required to execute a captive in cold blood, and she is sent on a dangerous mission to Europe to confront the conspiratorial organization WAR (World of Asia Revolution), a subversive organization of Sinophiles within the Soviet hierarchy, which is seemingly plotting to wreck proposals for world peace. Fathom’s nemesis is the impressive Black lesbian agent Jo Soon, and at the conclusion, the two enact a fight to the death on a small boat on the Seine. Fathom is one of several spy heroines who followed in the wake of the influential Modesty Blaise, a popular comic strip, novel, and movie character who first appeared in the early 1960s. The action, presented in a hardboiled style, courses through the West Coast of the United States, Arizona, Malaga in Spain, and the Côte d’Azur and Paris in France, and the heroine is supplied with a variety of neat gadgets and surprising chemicals to aid her in her mission. An unusual occurrence is when Fathom experiences her period while on mission and an opportunity for “sexpionage” is lost! A comedy movie adaptation of the novel immediately appeared as Fathom in 1967 starring Raquel Welch and produced by 20th Century Fox in Europe. The picture was released with the tagline “She’s a Sky Diving Darling Built for Action!,” referencing a greatly altered story in which Fathom is now an American sky diver touring in Spain who is reluctantly recruited into a North Atlantic Treaty Organization operation to retrieve the “Fire Dragon,” a nuclear trigger device mechanism lost in a crash in the Mediterranean and for which various enemy agents are searching. Some adventures later, Fathom



discovers that the “Fire Dragon” is, in fact, a priceless Chinese vase stolen from a Peking museum by a deserter from the Korean War and that she has been working for the criminals against other assorted villains. Fathom has to face various escapades, including being chased by a bull in an arena, being pursued by helicopter, evading an underwater assault by harpoon, and at least two knife attacks. In a thrilling finale in a light aircraft, Fathom retrieves the “Fire Dragon,” the crooks are finally dispatched, and she flies off to a likely dinner liaison with the attractive American adventurer Peter Merriweather (Tony Franciosa). Some critics found the picture undemanding fun, managing, according to Monthly Film Bulletin, “to impart a charm and freshness to all the best worn clichés of the spy film send-up.” Reviewers were predictably drawn to the singular assets of the statuesque lead actress, with Ian Wright at the Guardian noting the “ample opportunity to reveal Miss Welch’s ample physique in an assortment of less than ample bikinis and parachute outfits with poor zips.” The film’s poster screamed “Fathom . . . The World’s Most Uncovered Undercover Agent!,” and appropriately the picture commences with an extraordinarily eye-popping Freudian title sequence, designed by Maurice Binder, in which a skimpily clad Raquel Welch lovingly unfurls, caresses, straddles, and then re-sheaths a huge, red, phallic parachute. See also WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. THE GREAT IMPERSONATION. Novel. The Great Impersonation, first published in 1920, is generally regarded as the most enduring of E. Phillips Oppenheim’s many stories; the eminent critic of crime literature Howard Haycraft considering it the writer’s “undisputed masterpiece.” The story is set in 1913, on the eve of World War I, and the villain of the piece, typical of Oppenheim, is German militarism and ambition. It begins in southeast Africa with the dissolute English gentleman Sir Everard Dominey, a man who has left scandal and tragedy behind him in England. In a fanciful coincidence typical of the popular fiction of the day, the desperate Dominey, horseless and lost in the wilderness, stumbles across Major General Baron Leopold von Ragastein, a former Eton and Oxford school and college acquaintance. Acting on the remarkable likeness between the two men, the Prussian arranges for the disposal of Dominey in the Bush and assumes his identity and title in England, where he impersonates the forgotten Englishman as part of an emerging German plot that will lead to war in Europe. The story is an early example of a deep penetration mole situated by an enemy at the heart of the social and political structure for use at an appropriate time in the future. Romantic subplots complicate the drama of political intrigue. The imposter must reassume marriage with the formerly estranged Lady Dominey, while Ragastein is recognized in London by a former lover who had featured in his own earlier social disgrace and who desires resumption of their relationship.

GREENE, GRAHAM (1904–1991)


Perhaps surprising for the modern reader is the lingering melodrama associated with the moment of tragedy and scandal that has left Dominey’s wife—who patiently waits to wreak terrible revenge on her husband—in a state of madness. There is even a suspicion of a ghost story casting a macabre presence on the ancestral home, Dominey Place, and the events that unfold there. Such elements bear testimony to the textual affinity of thriller fiction in the period to the sensation fiction so popular in the late Victorian era. At the very moment that the armies in Europe are put to mobilization and Germany is best placed to use its hidden agent, there is the surprise revelation that Dominey had, in fact, killed Ragastein in a fight to the death in Africa and fallen in with the charade, but with the intention of discovering and thwarting the conspiracy. “The Great Impersonation” had, therefore, involved Dominey posing as Ragastein posing as Dominey. England was saved. The Great Impersonation was adapted for the screen in Hollywood on three occasions, by the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation in 1921 starring James Kirkwood, and in 1935 and 1942 by Universal, starring Edmund Lowe and Ralph Bellamy, respectively. GREENE, GRAHAM (1904–1991). Novelist and scriptwriter. A bullied son of the headmaster of Berkhampsted School, Greene was a reserved and troubled pupil and undergraduate at Oxford University. It has been suggested that the early experience fostered in him an obsession with the theme of betrayal. A disappointed poet, he first turned to journalism but quickly established himself as a novelist following the commercial and critical success of his first book, The Man Within (1929). Stamboul Train (1932), a story of intrigue and espionage exotically set on the Orient Express, was the first of Greene’s self-described “entertainments”—thrilling stories meant for a popular audience—but which have come to be recognized as important works in the development of espionage and crime literature. The story was made into Orient Express (U.S., 1934), the first of many adaptations for cinema and television. There followed the novels A Gun for Sale (1936), The Confidential Agent (1939), and The Ministry of Fear (1943), all of which have had a significant influence on espionage literature. These are thrilling stories of hunted men and social outcasts, full of suspense, and in which characters find themselves in perilous physical dangers that parallel moral crises. As George Woodcock observed, Greene “was a typical man of the Thirties in the way he symbolized political or ethical conflicts in terms of frontiers and police, of gun-battles and no less lethal betrayals, of life on the run, and his entertainments can be read for their excitement alone.” Greene’s “entertainments” of this period are both melodramatic and poetic, draw influence from the French cinema of the 1930s as well as the American crime novel, and are written in the shadow of war, or, in the case of The Ministry of Fear, an actual war.


GREENE, GRAHAM (1904–1991)

During the mid-1930s, Greene was the demanding film reviewer at the Spectator and other publications, which brought him into close consideration of cinema, and many critics have sensed an influence of film imagery on his writing. Greene had involvement of propaganda and espionage during World War II. He served at the Ministry of Information and, later, was recruited into MI6 on the prompting of his sister Elisabeth who already worked there; he served for a time in West Africa and, later, in the section headed by Kim Philby, which dealt with the Iberian Peninsula. Greene and Philby were drinking partners and controversially kept up a correspondence after Philby defected to Moscow in 1963. In his biography, Philby states he cannot recall any “startling achievements” of Greene’s at MI6; however, “his tart comments on incoming correspondence were a daily refreshment.” Greene received the code name LORAN from the Soviets. There were several important film versions of Greene’s stories during the war, This Gun for Hire (U.S., 1942, the U.S. title of A Gun for Sale), Ministry of Fear (U.S., 1944), and the British Went the Day Well? (1943). Following the war, Greene contributed two brilliant scripts for the director Carol Reed. The Fallen Idol (1947) was from his short story “The Basement Room” and deals with the suspicion of murder cast onto a butler working in a foreign embassy in London; it is innovatively told from the perspective of a small boy who hero-worships the unfortunate man. The Third Man (1949) was an original story and is one of the most celebrated of all British films. It deals with matters of friendship, disillusionment, despair, moral relativism, and guilt that were becoming recognized as the thematic center of Greene’s writing. Many of these concerns, together with theological musings on the human condition, are also present in his adaptation of his own famous prewar gangster novel, Brighton Rock, filmed by the Boulting brothers in 1947. Comedy was not something readily associated with the writer or his personality, but his film treatment of his own satirical novel Our Man in Havana (1959), directed by Reed, turned out to be an engaging satirical take on contemporary espionage fiction to which the author had contributed so much. Greene’s final espionage story, The Human Factor (1978), is one of the last great spy novels of the 20th century. Romantic love has led a British Intelligence officer into a life as a double agent, and this sense of moral corruption is balanced with a corrosive view of the British Secret Service. The character’s physical escape as a defector to Russia at the end of the story is undermined by his isolation from his beloved family and assumed personal destruction. Greene, the apologist for British traitor Kim Philby (whom he cast as a “passionate pilgrim”), has brilliantly written into this story the moral complexities, private tragedies, and “human factors” involved in ideological conflict and espionage. Greene’s viewpoint is captured in his rhetorical ques-

GREENE, GRAHAM (1904–1991)


tion, “Who can accept the survival of Western capitalism as a great Cause?” In Our Man in Havana, Greene had depicted the Secret Service as fools; in The Human Factor, he depicts them as murderers. A major British writer of his time, all of Greene’s significant novels have been adapted for the screen: The Comedians (U.S./Fr, 1963), Brighton Rock (1948 and 2010), The Heart of the Matter (1953), The End of the Affair (1955 and U.S., 1999), The Quiet American (U.S., 1958 and 2002), Travels with My Aunt (U.S., 1972), England Made Me (1973), The Human Factor (1979), The Honorary Consul (1983), and Dr. Fischer of Geneva (TV 1985). The novelist’s dramatic terrain of desolate colonial backwaters, sordid streets of fading European cities, and dead ends inhabited by lonely gunmen, vicious psychotics, tortured lovers, and assorted lost souls were adopted by filmmakers to play out stories uniquely expressing the anxieties of the mid-20th century. Greene wrote about various characters pursuing varied professions, but as William Chase noted, “no calling is given greater attention in Greeneland than that of the secret agent.” Chase sees the act of “spying” as pervading the literature of the author, noting that “the act of gaining and holding knowledge surreptitiously, the process of achieving advantage over others by remaining detached from them and yet cognizant of their activities, the contest of an emotional relationship in which one of the parties holds exclusive pieces of covert information about that relationship—is central to Greene’s work.” Greene was made a Companion of Honour in 1966 and received the Order of Merit in 1986. Some have suggested that Greene was denied a knighthood and perhaps a Nobel Prize due to his friendly relationship with Kim Philby. See also SPY AS NOVELIST; SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY.

H HAGGARD, WILLIAM (1907–1993). Novelist. William Haggard is the pseudonym used by Richard Henry Michael Clayton. He was born in Croydon, Surrey, and studied at Oxford University; he served in the Indian Civil Service (and with Indian Army Intelligence during World War II) and as a civil servant in London until his retirement from government employment toward the end of the 1950s. He published his first novel, Slow Burner, in 1958 and then kept up a prolific run of stories until 1986. Haggard’s approach to writing espionage fiction was colored by his experience of the higher echelons of Whitehall and British government. There is less in the stories by way of thrilling chases, action set pieces, and thick-ear physical confrontation than there is cautious intelligence work, careful analysis of data, top-level discussions of planning and operations, and the careful narrowing of options and suspects until the inevitable exposure of a conspiracy or wrongdoer. It was a less flamboyant and more thoughtful style for the spy thriller, an approach a critic once described as “action novels of international power politics.” The reviewer in the Chicago Daily News once claimed that “the most intelligent suspense novels in the English language are being written by William Haggard,” and the press took to calling Haggard “the adult Ian Fleming.” The principal investigator in many of the stories is the very English Colonel Charles Russell of the (fictitious) Security Executive: quiet, methodical, and naturally inspiring of confidence. Through a series of stories he is aided by, and sometimes supports, subsidiary characters such as his assistant Major Mortimer, the operatives Martin Dominy and William Wilberforce Smith, and the brilliant scientist Professor Wasserman. The stories unfold in the scenes behind the seats of power; they involve ministers, leading government scientists, senior civil servants and diplomats, distinguished legal men, and other representatives of the elite and, therefore, could be accused of being conservative. Haggard held a particular dislike of left intellectuals. Although, it has been pointed out, Haggard is capable of portraying strong and able women. Sometimes the author got worryingly close for some readers in his portraits of senior officials, disdainfully essaying Prime Minister Harold Wilson in The Power House (1966). Many of the 183


HALL, ADAM (1920–1995)

stories deal with scientific secrets and the attempt to keep these from leaving British shores; Slow Burner, Venetian Blind (1959), The High Wire (1963), The Antagonists (1964), Yesterday’s Enemy (1976), and The Meritocrats (1985) all fall into this category. Haggard’s novels are not now well known and are little read. While the later stories attempted to modernize—in terms of the depiction of sex, for example—they belong to a bygone age of class and privilege, a social setting where propriety was important, such as serving the right kind of champagne at cocktail parties. Indeed, they have been compared to novels of manners. The stories depict a time and place when government, security, and the national interest could be left in the capable hands of top people. As with Fleming, but in a wholly different fashion, the spy stories of William Haggard stand in between the romantic espionage fiction of the early period and the more cynical, psychological style that came to prominence in the 1960s. He was appropriately described in one obituary as “a man of the middle years of the century.” HALL, ADAM (1920–1995). Novelist. Trevor Dudley-Smith published 19 spy thrillers featuring the series character Quiller under the pen name of Adam Hall. He studied at Sevenoaks Public School and served in the Royal Air Force in World War II, after which he became a full-time writer. Writing as Elleston Trevor, he had some success with a trilogy of war novels: The Big Pick-Up (1955), the basis for the film Dunkirk (1958), produced at Ealing Studios; Squadron Airborne (1955); and The Killing Ground (1956). The Flight of the Phoenix (1964) was successfully filmed in Hollywood in 1965 by Robert Aldrich. The Quiller stories have been popular and influential, written with style, intelligence, and imagination. The agent was introduced in The Berlin Memorandum (1965), where he is up against a secret Nazi organization, and he is drawn as a resourceful loner; he is unconventional and an “authority on memory, sleep-mechanism, the personality patterns of suicide, fast-driving techniques and ballistics.” He serves “The Bureau”—a covert department within the British Secret Service that officially does not exist—and never carries a gun. Further adventures took Quiller around the world and were recorded in The 9th Directive (1966, Bangkok), The Tango Briefing (1973, Sahara, Africa), The Sinkiang Executive (1978, the Chinese-Russian border), Northlight (1985, northern Russia), Quiller KGB (1989, East Berlin), Quiller Salamander (1994, Cambodia), and finally Quiller Balalaika (1996, Moscow). Critics have bemoaned the fact that there is no sense of an independent life for Quiller outside of work, and that the stories simply place the agent in extremis, where he is left to extricate himself and complete the mission. R.



Gordon Kelly, irritated by the agent’s irascibility, humorlessness, and tendency to parade his expertise, finds him on “the verge of becoming a bore.” The character featured in the short-lived television series Quiller (1975). Elleston Trevor has written stage and radio plays and children’s fiction; he published novels under the names of Simon Rattray, Howard North, Roger Fitzalan, Mansell Black, Trevor Burgess, Warwick Scott, Caesar Smith, and Lesley Stone. Some of these have confusingly been reissued under the Elleston Trevor or Adam Hall imprint. See also GEOPOLITICS OF SPY FICTION. HAMMERHEAD. Novel and motion picture. Hammerhead, written by James Mayo (real name Stephen Coulter) and published in 1964, is a spy thriller that introduced the series character Charles Hood. Hood, under the cover of art expert and dealer, is an occasional agent for MI6 (usually referred to as Special Intelligence Security in the story), and also operates for “the Circle,” a group of influential financial interests. The agent is sent to investigate Espiritu Lobar, a suspected master criminal, on his luxury yacht, Triton, anchored off the French Riviera, under the pretext of selling him some valuable paintings. Hood slowly uncovers a plot to replace the British ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by a skilled impersonator and obtain the secrets from a series of crucial defense meetings. The action ranges across London, Paris, and the Côte d’Azur, and the love interest is provided by a young English girl, Sue Trenton, who has wandered into the entourage of Lobar and needs rescuing by Hood. Lobar is finally confronted by Hood on the roof of the Paris Opera House, where the villain is killed by being fried, stretched out over a powerful arc lamp. Hammerhead and its secret agent hero Charles Hood were obvious attempts to cash in on the new popularity of the secret agent thriller following the appearance of James Bond on screen in 1962. The adventure and its hero incorporate that potent blend of sex, violence, snobbery, and sadism that critics have identified with the Bond stories. Exotic villains carry deformities as marks of their depravity: Lobar lacks one eyelid, while strong-arm man Golos has enormous hands. A key henchman is a corset fetishist. There are gruesome scenes of torture, as when the petty criminal Tooky Tate has his lips sealed by heavy staples. There are numerous violent fights and deaths, with one henchman suffocated by grease being shot into his throat, and Hood finishing another opponent by pouring acid in his face. Hood is an impossibly accomplished sportsman and English gentleman—a track athlete who once gave the great Roger Bannister a run for his money. He participated in the Pentathlon at the Olympic Games in Melbourne in 1956, and he is capable of taking the two-man sled down the bob run at St. Moritz to within a fraction of a second of the record. Cosmopolitan, he can effortlessly recognize the exact brand of an expensive scent (L’heure bleue by Guerlain); can



identify the ancestry of a valuable antique necklace (as having belonged to Empress Eugénie at Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte’s court); and maintains personal shirt makers—in London, New York, Paris, and Hong Kong—and a gunsmith in Berne, Switzerland. Coulter published several novels under his own name, and as James Mayo wrote a further five adventures featuring Charles Hood: Let Sleeping Girls Lie (1965), Shamelady (1966), Once in a Lifetime (1968), The Man Above Suspicion (1969), and Asking for It (1971). Charles Hood was described in the Sunday Citizen as the “slickest of the super-Bonds”; another observer disdainfully noted, “The Charles Hood novels attempt to better the Bond novels by having double the number of girls, double the violence, and half the credibility.” The Charles Hood stories were generally judged as among the most rudimentary of secret agent fiction, the critic in the Guardian finding that Asking for It “has a deplorable kind of crude force that strums on the nerves.” It is rumored that Stephen Coulter served in intelligence during World War II and gave Ian Fleming the necessary background to draw the gambling scenes in the landmark novel Casino Royale (1953). The movie Hammerhead was produced in Europe, with locations in London and Portugal, by Irving Allen Productions for release by Columbia Pictures in 1968. The film, carrying the tagline “Nothing ever hit you like Hammerhead,” loses some of the excessive violence, sadism, and English snobbery of the novel: partly through casting an American, Vince Edwards; partly through updating the story to chime with the hip youth scene of the late 1960s; and partly through having to dispense with some extremely graphic scenes of violence and torture, which would have been unfilmable at the time. The Americanization of Charles Hood results in a one-dimensional, hard-boiled type who requires no gadgets, only his fists. That such a character could be presented as an art expert is unlikely in the extreme. The action is shifted from the south of France and Paris of the original story to the coast around Lisbon in Portugal. The master criminal Hammerhead (Peter Vaughan) is a suitably exotic creature, a connoisseur of erotica who sees “truth”’ in perversion and pornography. The picture, which offered much local color, action, and go-go dancing chicks, caused few ripples. Monthly Film Bulletin found little to say about this “Bond-style farrago,” and the critic at the Guardian idly wondered if the picture was a “parody.” Allen did not film any of the subsequent Hood stories. HANNAY. Television adventure series. Hannay was produced at Thames Television in two seasons broadcast in 1988 and 1989 and incorporating 13 episodes. Robert Powell had starred as Richard Hannay in the third cinema version of The Thirty-Nine Steps in 1978 and reprised the role of John Buchan’s popular hero for television. The new adventures recounted in Hannay are all dated before World War I and, therefore, predate the contempo-



rary stories published by Buchan between 1915 and 1936. The series was largely written by Michael Robson, who had scripted the 1978 version of The Thirty-Nine Steps. As in The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), Hannay arrives in Great Britain from the Cape Colony and finds himself thrown into adventures. Initially, he is pitted against his archenemy, Count Otto von Schwabing (Gavin Richards), as in “The Fellowship of the Black Stone,” in which the German seeks to destroy the British fleet at Scapa Flow; other episodes deal with period espionage, such as “Voyage into Fear” and “The Hazard of the Die” (both 1988) and “The Terrors of the Earth” (1989). Increasingly, though, the story lines divert toward period crime and detection, as in “Death with Due Notice” (1988, a deranged killer), “Coup de Grace” (1989, blackmail), “That Rough Music” (1989, a protection racket), and “The Good Samaritan” (1989, a variant on Murder on the Orient Express). The episode “Point of Honour” (1988) is adapted from a 1914 short story by the thriller writer Dornford Yates. The reviews were mixed, although the second season was generally preferred. The Times noted that Powell made “a personable Hannay,” and the paper marked the series as “a modern pastiche which makes use of the characters and ambience and invents the stories.” However, the “Boys Own Adventure” and “Ripping Yarns” quality of the adventures means that “Hannay has such a miraculous facility for getting out of desperate situations which for other mortals mean certain death, that the plot is rather lacking in tension.” At the Guardian, the critic felt that Hannay lacked the “grit” to convince as a first-rate period thriller, but the reviewer warmed to the “gently leg-pulling stories.” Hannay was one of a number of screen dramas in the period that displayed a nostalgic interest in the espionage of a less cynical era, and these included the films The Riddle of the Sands (1979) and The Lady Vanishes (1978), and the television series Reilly—Ace of Spies (1983). See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION. THE HEAT OF THE DAY. Novel and television drama. The Heat of the Day, first published in 1948, is a novel by the acclaimed author Elizabeth Bowen and was published to high praise. It is a complex and literary story with multiple flashbacks, in which Harrison, a counterespionage agent, confronts the beautiful and sophisticated Stella Rodney with the accusation that her lover, Robert Kelway, is spying for the Germans. Harrison proposes that he will remain silent about the treachery if he can replace Kelway in Stella’s affections. Stella eventually confronts Robert who denies the allegation. At a later meeting, Harrison informs Stella that his prediction that Kelway would change his behavior once alerted to his perfidy has been confirmed. Robert eventually returns to Stella and confesses his treachery—due, it seems, to a combination of his wounding at Dunkirk and his growing up under the rule



of an authoritarian mother and an emasculated father. Robert dies, but Stella, at some cost to herself, is able to hide his guilty secret. Much later, Harrison visits Stella and reveals that his first name is also Robert, but the resolution of their relationship is left ambiguous. Various subplots involve Stella’s grown-up son Roderick, Kelway’s sister and mother, and Louie and Connie, two working-class London women dealing with loss and loneliness. Bowen began the novel while bombs were still falling on London in 1944. There are many biographical elements to the story, and it recalled for her a period when life was experienced more fully and powerfully than she had ever known. The authoress traveled to her native Ireland during the war, from where she sent confidential reports to Whitehall relating to Irish attitudes, morale, and politics. The Heat of the Day was dramatized for television in 1989 at the commercial Granada Television; it was directed by the experienced Christopher Morahan and starred Patricia Hodge as Stella, Michael Gambon as Harrison, and Michael York as Robert. The literary story was suitably scripted by the acclaimed dramatist Harold Pinter, but the film is surprisingly little known. The adaptation is a little stagey, but it is impressive for its performances and literate screenplay, the latter endowed with the menace, indirect conversations and the not-quite-what-it-seems quality characteristic of the playwright. Roy Foster commented on the “ominous and liberating” story of the novel, a sense of the “uncanny,” “a preoccupation with the fracture of things below a surface just beginning to crack, the progress of slippage and collapse, the psychology of hurt and betrayal,” a style “tense, nervy, jumpy,” dialogue “risky, inverted, interrogative”: ideal terrain for an adapter such as Pinter. The drama draws on imagery and motifs of film noir, supplied in part by the original novel, and of the gothic, which aptly suggests the threat and anxiety at the heart of a story, in which identity is suspect and motives unclear. Peter Waymark, writing in The Times, pinpoints the Pinter influence “in conversations constructed from spare, precise dialogue and significant pauses in which the viewer is consistently invited to find more than lies on the surface.” Pinter’s biographer Michael Billington rates The Heat of the Day “as one of his finest studies of obsession and betrayal” and praises Morahan’s “masterly recreation of wartime London.” See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. HIDDEN AGENDA. Motion picture. Hidden Agenda is a “secret state” thriller released in 1990 and set in the context of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland. It was directed by Ken Loach, Great Britain’s most political filmmaker, and filmed in his conventional social-realist style. The story involves the shooting in Ulster of an American civil liberties lawyer and the following investigation by Paul Kerrigan (Brian Cox), a senior British police officer with a reputation for honesty and incorruptibility. The Royal Ulster Constab-



ulary (RUC) is obstructive, and Kerrigan, working with Ingrid Jessner (Frances McDormand), a civil liberties activist, immediately suspects a cover-up. Paul Harris (Maurice Roëves), a former Military Intelligence officer who had spearheaded controversial “psy-ops” operations in the province aimed at blackening the republicans and their supporters, has evidence on tape of a high-level conspiracy. Before Kerrigan can acquire the tape, he is warned off by a senior officer in MI5 and a leading Conservative politician, who threaten to ruin the policeman’s career and also his marriage through some innocent—though compromising photographs—of Kerrigan with Jessner. Kerrigan returns to mainland Britain with the names and confessions of the men who killed Sullivan offered as scapegoats to protect the wider interests. Harris has been snatched and murdered by the British Security Service; his death is made to look like an Irish Republican Army (IRA) retribution killing, although Jessner has acquired the tape and threatens to expose the cover-up and conspiracy. The film carried the tagline “Murder . . . Torture . . . Corruption . . . The Truth Can Never Be Buried.” Hidden Agenda draws its inspiration from the official inquiry that commenced in 1984, led by John Stalker, the deputy chief constable of the Greater Manchester Police, into an alleged “shoot-to-kill” policy by the Security Service and RUC in Northern Ireland. In what could be construed as obstruction, Stalker was removed from the inquiry following allegations of corruption, charges of which he was later cleared, and no prosecutions followed the publication of the final report. The conspiracy threatened with exposure in the film involved Harris and his “psy-ops” teams detailed by extremists in the Security Service, business, and politics to undermine Edward Heath (the moderate leader of the Conservative Party), destabilize the Labour governments of the mid-1970s, and blacken the name of the Labour Party leader and sometime prime minister Harold Wilson. The aim was to smooth a path for the election of an extreme right-wing leader of the Conservatives, something which came to pass in the late 1970s when Margaret Thatcher assumed the party leadership and became prime minister in 1979. Such treasonable scheming was alleged in such radical journals as Lobster, claimed in such books as Smear! Wilson and the Secret State (1991), and based on revelations circulating around a so-called Clockwork Orange operation conducted by disaffected security officers. Several of the characters in the drama have their counterparts in the actual events of the 1970s and 1980s: Harris is a composite of Colin Wallace and Fred Holroyd (who served as an adviser on the film), two “whistle-blowers” who had served in Military Intelligence, and the smug Tory politician Alec Nevin is based on Airey Neave, a senior adviser to Margaret Thatcher before he was killed by the IRA. In an interview, Ken Loach made clear his intentions with the film: “What we tried to do with Hidden Agenda was say very clearly to people, “Look, the British have death squads in Northern Ireland.



They have behaved like terrorists and they’ve used terrorists to carry out killings. They’ve been involved in the torture of political suspects. And some elements of British Intelligence have used the same black propaganda techniques against British politicians that they’ve used against the IRA. Now what are we going to do about it?” Hidden Agenda, written by Jim Allen, an important collaborator with Loach, won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. In Britain, the film was attacked in the right-wing press before it had even been screened; some cinemas chose not to screen it, and a group of right-wing journalists tried to get the picture withdrawn from Cannes. The Stalker Affair was dramatized on television as Shoot to Kill (Yorkshire Television, 1990). HIGH TREASON. Motion picture. High Treason is a Cold War thriller directed by Roy Boulting from an original screenplay by Boulting and Frank Harvey, released in 1951. The story commences with the sabotage of a British munitions ship being loaded before embarkation to the Far East. The case is investigated by Commander Robert Brennan (Liam Redmond) and Superintendent Folland (André Morell) of Special Branch, and Major Elliot (Anthony Bushell) of MI5. The security services are put on their guard following intelligence warning of an escalation in communist subversion and sabotage. A methodical investigation into the explosion unearths a fifth column of Soviet agents, saboteurs, and agitators. The subversives are centered on a music appreciation society, a modern art gallery, and a private college, and include the upper-class Grant Mansfield (Anthony Nicholls), a member of Parliament for the radical People’s Progress Party. Their plan, seemingly guided from Moscow, is to destroy the eight leading power stations of Great Britain and thereby cripple British industry as a prelude to a communist dictatorship. The security forces are alerted to the imminent attacks by a reformed member of the fifth column who gives his life and redeems himself. There is a terrific gun battle at Battersea Power Station, London, and catastrophe is narrowly averted. The varied subversives, deviants, and misfits in the conspiracy are rounded up and brought to justice. The rabid anticommunism that featured in some contemporary Hollywood films such as The Woman on Pier 13 (U.S., 1949) and My Son John (U.S., 1952) was largely absent from British cinema. High Treason came closest to exhibiting the kind of McCarthyite paranoia, which characterized some attitudes of the time, and in the view of Tony Shaw “arguably ranks as the most overtly political film of the whole post-war period.” The film is organized as a realistic police procedural, much of it shot on location; it is through this structure that a discourse of tradition and reassurance, associated with the law, justice, and democracy, is contrasted with one of modernism, agitation, and totalitarianism, linked with the subversives and their decadence, intellectualism, and homosexuality. The subject matter of High Treason was highly



topical. There had been an explosion of arms and munitions in the Portsmouth dockyards in July 1950, which some attributed to sabotage and which is referred to in the film. The Labour government was becoming extremely concerned regarding extremist influences in the trade unions, with the increase in industrial disputes, and with possible subversives in the Civil Service and had recently enacted a Purge Procedure; and the Korean War, atom spies such as Klaus Fuchs exposed in 1950, and high-profile political defections such as Burgess and Maclean in 1951, each had a mounting and depressive impact on contemporary feeling. Roy Boulting had experienced a recent brush with extremist influence and intimidation while serving on the executive committee of the film industry trade union, and this motivated him to warn of the devious and inimical methods of the communists. In the event, the film attracted generally poor reviews; the critics were clearly already wary from such recent American Red-baiting melodramas as I Was a Communist for the FBI (U.S., 1951), and the picture was not popular with the public. The contemporary novel The Sixth Column (1951) by Peter Fleming, brother of Ian Fleming, offered a comparable story of communist subversion. See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. HIGHLY DANGEROUS. Motion picture. Highly Dangerous is a comedy thriller directed by Roy Baker, from an original screenplay by Eric Ambler, and released in 1950. Dr. Frances Gray (Margaret Lockwood) an entomologist at the Biological Control Laboratories, is persuaded by British Intelligence to travel behind the Iron Curtain to confirm reports that insects are being bred for germ warfare. With a secret desire for intrigue and adventure, she is an avid listener of a radio spy serial called “Frank Conway: Secret Agent,” Gray journeys to the Balkans assuming the role of a travel agent and the name Frances Conway. However, the local contact is soon killed, Gray’s cover is quickly blown, and she is brutally interrogated by Chief of Police Razinski (Marius Goring). Using a truth drug, Razinski attempts to gain access to the hidden parts of Gray’s mind, but this only leads to confusion in the subject and she is released. In fact, the drug unearths the woman’s fantasies, and Gray unexpectedly acquires the fearless persona of secret agent Frank Conway. With the help of Bill Casey (Dane Clark), an American journalist bemused by Gray’s change in behavior but bored with his assignment in the country, she intrepidly resumes the mission to acquire specimens of the insects. Gray and Casey steal into the secret plant, obtain a sample of infected bugs, and narrowly make their escape (during which the scientist recovers her own mind). With the help of a priest and the local resistance, the fleeing couple makes it across the border disguised as peasants. Back in London, in a final comic scene, Gray and Casey are detained at the airport for a host of customs irregularities regarding the insects.



Highly Dangerous is an updating of Ambler’s first novel, The Dark Frontier (1936), and now the Cold War has replaced the struggle against fascism and the avarice of arms manufacturers. The film is unusual for its time in depicting a female scientist and for putting a woman at the center of a spy thriller. A handful of films of the period, for example, State Secret (1950) and The Prisoner (1955), sent characters behind the Iron Curtain, and opportunity was taken to depict regimes of oppression, Spartan conditions, and downtrodden citizens, which usefully served the propaganda of the Cold War. The use of the truth serum in Highly Dangerous can be understood in terms of contemporary show trials in Eastern Europe, which featured inexplicable public confessions, and consequent fears about brainwashing and mind manipulation. The film also chimes with mounting concerns regarding chemical and bacteriological weapons, which reached a crescendo during the Korean War when the communist regimes accused the West of dropping plague-ridden insects over North Korea and China. Critics were unsettled by the film’s sudden change of tone halfway through, a problem with the source novel, and what some felt to be an uncertain mixing of serious and comic themes. Dilys Powell, for example, writing in Britain Today, felt that “the irony is constantly being interrupted by straightforward excitement.” Neither Lockwood nor Clark was adept at light comedy, and from the evidence of the latter stages of Highly Dangerous, Ambler was not at his best in a comic vein. The mild parody of spy thrillers and, in the final scene, of burgeoning red tape in socialist Great Britain, now seems weak and uninspired. A contemporary story dealing with espionage and germ warfare is Nigel Balchin’s A Sort of Traitors (1949). See also WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. HISTORICAL SPY FICTION. Historical mystery fiction has grown in importance and popularity. Detective stories set in former times are widely read and enjoyed, becoming a distinctive subgenre of crime fiction and covering many historical periods from antiquity through to the recent past. Popular exponents of British historical detective fiction are Lindsey Davis with her Marcus Didius Falco stories set in Ancient Rome, Ellis Peters with her Cadfael stories set in Medieval England, Anne Perry with her William Monk stories set in Victorian London, and Peter Lovesey with his Sergeant Cribb stories set in late 19th-century England. Historical spy fiction has not enjoyed as a high a profile, but there have been many stories of “secret service” and intrigue set in the past. The pleasure and, to some extent, the social and political meaning of historical spy fiction is the revelation of a hitherto secret world. At their most intriguing, historical spy stories revisit previously hidden or obscured events, allow authors to explore the narrating device of memory, and defamiliarize



and disrupt the “collective memory,” a process, as Victoria Stewart observed, that can lead the reader into questioning why aspects of the national past have been concealed and neglected. Earlier periods of British history have not been widely addressed by historical spy fiction. The novels Satan in St. Mary’s (1986), Spy in Chancery (1988), and The Assassin in the Greenwood (1993) by P. C. Doherty are set in the reign of Edward I in the 13th century and feature the character of Hugh Corbett, a clerk at court who unravels various intrigues. The Queen’s Head (1989) by Edward Marston draws inspiration for its story of an Elizabethan theatrical company and the murder of an actor in a London tavern from the “queer episode” of the death of Christopher Marlowe in 1593, a playwright and probable secret agent. Seventeen of Leyden: A Frolic through This Vale of Tears (1971), by the Welsh writer John James, recounts the adventures of Dr. Richard Wormset, physician and Number Seventeen of Leyden in the Knotte (the formidable Secret Service of His Majesty King James II), a story set in the 17th century. The first classic of historical spy fiction was The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905), Baroness Orczy’s tale of daring and English decency during the terror of the French Revolution. Later, Dennis Wheatley set his popular series of Roger Brook stories around the time of the Revolution and Napoleonic Wars in the period 1783–1815; a secret agent of Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, Brook featured in 12 novels between 1947 and 1974; though romantic, the books are characterized by an impressive historical detail. A popular cycle of historical romances by American female authors such as Joanna Bourne and Celeste Bradley, with titles such as The Spymaster’s Lady (2010) and The Spy (2004), are set in the same Regency period but are intended for a different readership. The 19th century has been addressed in a handful of espionage stories. Julian Rathbone, who has written a variety of historical novels, offered up A Very English Agent (2002), a romp that covers the period from Waterloo in 1815 to the funeral of the Duke of Wellington in 1852. The improbable but entertaining story is framed as the memoirs of one Charlie Boylan, who claims to have spied for Great Britain and been involved in such events as the Peterloo Massacre in 1819, the Cato Street conspiracy in 1820, and in saving Queen Victoria from assassination at the Great Exhibition in 1851. George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman in the Great Game (1975) is the fifth of the popular series of comic historical novels featuring the cowardly and caddish military gentleman Harry Flashman, a character who had first appeared as the bullying schoolboy in Thomas Hughes’s classic Tom Brown’s School Days (1857). In this story, Flashman is sent to India on the orders of Lord Palmerston to investigate rumors of rebellion. There, he caught up in the Indian Mutiny of 1857–58, adopts various disguises, survives numerous horrors, and ends up winning the Victoria Cross. The List of Seven (1993) by



Mark Frost, set in the 1880s, is a mixture of crime, espionage, and the occult involving such historical personages as Arthur Conan Doyle, Queen Victoria, Bram Stoker, and Adolf Hitler as a baby! The curious case pursued by Jack Sparks, special agent to the Crown, hinges on the settling of a demon child in the British royal bloodline. The majority of historical spy stories are set in the more recent past of the 20th century. The legendary British agent Sidney Reilly is the protagonist of the imaginative fiction The Spy Who Had No Faith in the World: A Semidocumentary Account of the Exploits 1900–1904 of Sidney Reilly AKA “the Ace of Spies” and Ian Fleming’s Role Model for James Bond (2011) by Ronald Fairfax. Barry Unsworth’s Pascali’s Island (novel 1980, film 1988) is set in 1908 during the twilight of the Ottoman Empire and deals with a minor informer on a Greek island who is drawn into a mystery involving a visiting Englishman. The Mamur Zapt series of stories by the Anglo-Egyptian-Sudanese Michael Pearce deals with mysteries and intrigues in Egypt under British rule in the early 20th century; the character of “Mamur Zapt” is the official title of the head of the Cairo secret police and fulfilled by Gareth Cadwallader Owen, a Welsh army captain. Gavin Lyall’s “Honour Quartet” of Spy’s Honour (1994), Flight from Honour (1997), All Honourable Men (1998), and Honourable Intentions (1999) deals with the fledgling British Secret Service in the years 1912–14, the period immediately before World War I and the early days of modern espionage. The eve of the First World War is also the setting for David Downing’s Jack of Spies (2013), a story that globe trots to China, the United States, and Mexico. World War I, an important period in the development of Military Intelligence and the British Secret Service, has unsurprisingly provided the context for a number of stories. Former wartime spy Marthe McKenna published several spy thrillers set during the conflict, such as A Spy Was Born (1935) and Lancer Spy (1937). Drink to Yesterday (1940) by Manning Coles deals with a young British agent who spies in wartime Cologne, Secret Servant (1935) by Bernard Newman involves a British agent working behind the scenes to ensure the success of the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919, and Waiting for Sunrise (2012) by William Boyd involves the search for a British traitor in a story that ranges across Vienna, Geneva, and London. The most famous series of short spy stories set in World War I are the Ashenden tales (1928), which center on a British agent working first in neutral Switzerland and then revolutionary Russia. The charismatic Sidney Reilly and his intrigues in Russia are the basis of the imaginative fiction The Private War of Sidney Reilly: A Tale of Revolutionary Russia (2014) by the American Allan Torrey. The ambitious Faces of Terror trilogy by the Anglo-Russian Emanuel Litvinoff charts a pair of young revolutionaries from the streets of East London and the Siege of Sidney Street in 1911, and their political passage over the years through the



Bolshevik Revolution, and on to the repressions of Stalinist Russia across the novels A Death Out of Season (1973), Blood on the Snow (1975), and Face of Terror (1978). World War II has been an even more common setting for historical spy fiction. Special Operations and resistance is the subject of Carve Her Name with Pride (book 1956, film 1958) by R. J. Minney and Charlotte Gray (novel 1999, film 2001) by Sebastian Faulks. The secret war of code breakers is the setting for Enigma (novel 1995, film 2001) by Robert Harris and The Imitation Game (film 2014). Wartime espionage and treachery are dealt with in The Heat of the Day (TV 1989, from the 1948 novel by Elizabeth Bowen) and Where Eagles Dare (novel 1967, film 1969) by Alistair MacLean. Exciting adventure yarns set in the Second World War include The Eagle Has Landed (novel 1975, film 1976) by Jack Higgins and Eye of the Needle (novel 1978, film 1981) by Ken Follett. The curious events involving the British frogman Commander Lionel Crabbe, who went missing in 1956 while surveying a Soviet ship carrying the Russian premier, has been investigated in a number of fictions. The novels The Khrushchev Objective (1987) by Noel Hynd and Christopher Creighton, Old Flames (1996) by John Lawton, and Man Overboard (2005) by Tim Binding all have views on the event. The motion picture The Silent Enemy (1958) treats the wartime exploits of Crabbe (which earned him a George Medal) and was released to cash in on public interest in the submariner following his disappearance. Treachery in the Cold War period has fascinated some authors, and notorious figures such as Kim Philby and Anthony Blunt have inspired a number of novels. The Untouchable (1997) by John Banville is clearly based on Blunt; an imaginative engagement with the characters of Burgess, Philby, and Blunt is offered in David Mure’s novel The Last Temptation (1984), while the backstory to Michael Hartland’s The Third Betrayal is the remarkable agent SONYA (Ursula Ruth Kuczynski), who operated undetected in Britain for the Soviet Military Intelligence (GRU) in the 1940s and became the only woman ever to be made an honorary colonel of the Red Army. There have been numerous screen treatments of historical spies and secret agentry. The Birds Fall Down (from the novel by Rebecca West, TV 1978), The Siege of Sidney Street (film 1960), and The Secret Agent (from the novel by Joseph Conrad, TV 1992, film 1996) deal with the period of anarchists and revolutionary terrorism in the period before World War I. The film version of the classic The Riddle of the Sands (1979) deals with the military tension between Germany and Britain leading up to the war. The First World War is the setting for the films I Was a Spy (1933), Dark Journey (1937), and The Spy in Black (1939), and largely for the television series Reilly— Ace of Spies (1983) and Hannay (1988–89). Major deceptions of the Second World War are subjects of the movies The Man Who Never Was (1956) and



I Was Monty’s Double (1958), the adventures of the World War II spy Eddie Chapman are featured in the picture Triple Cross (1966), and the secret war is depicted in such diverse films as Against the Wind (1948), Odette (1950), and Orders to Kill (1958). The television drama series The Fourth Arm (1983) and Wish Me Luck (1988–90) deal with the agents parachuted into occupied Europe. Aspects of espionage and treachery in the Cold War have featured in a number of screen dramas. The Cambridge Spies are the subject of Philby, Burgess & Maclean (TV 1977), Blunt (TV 1987), and Cambridge Spies (TV 2003). The strange story of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky in the 1960s is treated in Wynne & Penkovsky (TV 1985). Historian Wesley K. Wark had predicted in 2008 “that spy fiction will utilize more extensively in future the trappings of the historical novel, especially in cultures busy discovering their own espionage past,” and indeed historical spy fiction has been a marked characteristic of recent spy literature. Genre writers such as David Downing, with the Station series; Jeremy Duns, with the Paul Dark series; and Alan Judd, with Legacy (2011), have retreated back to the World War II and Cold War periods for a nostalgic evocation of classic espionage settings. Elsewhere, acclaimed authors such as William Boyd with Restless (2006), Jonathan Coe with Expo 58 (2013), and Ian McEwan with The Innocent (1990) and Sweet Tooth (2012) have found in the historical spy story a suitable vehicle for the expression of their ideas and concerns. HITCHCOCK, SIR ALFRED (1899–1980). Filmmaker. Hitchcock was born and raised in northeast London, and his disciplined Catholic upbringing has been seen as a substantial formative influence on his cinema. The fact that he initially joined the American Famous Players-Lasky Company, which established a London branch at Islington in 1920, has also been seen as significant as it arguably introduced him to a more technical, professional, and dynamic regime of filmmaking than he could have found anywhere else in the British cinema. He was taken on to design inter-titles for the company’s silent productions, rapidly gaining experience and making himself indispensable at the studio. When the Americans withdrew in 1922, Hitchcock joined a small independent company shooting at Islington, which established itself as the Gainsborough Company in 1924. Company head Michael Balcon offered Hitchcock the opportunity to direct two pictures as coproductions at the Emelka Studios in Munich, and The Pleasure Garden (1925) and The Mountain Eagle (1926, now lost) established the young filmmaker as an emerging talent. His third production, The Lodger (1926), a murder thriller based on the Jack the Ripper story, proved the first recognizably Hitchcockian film. Its tale of a psychopath stalking women in a fog-shrouded London offered the



young director the kind of material he could shape to his own characteristic interests and preoccupations, which would come to form a durable oeuvre for the filmmaker over six decades in both the British and American cinemas. In particular, the film’s hero, played by Ivor Novello, was the first of a series of morally tainted protagonists, introducing a fundamental ambiguity to the stories and disavowing any easy distinction between good and evil. Hitchcock proceeded to make two subsequent melodramas for Gainsborough, Downhill (1927) and Easy Virtue (1927), and a mix of melodramas and comedies for British International Pictures (BIP): The Ring (1927), The Farmer’s Wife (1928), Champagne (1928), and The Manxman (1929). The films were variable in quality, but each was distinguished by visual invention and a witty approach to construction and composition. Hitchcock returned to form—and the thriller—with Blackmail (1929), a film also celebrated for being one of the earliest “talkie” productions in Great Britain, and the critics were immediately impressed by Hitchcock’s assured and imaginative use of sound. Following this success, the director once again embarked on a mixed bag of films for BIP, a period many critics see as one of creative confusion: only the whodunit Murder! (1930) and the mystery Number 17 (1932) came close to matching what would come to be recognized as the Hitchcock style. In 1934, at the lowest ebb in his career, Hitchcock was reunited with producer Michael Balcon, now head of production at Gaumont-British (GB). “Hitch” subsequently embarked on a series of brilliant suspense films at G-B, often with a pronounced espionage dimension, and the celebrated pictures marked the peak of the director’s British period, the bedrock on which his later reputation rested, and the most sustained period of influence and achievement of spy fiction in the cinema. The “thriller sextet” began with The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934). The kidnapping story originated in a “Bulldog” Drummond tale Hitchcock had been working up with dramatist Charles Bennett at BIP called Bulldog Drummond’s Baby, but as was the director’s wont the production moved a long way from the original source. There finally emerged a thriller in which a family vacationing in the Alps stumble on an assassination plot and the daughter is taken hostage to keep the parents silent. The suspenseful narrative pattern of innocent bystanders thrust into international intrigue would be used in several of Hitchcock’s spy thrillers. The director later remade the picture in 1956 in Hollywood with James Stewart and Doris Day. The 39 Steps (1935), from John Buchan’s famous espionage novel and one of Hitchcock’s favorite writers, is now widely regarded as one of Hitchcock’s finest achievements in Britain and a compendium of some of the director’s characteristic themes and motifs. Cultural critic Toby Miller refers to The 39 Steps as “the first canonical espionage movie.” As a pure chase thriller, centering on an innocent man pursued by both the forces of the law



and a sinister, shadowy foreign organization seeking aviation secrets, it stands in relation to Hitchcock’s British period as North by Northwest (U.S., 1959) does to his American cinema. Madeleine Carroll features as the archetypal blonde heroine, and Hitchcock does not lose the opportunity offered by the plot presence of handcuffs to emphasize mischievously some salacious moments of bondage between lead character Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) and his unwilling female companion. The 39 Steps is sprinkled with the dark, sardonic humor that enlivened much of Hitchcock’s cinema, such as when man-about-town Hannay quips to the anxious young foreign woman who requests sanctuary in his apartment for the night, “It’s your funeral,” only to be suddenly woken in the early hours as her dying body falls across him. In 1933, Hitchcock had contemplated filming the more elaborate Buchan spy adventure Greenmantle (1916). Secret Agent and Sabotage (both 1936), both from more celebrated literary sources, were bleaker in tone and less popular, but each includes essential Hitchcockian moments and motifs. Secret Agent is a World War I spy story concocted from elements of the celebrated Ashenden short tales (1928) of Somerset Maugham, but largely fails to unite the deliberate pacing and weariness of the original with the requirements of the contemporary thriller, and is generally regarded as the least satisfying of the filmmaker’s British spy pictures. Hitch later conceded that a disenchanted, cynical agent is an inappropriate figure for identification in a commercial thriller film. Sabotage was a simplified adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s classic The Secret Agent (1907) and the most distinguished literary source Hitchcock would ever adapt. The setting was updated and concentrates on the domestic aspects of the story of a double agent and saboteur. A famous drawn-out suspense sequence has the innocent young brother of the wife delivering a film canister in which is located a bomb, and when the boy delays he is killed. Audiences were appalled, and Hitchcock absorbed the important lesson of not misplacing shock for suspense: the viewer delighting in the latter, but distinctly wary of the former. The fast-paced and witty The Lady Vanishes (1938), made at Gainsborough and now a subsidiary of G-B, was another major achievement of the director’s British period and his final thriller of the British period. Characteristically, the director altered the original story, the train-bound mystery The Wheel Spins (1936) by Ethel Lina White, into a more overt espionage drama that involves the disappearance of an elderly woman on the journey, who, it transpires, has vital information to deliver to England. The picture was rapturously received and significantly attracted popular and critical acclaim in the United States, where Hitchcock secured the New York Critics’ Award as best director of the year.



In August 1937, the Hitchcock family made a trip to the United States, and it came as no surprise when, during the completion of The Lady Vanishes, the filmmaker signed a seven-year contract with Selznick International Pictures in Hollywood. Before he left, Hitchcock made the independently produced Jamaica Inn (1939), a costume film starring Charles Laughton. Although it was a commercial success, artistically it was a disappointing end to the director’s two decades in British cinema. An interesting historical footnote is that Ivor Montagu, the associate producer of the films The Man Who Knew Too Much, The 39 Steps, Secret Agent, and Sabotage, was a spy for the Soviets with the code name INTELLIGENTSIA. There is conclusive evidence showing him active in 1941–42 serving Soviet Military Intelligence (GRU), which ran the “X Group,” a high-level spy ring that, according to intelligence historian Nigel West, “supplied large quantities of valuable, mainly military information from good sources.” Montagu, the younger brother of Ewen Montagu a senior officer in Naval Intelligence and mastermind of the famous “The Man Who Never Was” deception, was later a recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize. Hitchcock returned to Britain to film on four further occasions, but he never again made a spy thriller in his native country. However, the celebrated filmmaker remained profoundly interested in the morality of espionage and the treatment of the subject on screen. There were a handful of unrealized productions in which Hitch had aimed to explore the troubling theme of defection and, more specifically, the Burgess and Maclean controversy, and in a different vein he unsuccessfully bid for the film rights to Graham Greene’s comedy espionage novel Our Man in Havana (1958). The filmmaker was particularly interested in the figure of Melinda Maclean, the American wife of the missing diplomat, who showed greater loyalty to her husband than to her country when she later joined him in Moscow. Her dilemma was reworked both as Torn Curtain (U.S., 1966), a film which explores the personal cost of espionage, specifically the dangers for women attaching themselves to spies who are used as pawns in the grubby game of superpower rivalry, and Topaz (U.S., 1969), in which a French agent, André Devereaux, is required by the Central Intelligence Agency to “defect” to the United States to assist them in unearthing Soviet moles buried within the French government, and whose wife knows nothing of the intrigue. It has also been suggested that Torn Curtain and Topaz, as well as Marnie (U.S., 1964, through the casting of Sean Connery), should be understood as Hitchcock’s reply to the phenomenon of James Bond in the 1960s. While responding to the new commercial prospects offered by the boom in spy pictures, he wished to reassert his status as the originator of the movie espionage thriller, as well as impose his characteristically psychological approach on the modern style of “comic strip” spy adventures. However, Hitchcock’s three films were relative critical and commercial failures and found to be old-



fashioned in contrast with the exciting James Bond pictures and the serious new spy cinema of The Ipcress File (1965) and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1966). Overall, though, with his British and American espionage pictures, Hitchcock can justifiably be called “the genre’s leading auteur.” Alfred Hitchcock was nominated five times for Academy Awards as Best Director, but only ever won the honorary Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1967. In 1968, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Directors Guild of America, in 1971 a Fellowship of the British Film Academy, and in 1979 the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Film Institute. In 1980, shortly before his death, he was knighted. HOLMES, SHERLOCK. Legendary fictional detective. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Victorian and Edwardian detective is widely assumed to be the most recognizable literary character of all time. He first appeared in the adventure A Study in Scarlet (1887), alongside his friend and helper Dr. John Watson, and went on to feature in a further 56 short stories and three novels, becoming in the process a cultural phenomenon and spawning many imitations. Holmes was involved in a number of cases that touched on espionage and intrigue and conspiracies and plots that endangered the safety of the realm or threatened European dynasties. “A Scandal in Bohemia” was the first of the Sherlock Holmes short stories, published in the Strand Magazine in July 1891, and shortly after in the collection The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892). Here, Holmes is engaged to avert scandal falling on a royal household in Central Europe. While ruin is averted, Holmes is outwitted by the antagonist, Irene Adler, thereafter always referred to by Holmes as “the woman.” For its hint at fallibility and desire, the story has fascinated Sherlockians. “The Naval Treaty,” the longest of all the short stories, was first published in the Strand Magazine in two parts in October and November 1893, and in the collection The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes of the same year. In the case, Holmes and Watson are engaged to solve the mystery of stolen government papers destined for a foreign power. “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans” was first published in the Strand Magazine of December 1908, and later appeared in the collection His Last Bow (1917). The case involves Holmes and Watson in the effort to prevent the secret plans for a new submarine reaching the Germans. The story is widely regarded as a classic of detective fiction and features an appearance by Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft. “His Last Bow” was first published in the Strand Magazine in September 1917, and also appeared in the collection His Last Bow. The story has the patriotic Holmes come out of retirement and embark on undercover service in the Great War, pitted against Von Bork, the most deadly secret agent of the kaiser. Some of the later Sherlock Holmes pastiches involve espionage, such as Brian Freemantle’s The Holmes Inheri-



tance (2003) and The Holmes Factor (2005), which has Sebastian Holmes, the son of the master detective, working for the national interest around the period of World War I. Each of the classic Conan Doyle cases has been dramatized on screen. There was a silent film version of “A Scandal in Bohemia,” produced in Great Britain in 1921 and starring Ellie Norwood as Holmes, and a British television dramatization starring Jeremy Brett in 1984. The story also appeared under the title The Royal Scandal in 2001, featuring Matt Frewer as the great detective. “The Naval Treaty” was filmed with Ellie Norwood in 1922; it was dramatized also on British television with Peter Cushing in 1968 and with Jeremy Brett in 1984. “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans” was filmed with Ellie Norwood in 1922 and on television with Jeremy Brett in 1988. “His Last Bow” has so far only been dramatized on screen by the indefatigable Ellie Norwood in 1923. The series of screened adventures made at Universal in Hollywood during World War II—played by Basil Rathbone in modern dress—engaged the detective in the secret war against the Nazis, and titles such as Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror and Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (both U.S., 1942) made their contribution to the wartime propaganda of the period. The later pastiche The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), directed by Billy Wilder and starring Robert Stephens, drew on aspects of both “A Scandal in Bohemia” and “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans” for its elaborate tale of a female foreign agent, secret trials of a submarine in Loch Ness, and the official machinations of Mycroft. Holmesians, in the fancy of the creed, have speculated on what the great detective was actually up to during the “missing period” between his disappearance at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland, as told in the story “The Final Problem” (1893), and his reappearance sometime later as recounted in “The Adventure of the Empty House” (1903). There are claims that Holmes, under the direction of his brother Mycroft, an official of Her Majesty’s Government, was sent to the very secretive society of Tibet to obtain important intelligence about the country. This might have been of crucial help to Major Francis Younghusband for his official expedition into Tibet and entry into the forbidden city of Lhasa, and it seems that Holmes had contributed to the “Great Game” that was being played out in Asia. The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, contemporary fictional detectives who regularly appeared in the short story magazines, also investigated cases involving missing secret plans and the like. Martin Hewitt, investigator, doggedly pursued “The Case of the Dixon Torpedo” (1894, Arthur Morrison); Romney Pringle, the case of “The Submarine Boat” (1903, Clifford Ashdown); Newton Moore, the case of “The Mazaroff Rifle” (1900, Fred White); and Thorpe Hazell, “The Affair of the German Despatch Box” (1912, Victor L. Whitechurch). Later writers of the Golden Age of British crime fiction


HORLER, SYDNEY (1888–1954)

sometimes turned their hands to espionage stories, as with Agatha Christie with The Secret Adversary (1922) and The Seven Dials Mystery (1929), Nicholas Blake with The Smiler with the Knife (1939), Margery Allingham with Traitor’s Purse (1940), and Michael Innes with The Secret Vanguard (1940). HORLER, SYDNEY (1888–1954). Novelist. Horler was born in Leytonstone, northeast of London; he worked as a journalist and served in the propaganda section of Air Intelligence toward the end of World War I before turning to fiction writing for a living and publishing his first novel in 1921. A plump, jolly, and bespectacled figure, he quickly became one of the most popular thriller writers of the age, a contemporary and equal of such giants as E. Phillips Oppenheim and Edgar Wallace. Horler, wishing to stress this affinity, purchased the latter’s writing desk and Dictaphone following his death in 1931. An ardent self-publicist, letter-writer to the press, upholder of traditional values and social relationships, and moralist (with a special abhorrence for the French Riviera), Horler wrote around 150 novels extolling the virtues of clean, virile young heroes, men like “Tiger” Standish (the Honourable Timothy Overbury Standish, son of the Earl of Quorn), and saw these as an antidote to the writing of “half-baked Oxford undergraduates, man-obsessed old maids, homosexuals with polished periods, and pin-heads of all descriptions.” Judging by the huge sales of his books, the popular reading public shared the thriller writer’s prejudices, and a gratified Horler had declared that he would sooner be read in Wapping than Bloomsbury. Horler was essentially a writer of mysteries and thrillers, his stories populated by upstanding young heroes driving Bentleys, pretty girls sensibly attired, jewel thieves, and society types. His typical milieu of the Côte d’Azur, Paris, and London sometimes led him into the rarefied world of secret agents and espionage, with stories such as False-Face (1926, the story that introduced the antagonist Baron Veseloffsky, “the most dangerous agent in Europe”), The Curse of Doone (1928), Miss Mystery (1928), The Secret Service Man (1929), The Spy (1931), The Secret Agent (1934), The Traitor (1936), Tiger Standish Steps on It (1940), The High Game (1950), and Death of a Spy (1953). Fairly typical is the story Chipstead of the Lone Hand (1928), in which amateur gentleman hero Bunny Chipstead once again comes to the aid of Sir Robert Heddingly, chief of the British Secret Service. Chipstead owns a flat in Paris, an apartment in New York, and a pied-à-terre in St. James, London; he is accustomed to traveling first class, promotes tea drinking to one of the finer arts, smokes a pipe (an infallible marker of virile masculinity and decency), and serves unofficially for both the British and U.S. Intelligence Services (“for the sheer thrill of the game” as the story puts it). In this adventure, Bunny is once again up against the master criminal “The Disguiser,” who has kidnapped Heddingly from a sanatorium.



One of the most popular and prolific authors of the Golden Age of British crime fiction, Horler is barely read today. One recent critic complained of “wooden characters and high color.” Between the years 1925 and 1953, Horler never published fewer than three books of fiction in any year, while in 1951 alone he managed 10 novels. Never afraid to put himself before his public, he wrote three volumes recording his viewpoints and experiences: Excitement: An Impudent Autobiography (1933), Strictly Personal: An Indiscreet Diary (1934), and More Strictly Personal: Six Months of My Life (1935). HOT ENOUGH FOR JUNE. See THE NIGHT OF WENCESLAS. HOUSEHOLD, GEOFFREY (1900–1988). Novelist. Geoffrey Edward West Household was born in Clifton, a well-to-do suburb of Bristol, and studied English at Oxford. He worked at various professions and jobs in Romania, Spain, the Near East, and South America before turning more seriously to writing, contributing radio plays for CBS in New York and publishing his first novel, The Third Hour, in London in 1937. The classic “hunted man” novel Rogue Male followed in 1939, the story of a big game hunter who conspires to put an unnamed European dictator in his gun sight. Household claims he got the idea for the story while listening to the news on the radio announcing the appeasement of Hitler at Munich in 1938. This made him “wild with anger . . . and I began to think how much I would love to kill him.” During World War II, Household, who had knowledge of European languages, served on a British military mission in Romania and later in field security as part of Security Intelligence Middle East in Egypt, Greece, Palestine, Syria, and Iraq, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Household continued to write popular, well-crafted thrillers after the war. The High Place (1950), in which a British Intelligence officer in Syria deals with a band of international anarchists; Olura (1965), in which British Intelligence seeks to stem the rise of Arab terrorism against Israel; and Doom’s Caravan (1971), a wartime tale in which a British agent tackles a Nazi plot to take over the Middle East, all drew on Household’s familiarity with the region. Others are framed in the author’s “hunted man” specialty and include Fellow Passenger (1955), Dance of the Dwarfs (1958), The Lives and Times of Bernado Brown (1973), and Watcher in the Shadows (1960). It is with the form of the human hunt or chase that Household is best remembered and regarded. According to one critic, “he occupies an especially interesting place in the history of the genre because of his knack of combining the atmosphere of open-air virility that distinguishes [John] Buchan’s work with the interest in political anxiety and private terrors that characterize more



recent contributions to the form.” A Time to Kill (1951), Red Anger (1975), and The Last Two Weeks of Georges Rivac (1978) are thrillers with a Cold War background. In 1982, Household published Rogue Justice, a sequel to Rogue Male, which now reveals the name of the protagonist as Raymond Ingelram and has him fighting against the Nazis in Europe alongside a group of Polish guerillas. Tales of Adventures (1952) is a collection of short stories, some of which have an espionage dimension. He published an autobiography as Against the Wind in 1958, and this gives details of his wartime intelligence role. THE HUMAN FACTOR. Novel and motion picture. The Human Factor is the final spy novel of Graham Greene and was first published in 1978. Maurice Castle is in his early 60s and serves as a middle-ranking desk officer in the Secret Intelligence Service, heading the small department in London that attends to intelligence in the backwater of southern Africa. Some years earlier, he had served as a field officer in South Africa, but his networks had become compromised and he fled with one of his agents, a black woman named Sarah, whom he married and acted as father to her then unborn son. Black South African communists had made it possible for Maurice and Sarah to escape, and in gratitude, Castle provides intelligence on African matters to the Soviets. British Intelligence eventually discovers the leak, from a defector in place in Russia, and the department is subjected to a security check. Circumstantial evidence casts suspicion on Davis, the likeable if innocuous deputy of Castle, and to avoid yet another embarrassing scandal in national security, it is decided to kill the suspected double agent with a new strain of germ and blame it on cirrhosis of the liver. The mild Castle is appalled, but he sees the death as a chance to step away from his duplicitous role. However, he is suddenly confronted with a former antagonist, Cornelius Muller of the South African Intelligence Service (BOSS), and he is now required to work with him as an ally on the operation Uncle Remus. Knowing the great cost to himself and his family, Castle passes on to the Soviets the new secrets he acquires and, amid great anxiety and confusion, allows himself to be taken to Moscow for safety. Isolated and lonely, he waits there forlornly for his beloved Sarah and their boy, and a vindictive British Secret Service will not allow them to join him. The Human Factor is unusual for presenting a traitor as the sympathetic character and demonizing the SIS, and it is intriguing for the way it blends experience with fiction. In a brief prologue, Greene disavows any possibility of meaningful overlap of spy fiction and spy reality, but he then teasingly quotes from Hans Christian Andersen that “out of reality are our tales of imagination fashioned.” The novel, which makes several references to traitor spies such as George Blake, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, John Vassall,



and the Portland Spies, is usually credited as a version of the Kim Philby narrative; Greene knew the double agent and controversially acted as a public apologist for him. The Human Factor contains other elements of the Greene biography, such as “secret service” in Africa and use of the location of Berkhamsted where Greene had been raised. Greene the Catholic author includes a passage in which the emotionally overburdened Castle seeks release through “confession,” suggesting the similarity in the relationships between priest/parishioner and double agent/control. Greene, in a riff on the famous comparison by E. M. Forster regarding loyalty to one’s country or to one’s friends, is concerned to investigate the “human factor” in espionage. The friendless Castle chooses loyalty to his family and is told by his wife: “We have our own country. You and I and Sam. You’ve never betrayed that country, Maurice.” The characters in the story are typically lonely and suffer from solitude, the occupational hazard of the spy, and symbolized by Castle reading Robinson Crusoe when isolated in Moscow. For the novelist Anthony Burgess, The Human Factor, which Greene claimed to have been one of the most difficult to write, “is as fine a novel as he has ever written—concise, ironic, acutely observant of contemporary life, funny, shocking, above all compassionate.” For many it is among the last of the truly great spy novels and is placed first on John G. Cawelti and Bruce A. Rosenberg’s list of “The Greatest Spy Stories,” where the literary scholars praise it as “a compelling tragic novel and one of the most powerful artistic treatments of espionage in the history of the spy story.” Joseph Losey approached Greene for the film rights to The Human Factor with the possibility of Harold Pinter to write the script, but he lost out to the great Hollywood filmmaker Otto Preminger who produced and directed the screen version in Great Britain in 1979. The picture was made with a deal of trouble during a period of great difficulty in the professional life of Preminger: there were financing problems, which meant the filmmaker had to keep the production going with his own money (through selling a house and some of his art collection), enforcing cuts to the script, and there were clashes with the leading man, the brilliant but irascible Nicol Williamson. The Human Factor turned out to be the director’s final picture. Greene had been approached to write the screenplay, and on his refusal, it was passed over to the respected British dramatist Tom Stoppard, who, in his respect for Greene, crafted a faithful treatment of the novel. Scenes were shot around Berkhamsted and London, as well as Kenya. The film was poorly reviewed in Britain but attracted better notices in the United States. Criticisms centered on miscasting (the African-born model Iman was thought hopeless in playing Sarah), on poor production values (which led to unconvincing backdrops of South Africa and Moscow), and on a curious restraint for a filmmaker celebrated for his mobile framing. The charitable view of Chris Fujiwara, the biographer of Preminger, suggests that



“the sense of tiredness, of going through the motions, that pervades much of The Human Factor, proves appropriate to the slack and static atmosphere in which Greene’s story is set and that gives it its special mood.” Greene was not charitable and refused the film’s inclusion in a retrospective of his filmed stories at the National Film Theatre, London, in 1984. See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. HUNTED. Television drama serial. Hunted is an action-oriented conspiracy thriller broadcast across eight one-hour episodes in 2012. The story centers on Sam Hunter (Melissa George), a female operative for Byzantium, a private intelligence and security agency which serves the business elite: “the 1 percent that matters.” In an opening action sequence, Sam rescues a British scientist held captive in Tangiers, but she is shortly afterward set up and shot. Thought dead, she convalesces in Scotland and returns to Byzantium a year later, where she is put undercover as a nanny in the household of Jack Turner (Patrick Malahide), a criminal millionaire. There follows a complex series of plot twists, turns, and revelations relating to the securing of a huge contract for a dam in Pakistan, various corporate crimes and conspiracies, murders, continuing unexplained attempts on Sam’s life, and her pregnancy. The ruthless Turner is eventually subdued but shadowy conspirators remain; to protect Sam, her death is faked, and she returns to Scotland with her newborn child. Hunted was created by the American Frank Spotnitz, produced by Kudos productions, and made for the BBC and the American cable broadcaster Cinemax. Spotnitz had enjoyed a long association with The X-Files (U.S., 1995–2002), and Kudos had previously made the hugely successful espionage series Spooks (2002–2011). Hunted poses many interesting moral issues regarding security and private interests in the 21st century, and followed in the wake of public-private partnerships in security in the effort to establish “resilience” in the face of strategic terrorism and threats to national infrastructure and economic well-being, the public face of which is Project Griffin. Byzantium operates according to some arrangement with MI6 and under a framework of “official governance,” but its agents appear to have a license to kill and are expendable for the sake of the mission. Spotnitz wanted to explore the world of corporate power and responsibility, especially how matters of accountability could be subverted in the framework of privatized security and intelligence. He expressed his concern in an interview: “But when you’re in private security you’re being paid to do a job, right and wrong don't figure into it. You’re not even told who your client is; you don't know if you’re working for a good guy or a bad guy. Maybe you shouldn’t succeed. Maybe it would be a bad thing for the world if you did.” In the drama, the chief executive of Byzantium expounds on contemporary corpo-



rations and political power, explaining to an MI6 officer: “The men who employ me use their power and influence to appoint the government whose orders you follow. You’ve been bought and paid for . . . just as I have!” Hunted was expensively produced; shot on location in Morocco, Scotland, Wales, and London; and featured elaborate action sequences. The Telegraph likened the show to “the Bourne films wearing lipstick and a floaty scarf,” and indeed Spotnitz had started with the idea of a female Jason Bourne. Reviews in Great Britain tended to be poor, criticizing the underpowered acting and some clichéd writing and characterization; but were better in the United States, where the “slick suspense” was appreciated and the show was felt to be thoughtful. Hunted was only moderately popular in Britain, and ratings declined during the run of the serial. There were plans to shoot a second season centered on Berlin; however, the BBC eventually declined on this, while Cinemax announced it would go forward alone, possibly with a spin-off series featuring the character of Sam Hunter. See also ETHICS AND MORALITY OF ESPIONAGE; WOMEN AND SPY FICTION.

I I WAS A SPY!. Book and motion picture. I Was a Spy! is the memoir of Marthe McKenna, first published in 1932. As Marthe Cnockaert, she had experienced the German invasion and occupation of Belgium in World War I. With some medical training, Cnockaert served as a nurse, a useful cover for her clandestine activities for British Intelligence. In what today would pass as a melodramatically framed account, the young woman tells of the terrible shock, brutalities, and privations of the invasion and occupation—of how she was recruited to intelligence work as agent “Laura” and of the nerve-racking covert operations she carried out under the noses of the German military in the town of Roulers. As well as the routine work of passing on information about troop movements and deployments, she recounts such special missions and successes as helping British wounded to escape from hospital back to their lines, directing the Allies to bomb a train carrying armaments, the arrival and identification of poison gas canisters in the sector, the pinpointing of a field telephone connected to an agent behind the British lines, acquiring a special report on new military aircraft, the unsavory task of accompanying a senior German officer to Brussels with the hope of discovering the details of a planned visit by the kaiser to Roulers, and the sabotage of a munitions dump. It was this last operation late in 1915 that eventually led to the arrest of Cnockaert, her sentence of death by firing squad by a German military court, and the agonizing wait before the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the commander in chief of Areas under Occupation. I Was a Spy! is the best known of the many accounts and memoirs published after World War I dealing with secret agents of each of the belligerent armies. Most of these were fanciful and were issued under such titles as My Adventures as a German Secret Service Agent (Horst von der Goltz, 1917), Secrets of the German War Office (Dr. Karl Graves, 1914), Memoirs of a Spy (Nicholas Snowden, 1932), Spies of the Great War (Edwin T. Woodhall, 1932), Secret Service on the Russian Front (Max Wild, 1932), and All’s Fair: The Story of the British Secret Service behind the German Lines (Henry Landau, 1934). The remarkable experiences of Marthe Cnockaert only reached the public by accident. The writer E. E. P. Tisdall on a walking 209



holiday in Belgium chanced upon Marthe McKenna, now married to a former British army officer, and convinced her to publish her account. The book was issued with a foreword by Winston Churchill, secretary of state for war, 1918–21, and who in 1919 had formally conveyed to Marthe the appreciation of King George V. The Times found I Was a Spy! an “unforgettable picture of invaded Belgium.” I Was a Spy (without the exclamation mark) was filmed by the GaumontBritish Corporation in 1933; it was directed by Victor Saville and starred Madeleine Carroll as Marthe Cnockaert. The picture commences with an extract from Winston Churchill’s foreword to the book, which reads, in part, “Marthe Cnockaert fulfilled in every respect the conditions which make the terrible profession of a spy dignified and honourable.” This had the effect of establishing the historical authenticity of the story, providing official endorsement of the heroic deeds, and countering the residual suspicion and approbation of spying that still pertained at the time. The account is taken up in 1915, after the invasion of Belgium, and the agent’s extended and eventful experiences are simplified for the purposes of a film story. Thus, the incidents of the gas canisters and the sabotage of the munitions dump are collapsed into a single operation. While many characters are retained from the written account, the German commandant (Conrad Veidt) and the hospital orderly Stephan (Herbert Marshall, Alphonse in the book) are given far greater prominence. The film fabricates a romance between Marthe and Stephan, and has the latter sacrifice himself to save Cnockaert from the firing squad. Perhaps most disappointingly, the film reduces the agency of the female spy, making her reliant on Stephan for plans and ideas, and introducing even more melodrama, as when on operation in Brussels, this time accompanying the commandant, she loses her virtue, something she was able to stave off bravely in the book. I Was a Spy was a notable British film of its time, featuring important stars who had played in Hollywood and European movies, and included an impressive and convincing outdoor set of the Grand Place of Roulers built on the back lot of the Welwyn Studio. I Was a Spy conformed to the general antiwar mood prevalent in the period. A scene showing the British bombing German soldiers during a church parade was thought daring at the time, and the carnage wrought by poison gas are atrocities perpetrated by each side. The Observer praised the film as a “study of conflicting loyalties,” one “that denies hysteria and keeps resolutely free from sentiment,” and a picture directed by Saville with an “austere passion.” See also DAWN; SPY; WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. IN THE SECRET STATE. Novel and television drama. In the Secret State is the debut novel of Robert McCrum, first published in 1980. The setting is C Directorate, a top secret data collection and analysis section within the British Security Service. Frank Strange, the section head, is given the push



by his seniors and, deeply suspicious, commences his own inquiry into the recent suicide of Lister, an analyst. He is aided by the donnish Quitman, his young protégé, who is able to provide his former boss with classified information. Against strong resistance, Strange reveals that the sensitive data compiled at C Directorate is being used by an unscrupulous colleague and new section head for commercial gain, even to the extent of providing arms dealers with details of terrorists. Lister had been murdered because he had stumbled onto the scam and had to be silenced. In addition, the chief of the Directorate is a dangerous reactionary who sees the “real war” as being with the “subversives” who seek to undermine the country and his way of life. He therefore attempts to use information held within the data bank to discredit left-wing MPs and anyone who would oppose a clampdown on civil liberties and promote open democracy. Strange is killed by a car bomb, but not before he can get the details of the conspiracies to Quitman, a responsible senior officer. In the Secret State is an early example of the “secret state” thriller, which would come to prominence during the 1980s. The setting is a Great Britain in social and economic breakdown. Strikes, street crime, social unrest, rubbishstrewn streets, and terrorism provide a backdrop of fear, decay, riots, shortages, and disillusionment to the story. A symbolic contrast is offered between Quitman’s scholarly interest in knightly chivalry and the corrupt Machiavellian world of the British Secret Service. At one point in the story, a character volunteers, “Telling lies for the state is what we do all the time, isn’t it, Frank?” In the Secret State dramatizes the emerging fears regarding accountability of secret government departments, the misuse of personal data, the prying of the state into the private lives of citizens, the selfish actions of those in positions of authority who claim to serve the national interest, the abandonment of “liberal democratic niceties,” and assorted “dirty tricks.” The novel also dramatizes the intense professional ambition and competition of those serving in British Intelligence. Careerism and envy drive staff who ruthlessly seek promotion, power, and influence, and who delight in putting down a rival. The author said of his story, “I took the familiar genre of the spy thriller and made it carry much more of a load than it normally would.” Robert McCrum is a novelist, journalist, and editor who has written successfully on aspects of the English language as well as a biography of P. G. Wodehouse. He wrote further political thrillers with Mainland (1992), The Psychological Moment (1994), and Suspicion (1997). In the Secret State was adapted for television in 1985, aired in the BBC’s prestigious Screen Two single-play drama strand, starred Frank Finlay as Strange and Matthew Marsh as Quitman, and was shot using locations in London, Southampton, Dorset, and Cornwall. It was described as a “thriller, with keyboards, entry-codes and telephones as its lethal weapons” and, as such, echoed the acclaimed Bird of Prey thrillers of 1982 and 1984. In the



Secret State adds to this presentation of technology a concern over excessive secrecy; it warns of a government that is more concerned to increase its already centralized authority than its citizens’ standard of living. The finale of the dramatization is more chilling than the novel, ending with Quitman, as with Strange before him, the object of permanent scrutiny, retreating indoors away from the constant gaze of sinister men with binoculars. Reviews were generally supportive: though she found the story complicated, Nancy BanksSmith, writing in the Guardian, appreciated a situation of “an aging man investigating with accelerating horror his life’s work” and welcomed this as “a touching variation on the ordinary thriller.” THE INNOCENT. Novel and motion picture. The Innocent, first published in 1990, is an espionage story written by Ian McEwan, a major British writer of the late 20th century. The action is set in the mid-1950s and deals with Leonard Marnham, a young post office technician sent to Berlin; he is seconded to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under the supervision of Bob Glass and instructed to work on a highly secret project, a tunnel beneath the city under the Russian sector from which the Anglo-American alliance will tap into Soviet military telephone and telegraph communications. Lonely and doing repetitive work, the shy and immature Leonard finds companionship, romance, and a sexual awakening with the divorced Maria, a Berliner who lives in periodic fear of her abusive former husband, Otto. Leonard’s settled world collapses when Otto steals into their bedroom, fights with Leonard, and is killed by Maria. Fearing the police, the couple decides to dispose of the body; there follows a grisly scene in which the corpse is dismembered, and a confused Leonard ends up stowing two cases of body parts in the tunnel. Worrying that they will be discovered, Leonard gives away the location of the tunnel. The tunnel is stormed by the Russians and the Briton has a nervous wait to see if the Soviets will make public the grisly discovery. Leonard and Maria are estranged by the recent experience, and he flies home to London and a new life. A postscript brings the story forward to summer 1987. Leonard is visiting Berlin and looking over his old haunts. He has been prompted by a letter from Maria in which she discloses the events in Berlin following the departure of Leonard and her life in the United States where she settled with Bob Glass. She reveals that the secret of the tunnel was betrayed by George Blake, a British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) official in Berlin (whom Leonard had casually told about the “decoding equipment”); Blake had passed this onto the Soviets and thus provoked the raid. Leonard resolves to visit the recently widowed Maria in the United States and possibly return with her to Berlin.



The Berlin Tunnel was code-named GOLD by the SIS and STOPWATCH by the CIA. The initial planning by the British commenced in 1953 and followed a similar successful minor operation in Vienna. The complex construction and technical challenge was largely met by the United States, and communications interception was achieved between May 1955 and April 1956 at which point Russian and German engineers stumbled across the chamber. McEwan drew the details of his story from David C. Martin’s Wilderness of Mirrors (1980); he uses two historical characters in William Harvey, the CIA station chief in Berlin, and George Blake, the MI6 officer who betrayed the tunnel. A detailed account of the extraordinary operation by David Stafford has now been published as Spies beneath Berlin (2002). The Innocent is an unconventional love story, a black comedy, and historical spy fiction, and in this unusual combination the story draws together the three main elements of McEwan’s literary style and concerns as they had developed to that point: the dark nightmares, power of love, and the possibility of redemption of the early writing; the greater social, political, and historical awareness of more recent years; and an optimism in the hope of renewal, the promise of reunion. Sanford Sternlicht pinpointed The Innocent as “a macabre comedy of manners about twentieth-century nationality, sexuality, and political mores.” The two main themes of the novel are the suspicions, prejudices, and tensions at the heart of the Anglo-American alliance and innocence in its varied meanings. Ian McEwan recently published the historical spy novel Sweet Tooth (2012), about a young female graduate groomed by MI5 and sent on an undercover operation in Great Britain in 1972. An Anglo-German film adaptation of The Innocent with a script by McEwan was produced in 1993 but did not appear in English-speaking countries until 1995. The picture suffered from some bizarre casting, with the Welshman Anthony Hopkins playing the American CIA agent Bob Glass, the American Campbell Scott playing the Englishman Leonard Marnham, and the Italian Isabella Rossellini playing the German Maria. Hopkins in particular was accused of an uncertain, wandering accent. By all accounts, the production was an unhappy experience, with the producers demanding changes in the presentation of the story to foreground the love affair and downplay the “dark elements.” The director was the acclaimed John Schlesinger, who had brilliantly contributed to An Englishman Abroad (1983) and A Question of Attribution (1992), but described The Innocent as a “ghastly experience.” For some obscure reason, the spy George Blake is here named Geoffrey Black. The ending of the story is altered in two significant ways: first, there is an airport scene added where Len and Maria painfully separate, and this seems a gratuitous nod to a similar scene in Casablanca (U.S., 1942), in which Rossellini’s mother, the great Hollywood actress Ingrid Bergman, had played her most famous role; and a reuniting of the couple in Berlin amid the joyous scenes of the Wall dividing East and West coming



down, which provides the definite happy ending that the producers seemingly required. The film’s tagline—“At a time of intrigue. In a world of secrets. The only thing you can trust is your heart”—aptly captures the intention of the producers. See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. INNOCENT BYSTANDERS. Novel and motion picture. Innocent Bystanders, a spy thriller by James Munro first published in 1969, is the fourth and final story to feature the secret agent John Craig. Craig has been the toughest and most expert operative in Department K of MI6; however, a recent assignment had seen the agent nearly destroyed through electrical torture of his genitals, and he was sidelined by Chief Loomis. Craig is recalled to the Department for one more operation: to track down a former Russian agronomist, Aaron Kaplan, who has escaped from a Siberian prison camp and is badly wanted by the Americans who will provide Loomis with classified information in return for the scientist. Craig chases up leads in New York and gets the information he needs from Miriam Loman, who claims to be a family friend, and he sets off to Turkey with a reluctant Loman in search for Kaplan. Agents of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, the Russian KGB, and two inexperienced British operatives of Department K, Andrew Royce and Joanna Benson, are also interested in Marcus Kaplan. Craig no longer trusts Loomis. Craig remains one step ahead of the opposition, just about; he locates Kaplan and heads for Cyprus, where he holes up with his captive, Loman, and Royce and Benson. There they are beset by a trio of Russian Jews, now in the pay of the KGB, men who had been betrayed by Kaplan in the prison camp and who had vowed revenge. Craig narrowly wins out and sets off to do a deal for Kaplan with Loomis. Craig wants money and out of the Service; he gets the money but is tricked and summoned reluctantly back to London. John Craig had previously appeared in The Man Who Sold Death (1964), Die Rich Die Happy (1965), and The Money that Money Can’t Buy (1967), and was referred to in the Sun newspaper as “the best man in the spy field since Bond.” James Munro was an alternative pen name for James Mitchell, who, under his own name, created the popular secret agent Callan, a character on television for four seasons (1967–72) and then in five novels (1969–2002). The film Innocent Bystanders starred Stanley Baker, was scripted by James Mitchell, and was released by Paramount Pictures in 1972. The picture was shot on locations in London, Spain, and New York and was planned as the first in a series of John Craig thrillers. The film, a close approximation of the novel, was directed by the maverick talent of Peter Collinson and was slick, stylish, and violent. The picture gets off to a thrilling start as the titles unfold over an exciting nighttime breakout from a Soviet labor camp. The emphasis is on the eccentric in the opening scene of the British and U.S.



Intelligence chiefs discussing the possibility of acquiring Kaplan, set over a bizarre dinner in Loomis’s (Donald Pleasence) club and a brisk walk around tourist London, shot using dramatic compositions and a fish-eye lens. This is punctuated with jolting snatches of Craig and fellow female agent Benson (Sue Lloyd) energetically blasting away at targets. Collinson maintains visual and dramatic interest in the scenes set in London and New York, using metropolitan architecture, steel and glass, long echoing corridors, and low camera angles to build a sense of corporate menace, not unlike the contemporary conspiracy thrillers coming to prominence in Hollywood such as The Anderson Tapes (1971) and The Parallax View (1974). Unfortunately, Collinson seems to lose interest with the switch of location to Turkey, and the picture flattens out to become a routine adventure drama. A revised ending has Craig reverse the tables on Loomis, pocket the money, and fly out to Beirut and anonymity. The film’s tagline—“You don’t turn your back on anyone. Especially the partner who’s backing you up”—prioritizes the theme of betrayal in the dirty business of espionage. Monthly Film Bulletin considered the picture a “late afterthought to the Bond cycle,” and Derek Malcolm in the Guardian called it an “admixture of Bond and Callan”; other critics commented on the dark tone of this spy thriller and balked at what was thought to be excessive violence. George Melly at the Observer was struck by the picture’s resemblance to the early James Bond formula of the Ian Fleming novels, and as such, “good heartless stuff.” Preparing to recommend the film as “perfectly acceptable escapist rubbish,” he was ultimately put off by a “couple of extremely nasty and totally gratuitous sadistic sequences.” There were no further cinematic adventures of agent John Craig. THE IPCRESS FILE. Novel and motion picture. The Ipcress File, first published in 1962, is the debut novel of Len Deighton and considered a breakthrough story in spy fiction in terms of characterization and realism. The story is narrated by a nameless agent and begins with his transfer from a branch of Military Intelligence to a small but important civilian intelligence outfit, W.O.O.C.(P)., headed by a Colonel Dalby. He is immediately drawn into a conspiracy involving missing “Security Grade 1’s”—scientists, engineers, political advisers, and other people essential to the running of the country. An individual code-named JAY is suspected, and the investigation shifts from London, Beirut, and an American atomic test on a South Pacific atoll. Matters are further complicated when our agent is approached by his former senior officer, Colonel Ross, who offers secret information for sale, and when he begins to suspect that Dalby is not being straight with him. The only substantial clue that emerges is an audiotape of abstract, electronic sounds.



While witness to an American atomic test on Torke Atoll, our agent is shocked to find that he is under suspicion by both the British and the Americans of leaking information. Discretely following Dalby one night, he is suddenly arrested by the Americans and roughly interrogated, suspected of signaling to a Russian submarine and killing an American officer. He is further shocked when he is told he is being sent to Hungary in exchange for two captive American fliers. Sedated, our agent wakes up in a cell where he is treated brutally by East Europeans and told he will face a trial as an “enemy of the state.” Summoning up his last reserves of strength, the British agent subdues a guard, blows a main fuse to the building, and escapes through a window, only to be amazed to find himself in Wood Green, London. He soon gets onto Dalby and is unsurprised that his senior officer is in cahoots with JAY. All are caught in a net cast by Ross, who had been using our agent to flush out the conspirators. The useful JAY, who had been using thought reform techniques to bring well-placed men under his control, is incorporated into British Intelligence. Deighton was working as a commercial artist when he commenced writing the story as a diversion while on holiday in France. Untutored in literature, he claims he fell into his characteristic first-person style “as though I was writing a letter to an old, intimate and trusted friend.” The author also claimed an influence from his time at a smart, London advertising agency, spending his days with highly educated, witty public school types. In creating his intelligence unit W.O.O.C.(P)., he later wrote: “I took the social atmosphere of that sleek and shiny agency and inserted it into some ramshackle offices I once rented in Charlotte Street.” The Ipcress File, subtitled Secret File No. 1, incorporates some innovative stylistic devices. Explanatory footnotes and appendixes, giving details on characters, operations, and technology mentioned in the narrative, provide a “scholarly apparatus,” promoting a realism for the story. Each chapter is headed by an extract from a horoscope, which vaguely relates to the proceeding action. Deighton would retain such idiosyncratic stylistic features for subsequent novels featuring the “agent with no name.” IPCRESS is the acronym for Experimental Induction of Psychoneuroses in Personality and Behaviour Disorders, a book our agent consults in researching brainwashing techniques. The Ipcress File was very well received; the Evening Standard praised it as “a novel of terrifying originality by an ingenious and idiosyncratic writer of great talent which reveals the double-edged world of espionage as it really is.” Many reviews made a favorable comparison with Ian Fleming; the Daily Express found it a thriller that “outbonds Bond,” and the Daily Sketch spied “a man to put Bond out of business.” The novel appeared a couple of weeks after the first James Bond film, Dr. No (1962), was screened in Great Brit-



ain. The Ipcress File was serialized in the Evening Standard and is placed 17th on John G. Cawelti and Bruce A. Rosenberg’s list of “The Greatest Spy Stories.” The film version of The Ipcress File was produced by Harry Saltzman, one of the producers of the James Bond pictures, and was offered as an antidote to the fanciful heroics of 007. The picture was shot on location in London, and the film story dispenses with the exotic locations of Beirut and the South Pacific that featured in the novel. The Ipcress File took the unusual step of acquiring two huge mansions in Grosvenor Gardens, Victoria, as the production base for the picture. The houses provided production offices and makeup and dressing rooms, as well as studio space for interiors required in the movie. The film was made with some style by director Sidney Furie, cinematographer Otto Heller, and production designer Ken Adam, and confirmed Michael Caine, who is provided with the character name of Harry Palmer, as a major international film star. Saltzman was initially unhappy that “Palmer” would be seen cooking, something he felt was a little too effeminate (it is Len Deighton’s hands preparing the food that the viewer sees in the close-ups), and he had to be persuaded by Caine and Deighton that the character should be allowed to wear glasses, something that Furie wittily exploits in the credit sequence when subjective shots from the character of a spectacleless Palmer are rendered out of focus. Caine spoke of how Saltzman went off to “de-gay” the script before shooting. Deighton had one significant dispute with the characterization of Palmer in the movie. As he recorded: “My disagreement with the depiction of Harry Palmer on the screen was the implausible suggestion that Harry was blackmailed into working for the secret intelligence service. Blackmailed! This is the “old boy network” (alumni of a boys’ school). These are people with tailored shirts and lace-up shoes. Despite the disrepute it suffered from harbouring traitors such as Philby—Westminster, Cambridge and the Athenaeum—the SIS retained this policy. Blackmailing a Harry Palmer into the service would have been unthinkable.” The Ipcress File, a big critical and commercial hit, was invited into competition at the Cannes Film Festival, and elsewhere won British Film Academy Awards for Best British Film, Best Art Direction, and Best Color Photography on a British Film. See also FUNERAL IN BERLIN; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS.

J THE JIGSAW MAN. Novel and motion picture. The Jigsaw Man by Dorothea Bennett is a spy novel first published in 1977. A prologue introduces Philip Kimberly, a dissolute British traitor spy who has outworn the patience of his Russian hosts. His obituary is printed in Moscow, and he is forcibly subjected to plastic surgery and instructed to return to England under guard; there he must relocate the secret portfolio he hid a decade before, which gives the names of Western agents in the pay of the Soviets. Aware that it is only the insurance provided by the sensitive documents that has kept him alive, he breaks free in London and arranges, under the cover of a Russian diplomat, to sell the portfolio to British Intelligence and passage to safety. In the ensuing days, Kimberly is wounded, contacts his daughter who helps him, and is pursued by both Russian and British Intelligence. The final exchange at Woburn Abbey Park, a center of wartime intelligence, between Kimberly and Commander Scaith, the head of the Secret Intelligence Service, is disrupted by a British traitor, Sir James Chorley, the deputy head of the Service and the long-term mole code-named Earthworm, who must not allow the incendiary documents to fall into Western hands. Chorley is killed and Kimberly hospitalized. In an epilogue, Kimberly and Scaith, the latter now retired with honors, enjoy a leisurely debriefing in a castle in Scotland, fantasizing about secret operations they could enact. The Jigsaw Man is a routine spy thriller, made interesting by its obvious allusions to the traitor spy Kim Philby. With what is presumably irony, the novel is dedicated to a list of traitors, including H. A. R. Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, George Blake, John Vassall, “all those not yet surfaced,” and to “My dear friends in the KGB.” A number of biographical details are given for Kimberly that readily suggest the parallel with Philby: a defection in 1963, a specialty in Soviet affairs and intelligence, and a magnetic and charismatic personality. Historical individuals such as Guy Burgess and Maurice Buckmaster of the wartime Special Operations Executive are referenced as part of the Kimberly legend to enhance the realism of the story.




Dorothea Bennett was the wife of film director Terence Young, and it was Young who directed the film version in 1984; the film was scripted by Jo Eisinger and starred Michael Caine as Kimberley. Production commenced in May 1982, and it was a troubled production from the start. It ran out of money halfway through shooting and was abandoned by its principal actors. The film was rescued when international businessman Mahmud Sipra stepped in early in 1983 with $5 million, but it did not make it to screens until 1984. The movie makes even more references to the long tradition of treachery in Great Britain, somewhat undermines the book’s careful allusions to Philby through mentioning the notorious double agent in a list of other traitor spies, and elevates Kimberley to a former director general of the British Secret Service. The Jigsaw Man has to be counted a disappointment considering the proven talent in its production. Terence Young and second unit director Peter Hunt were veterans of the James Bond films, Michael Caine an old hand at spy movies, Freddie Francis a leading cinematographer, and the supporting cast of Laurence Olivier, Robert Powell, and Susan George was strong. The Voice in the United States dismissed the picture as “probably the most garrulous and doddering spy movie ever made.” Finally, it is worth reporting an interesting anecdote. Sometime earlier in the 1970s, it came to the attention of Kim Philby in Moscow that Michael Caine was slated to play him in a movie. The famous spy supposedly quipped: “chap’s a cockney, how could he possibly play a person of that class?” See also THE CAMBRIDGE SPIES; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS; WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. JOHNNY ENGLISH and JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN. Motion pictures. The two Johnny English films (2003 and 2011) were produced by Working Title, a British film production company that has a track record of success in the international film market. The spy spoofs feature Rowan Atkinson, who had gathered a worldwide audience for his “Mr. Bean” comedies, as an inept agent of Her Majesty’s Government who, in the absence of anyone else, has to safeguard the interests of Queen and Country. The tagline for Johnny English warns the audience, “He Knows No Fear. He Knows No Danger. He Knows Nothing.” In the first film, English is on the trail of the Crown Jewels stolen at a reception following their recent refurbishment. There follows a series of calamities in which the hapless agent, accompanied by his sidekick Bough (Ben Miller, humorously pronounced “Boff”), mistakes targets, enters the wrong buildings, and confuses himself with his own gadgets; however, he uncovers a conspiracy that has the French businessman Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich), a frustrated claimant to the English throne who has stolen the jewels in a preliminary to announcing himself king. However, English is taken off the case for gross incompetence. Having forced the Queen to abdicate by threatening to shoot one of her corgis,



Sauvage gracefully accepts the invitation of the unsuspecting British government to assume the throne. Johnny is reassigned to the operation by the beautiful Lorna Campbell (Natalie Imbruglia), a special agent of Interpol, and the intrepid pair heads for Westminster Abbey to disrupt the coronation of the new king. During the farcical attempt to prevent the ceremony, Sauvage is revealed as an anti-British megalomaniac, and following a struggle, English is crowned king by mistake. The sequel Johnny English Reborn picks up the story of English seven years on. Following a botched operation in Mozambique, the bungling agent is in disgrace, dismissed from the Secret Service and undergoing a personal rehabilitation in a Shoalin monastery in Tibet. A new crisis demands his recall to MI7, and he is sent to the Far East with the novice agent Tucker (Daniel Kaluuya) to prevent an attempt on the life of the Chinese premier during important talks with the British. There follows the expected series of mishaps, misfortunes, and calamities. In the midst of these failings, English discovers that the duplicitous agent inside MI7 turns out to be Simon Ambrose (Dominic West), the brilliant, handsome Agent Number 1 and star of British Intelligence, and English infiltrates the Anglo-Chinese talks being held in Switzerland and saves the life of the premier. The Johnny English films were tremendously popular successes, the first installment earning over $160 million in the world market. With their impressive pre-credit action sequences, stylish titles, muscular music scores, and outrageous gadgets, the movies effectively draw their parody from the James Bond archetype. Individual set pieces in the English films are readily recognizable from Dr. No (1962), Goldfinger (1964), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). The screenwriters Robert Wade and Neal Purvis were regular contributors to the official James Bond films, from The World Is Not Enough (1999) to Spectre (2015), and this experience and familiarity is evident in the effective and affectionate parody of Johnny English. There is also a strong nod to the “Boys’ Own” adventure Where Eagles Dare (1969) in the staging of a thrilling fight on board an Alpine cable car; the English pictures similarly owe a debt to more recent action cinema, especially the Mission Impossible films (U.S., 1996–2011); the classic Pink Panther comedies (1963–78), featuring the incomparable Peter Sellers as the bungling French detective Inspecteur Clouzot: and, for Reborn, the exotic martial arts–espionage thriller Enter the Dragon (HK/U.S., 1973). Critics were predictably unimpressed by the antics on show, dismissing the pictures as infantile parodies in which “Mr. Bean does 007,” the results “depressing,” and which fail to rise above a “student revue-grade Bond film skit.” The character of the inept secret agent had originally been devised for a



series of television commercials in the 1990s advertising a leading credit card. The agent of MI7, then named Richard Latham and played by Atkinson, was similarly supported by his sidekick Bough.

K KARTUN, DEREK (1919–2005). Novelist. Derek Isidore Kartun was born into the cultured European Jewish bourgeoisie at Margate, Kent, the son of Anglo-Polish, Russian-French parents. His early employment included work in an advertising agency and writing scripts for “B” films produced at the Hollywood company MGM. During World War II, Kartun became a confirmed communist; he later wrote some polemical pamphlets and books supporting the new regimes of Eastern Europe and denouncing the United States, was appointed foreign editor of the Daily Worker, and became a leading figure of the left intelligentsia in London of the early 1950s. He withdrew his support for Soviet communism following the Russian invasion of Hungary in 1956. In the 1960s and 1970s, he served on the board of the Staflex clothing company, which experienced great success in the period and which unexpectedly stamped him as a captain of industry. Kartun’s spy stories are set in France and feature the series character Alfred Baum, an agent with the French Direction de la surveillance du territoire, the French equivalent of the FBI and MI5. The four stories—Beaver to Fox (1983), Flittermouse (1984), Megiddo (1987), and Safe House (1989)— have the disheveled Baum up against terrorists and dealing with defectors and sometimes working alongside British or Israeli Intelligence. The Courier (1985) is a thriller set in World War II involving the rescue of the gold of France from the Nazis. THE KEELER AFFAIR. See SCANDAL. KGB (KOMITET GOSUDARSTVENNOE BEZOPASNOSTI). Soviet Committee for State Security. The KGB, the “Sword and Shield” of the Communist Party, was established in 1954 and was the direct successor of such Soviet security and intelligence organizations as the Cheka, NKVD, and OGPU, and further back the czar’s Okhrana. The KGB was a powerful and ruthless organization of totalitarian domestic repression, intelligence, and foreign espionage and, as such, was greatly feared. It had great success in penetrating opposing intelligence agencies and damaging Western security, 223



but was itself badly hurt by a long series of defections of senior officers to the West. The espionage and intelligence role of the KGB was augmented by the rival Soviet Military Intelligence Service (GRU), and the secret intelligence services of the satellite countries, such as the East German Stasi, the Czech StB, and the Polish UB. The KGB and its predecessors have figured prominently in British spy fiction. In the late Victorian and Edwardian period, the czar’s secret police and military spies featured in many secret agent stories and tales of terror, before its role as adversary was usurped by the German Secret Service in the buildup to World War I. Representative examples are The Czar’s Spy (1905) by William Le Queux, The Maker of History (1906) by E. Phillips Oppenheim, and Under Western Eyes (1911) by Joseph Conrad. During the period of the Cold War from the late 1940s to the late 1980s, the KGB, rival Soviet intelligence organizations, and their fictional equivalents were the principal antagonists in British spy fiction. The best-known examples of this were the popular thrillers of Ian Fleming featuring the agent James Bond, who in the early stories has to confront agents of the deadly SMERSH, a ruthless counterintelligence agency. SMERSH featured in the adventures Casino Royale (novel 1953, film 2006), Live and Let Die (novel 1954, film 1973), From Russia with Love (novel 1957, film 1963; the first part of the story dealt with the elaborate planning within SMERSH to lure Bond to Istanbul, kill him, and discredit the British Secret Service), and Goldfinger (novel 1959, film 1964). In painstaking and elaborate operations, a Russian KGB operative is settled within British Intelligence in A Dandy in Aspic (novel 1966, film) by Derek Marlowe and Running Blind (novel 1970, TV 1979) by Desmond Bagley, where they can do maximum mischief. The stories Ring of Spies (film 1964), Tightrope (TV 1972), A Man Called Kyril (novel 1981, TV as Codename: Kyril, 1988) by John Trenhaile, and The Fourth Protocol (novel 1984, film 1987) by Frederick Forsyth follow KGB agents undertaking dangerous and complex missions on British soil. In the immediate postglasnost period and as the Soviet Union is breaking up, the comedy-drama serial Sleepers (1991) deals with two forgotten KGB agents left behind in Britain. A handful of Soviet intelligence officers are recurring characters in British spy fiction. The mysterious spy chief Karla is the great nemesis of the Secret Intelligence Service’s George Smiley; Karla is a distant antagonist and guiding hand behind the operations that Smiley seeks to contain and expose in John le Carré’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (novel 1974, TV 1979, film 2011) and The Honourable Schoolboy (1977), who is finally overcome in Smiley’s People (novel 1979, TV 1982). The more likable and human—yet Machiavellian—Colonel Stok is the antagonist of the British agent in Len Deighton’s Funeral in Berlin (novel 1964, film 1966) and Billion Dollar



Brain (novel 1966, film 1967) and plays a small role in the author’s Spy Story (novel 1974, film 1975). General Stepan Povin is in the unusual position of being a high-ranking officer of the KGB in Moscow, who, though loyal in many respects, provides the British with intelligence in the three novels The Man Called Kyril (novel 1981, TV as Codename: Kyril, 1988), The View from the Square (1983), and Nocturne for the General (1985) by John Trenhaile. The historical circumstances that involved the actual GRU officer Colonel Oleg Penkovsky providing the West with invaluable secrets in the early 1960s are the subject of the television drama Wynne & Penkovsky (1985). Some stories feature the security and intelligence frameworks of the Soviet satellite countries. Curtain of Fear (1953) by Dennis Wheatley, The Stone Roses (1959) by Sarah Gainham, and The Night of Wenceslas (1960, filmed as Hot Enough for June, 1964) by Lionel Davidson are set in Czechoslovakia; Ring of Spies (film 1964) dramatizes the actual case of Harry Houghton, a lowly member of the embassy staff in Warsaw who is compromised by the Polish UB into spying for it; and John le Carré’s Call for the Dead (1961, filmed as The Deadly Affair, 1966) and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (novel 1963, film 1966), Francis Clifford’s The Naked Runner (novel 1966, film 1967), and Gerald Seymour’s The Waiting Time (novel 1998, TV 1999) pit their protagonists against deadly agents of the East German Stasi. Some recent historical spy fiction has revisited the familiar territory of the Cold War and the classic confrontation between British and Soviet Intelligence. This is the case with Alan Judd’s Legacy (2002), in which a recent recruit to MI6 stumbles onto a KGB operation of secret arms and espionage caches in Great Britain in the early 1970s; John Lawton’s Old Flames (1996), which spins a story of MI6 treachery and KGB intrigue around the disappearance of Commander Crabb during the visit of Premier Khrushchev to Britain in 1956; and the television thriller serial The Game (2014) set in the early 1970s, in which a devious and elaborate plot by the KGB—involving sleeper agents who are meticulously secreted into positions of influence and intended over a long period to “capture” government—is thwarted by MI5 only at the last minute. The public image of the Soviet-British intelligence struggle has largely been one that has assumed KGB rather than British successes. Spy fiction has tended to endow Soviet Intelligence with a remarkable deviousness, tenacity, and omnipotence. Recent historical thinking, however, suggests a prominent paranoid streak in the Russian leadership, one which tended toward unreality and badly affected Soviet strategy and operations. There was a period during World War II, for example, when the Soviets believed the Cambridge Spies were part of an elaborate disinformation plot by the British, and disregarded



the remarkable intelligence that was being provided. Historian Christopher Andrew thus talks of a “frequently impressive Soviet intelligence collection,” but accompanied by a “dismal level of intelligence analysis.” KIM. Novel and television drama. Kim by Rudyard Kipling is both a classic of the literature of Empire and of historical spy fiction. It was initially published serially in the American McClure’s Magazine (December 1900–October 1901) and the British Cassell’s Magazine (January–November 1901) and, subsequently, as a novel in October 1901. The setting is the “Great Game,” an expression coined by Kipling in the novel and referring to the imperial struggle played out between Great Britain and Russia in central Asia in the period of the 1880s–1890s, and which Kipling claimed “never stops night or day.” Kim is the orphaned son of an Irish soldier, an urchin on the streets of Lahore, India, who passes for native. While serving as a disciple of an aged Tibetan Lama, Kim is acquainted with the “Great Game” when he is recruited by Mahbub Ali, a native operative for the British Secret Service, to carry a message to the head of British Intelligence in Umballa. The picaresque novel then recounts a series of adventures for Kim: the journey along the Great Trunk Road with the Lama; his time at an English school in Lucknow and his preparation for espionage as a surveyor; and the journey into the Himalayas with the Lama where Kim obtains valuable intelligence regarding the Russians. The story ends with the Lama finding his enlightenment and Kim facing the choice between a spiritual and a patriotic future. While there have been criticisms of Kim as a complete fabrication of a supposed British intelligence system in the subcontinent, the scholars Moran and Johnson pointed to the manner in which the espionage literature of the period reflected contemporary anxieties and aspirations. Thus Kim expressed widely held concerns regarding a Russian threat to the landward borders of India, especially through the North-West Frontier and Afghanistan; a feared Franco-Russian alliance, which would unite Britain’s main imperial rivals; internal subversives; and an imperial Islamophobia. An ad hoc yet widespread intelligence network was operated by the British in the region, which included the Indian Survey Department, boundary commissions, local Asian agents, and the use of Indian merchants “as the eyes and ears of the Empire.” Moran and Johnson referred to Kipling’s “idealized world” in Kim, “one where British Intelligence is alert to the dangers, operates within the substrata of native society, and thwarts the conspirators to maintain British security.” The great orientalist scholar Edward Said, noting the story’s power as propaganda, judged Kim “a masterwork of imperialism.” A recent historical account of imperial intelligence in central Asia is Peter Hopkirk’s The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia (1990).

KNIGHT, MAXWELL (1900–1968)


There has been a Hollywood movie version of Kim (1950), starring Errol Flynn as Mahbub Ali and Dean Stockwell as Kim, and a disappointing British television adaptation in 1984 starring Peter O’Toole as the Lama, Bryan Brown as Mahbub Ali, and Ravi Sheth as Kim. Kim is placed seventh on John G. Cawelti and Bruce A. Rosenberg’s list of “The Greatest Spy Stories,” where it is described as “one of the finest romantic spy novels, a dazzling embodiment of that mythical figure of the Englishman gone native.” See also GEOPOLITICS OF SPY FICTION. KNIGHT, MAXWELL (1900–1968). Senior MI5 officer and novelist. Charles Henry Maxwell Knight was born near Croydon, south London; he was largely brought up by a miserly uncle in Wales and served as a cadet on armed merchant ships during World War I. Afterward, he worked for a while as a teacher and journalist. Initially, Knight served informally for British Intelligence, penetrating the British fascist movement with which he had some sympathy. At MI5, which he formally joined in 1931, Knight took charge of the surveillance of extremists of the right and left, achieving great success in the penetration of the communist spy ring operating at the Woolwich Arsenal in 1938 and with the arrest of Tyler Kent in 1940, cipher clerk in the U.S. embassy in London who had been passing secrets to the Nazis. Knight’s insistence that communists had penetrated British Intelligence was unheeded and no doubt harmed his career as this was not what senior officers or politicians wanted to hear. John Bingham, who would become a noted crime novelist, was a junior to Knight at MI5. Knight wrote two thrillers in the 1930s. Crime Cargo (1934) and Gunmen’s Holiday (1935) were obvious attempts to rework the American hard-boiled style in a British setting. More important than the quality of the stories is the fact that a senior figure in British Intelligence should turn his hand to writing such fiction. The literary scholar Eric Homberger declared the novels “certainly of interest to students of popular culture, and of the mentality of the British intelligence community.” Knight, a student of the occult, ardent cricketer, and jazz enthusiast, later enjoyed some celebrity as a radio and early television naturalist (with the audience-friendly name of “Uncle Max”) and wrote a number of popular books on the subject. He was an eccentric who held a passion for exotic pets, had few qualms about burgling premises in the line of duty, and earned devoted loyalty from his agents. Knight was particularly successful with female agents; Olga Gray and Joan Miller infiltrated the Communist Party and the notorious Right Club, respectively. It has recently been revealed that the thrice-married Knight was a closet homosexual, a highly compromising situation for a spy chief, putting him at great risk of blackmail. Referred to by his colleagues as “M,” Knight was reputedly one of the models for Ian


KNIGHT, MAXWELL (1900–1968)

Fleming’s character of M, the spy chief in the popular James Bond stories. Knight was appointed OBE upon his retirement from MI5 in 1956. See also SPY AS NOVELIST.

L THE LABYRINTH MAKERS. See CHESSGAME. THE LADY VANISHES. Novel, motion pictures, and television drama. The Lady Vanishes (originally published as The Wheel Spins) by Ethel Lina White is a classic mystery story, first published in 1936 during the Golden Age of English crime fiction. Iris Carr is something of a headstrong and spoiled young woman, holidaying boisterously in southeastern Europe with a “crowd” of similarly minded types. She finds herself traveling back to England alone on an express train, aloof from other older British tourists whom she finds stuffy. She is drawn into conversation by a spritely spinster, Miss Froy, but Iris eventually nods off following a mild bout of sunstroke. When she awakens, she is distraught to find that the harmless English governess has disappeared and the other foreigners in the carriage claiming she never existed. Iris vows to solve the mystery and comes to suspect a conspiracy. An influential black-clad baroness holds sway over other passengers and employees on the train and confidently claims there was no Miss Froy; a sinister doctor is transporting a heavily bandaged patient and is in deference to the baroness; the other English travelers all have a good reason for wanting to get home without delay and offer little support to the young English woman who is seemingly behaving hysterically. Belated help and romantic interest is provided by a young engineer called Max Hare. Iris is pushed to the point where she begins to doubt her own sanity. Iris is secretly sedated by the doctor, and the drug actually suppresses the young woman’s inhibitions; before she loses consciousness, she tears off the bandages of the mysterious patient to reveal Miss Froy, who is being abducted as she is aware of a political scandal in the small country where she has been working. Respected crime novelist Nicholas Blake, reviewing in the Spectator, found the novel pleasingly unorthodox, “a tale where surprise and suspense are admirably blended,” and praised the authoress as “adept at laying one icy finger on the back of your neck just when you are most certain that there can be no one in the room.” 229


LAMBERT, DEREK (1929–2001)

The first movie version of The Lady Vanishes was the classic train-bound thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1938 and starring Margaret Lockwood as Iris, Michael Redgrave as the male lead (here named Gilbert), and Dame May Whitty as Miss Froy (who is made a spy in this account). The film was rapturously received as a trademark melding of romantic comedy and melodramatic suspense by the filmmaker. In the manner of Hitchcock studies, later critics found much to interest them in the picture. Some have been intrigued by the female Oedipal narrative in which a young woman obsesses about a “mother” figure, while others point to a disturbing oneiric quality of the story (present to some extent in the original novel), in which the headstrong young woman enters and leaves various states of sleep and unconsciousness, and, coupled with a romance narrative, can readily be appreciated in terms of unconscious desire. The second movie of The Lady Vanishes was made at the Rank Organisation in 1979; it was directed by Anthony Page and merged the original story with material from the Hitchcock version of 1938. There is no longer any need to be coy about national sensibilities, and the Nazis are specifically presented as the enemy. The comic characters of Charters and Caldicott (Arthur Lowe and Ian Carmichael) are retained from the earlier film; and to improve chances in the international film market, the romantic leads (here named Amanda and Robert) are made American, played by Cybill Shepherd and Elliott Gould in a pastiche of the sparring duos of classic 1930s romantic comedy, with she a flighty heiress and he a committed newsman. Monthly Film Bulletin was underwhelmed, suggesting the picture “shunts the stars through their paces with little saving energy, and uses the incongruous Panavision format to ensure that audiences have plenty of time to appreciate the Austrian locations.” A feature-length television drama of The Lady Vanishes was broadcast in 2013 with location shooting in Budapest, Hungary. This was the closest screen version to the original and starred Tuppence Middleton as Iris, Tom Hughes as Max Hare, and Selina Cadell as Miss Froy. The Lady Vanishes attracted a sizable audience on first broadcast and mildly supportive comments from reviewers who appreciated it as a modest entrant in the classic tradition of the BBC costume drama. See also WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. LAMBERT, DEREK (1929–2001). Novelist. Lambert was born in London and educated at Epsom College before completing his National Service in Great Britain with the Royal Air Force. He enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a journalist, commencing on the Dartmouth Chronicle, and later moving to leading popular newspapers such as the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express. As a foreign correspondent, Lambert reported from Tel Aviv,



Israel, on the Suez crisis; from Nicosia on the insurgency in Cyprus; from southern Africa on the Rhodesian crisis; and from eastern Asia on the IndoChinese War. It was as Moscow correspondent for the Express that Lambert found the material for his first novel. Cloistered in the claustrophobia of the diplomatic and journalistic enclave, and under the watchful eyes of the KGB, Lambert used the opportunity to write Angels in the Snow (1969); the manuscript was smuggled back to Britain in a wheelchair. The story, which concentrates on the Western community in the Soviet capital, reflects those repressive conditions; the cautious diplomats and cynical journalists are shown bored and lonely with only the solace of drink and sex. The affectionate portrait of a drunken defector with a loving Russian wife was based on Len Wincott, a leader of the 1931 Invergordon naval mutiny who had defected to the Soviet Union in 1934. The novel was successful and well received. Lambert continued to write well-researched thrillers, and The Kites of War (1969) was set on the Chinese-Indian frontier from where he had reported some years before. He then moved to Canada, the United States, Israel, and Hong Kong, interspersing novels with part-time journalism. The Red House (1972) described the defection of a Russian cosmonaut to the United States, the exciting The Yermankov Transfer (1974) dealt with a Russian president threatened by an intellectual guerrilla on board the Trans-Siberian express, Touch the Lion’s Paw (1975) concerned a diamond heist in Amsterdam, The St. Peter’s Plot (1978) was set amid the dying embers of the Nazi regime, and I, Said the Spy (1980) treats a secret organization and international conspiracy that draws the curiosity of the intelligence agencies from both East and West. Lambert’s final novel was The Killing House (1997), a revengeromance set during the peace process in Ireland. Lambert also published under the pseudonym Richard Falkirk a series of carefully researched historical crime novels about a Bow Street Runner, named Edmund Blackstone, serving in London of the 1820s. He also published several volumes of breezy, entertaining memoirs. THE LAST ENEMY. Television drama serial. The Last Enemy is a five-part conspiracy thriller produced at the BBC and broadcast in 2008. It is set in the near future when Great Britain has been transformed into a security state following a terrorist outrage and new technology is being developed providing the authorities with total surveillance. A brilliant and unconventional mathematician, Stephen Ezard (Benedict Cumberbatch), returns to London from China after a four-year absence to attend the funeral of his idealist brother Michael (Max Beesely). Allied with Yasim Anwar (Anamaria Marinca), the wife he didn’t know his brother had, Ezard is immediately plunged into a conspiracy relating to the mysterious death of Michael, an overseas aid worker; Ezard is drawn into the government’s controversial new surveillance



scheme, becomes the target then ally of rogue agent David Russell (Robert Carlyle), and pursues the truth about a tainted vaccine dispensed in the aid camp. Using his privileged access to the government’s experimental TIA (Total Information Awareness) technology, Ezard is able to discover the crisis at the laboratory that led to the contaminated vaccine. He is shocked to find his brother on the same trail, although it is soon learned that Michael is dying from having taken the vaccine. Ezard, with help from Russell and Yasim, forges on to expose the monumental cover-up. A complicated story shot in London and Romania, The Last Enemy attracted only modest viewing figures (which declined through the run of the drama) and generally poor notices from the press, which found the series implausible. The writer Peter Berry aimed for a breakneck thriller of contemporary relevance, and the series dramatizes the anxieties that attended the expansion and intensification of security and surveillance following the terrorist outrages in New York in September 2001 and London in July 2005. “With phone-taps dominating the news of late, along with database leaks, security threats and identity card legislation, the thriller wades bead on into some of the most contentious items on the political agenda,” was the Telegraph’s summary of the timeliness of the drama. As the political scholars Richard Aldrich and Antony Field recorded, “The evolution of the global terrorist threat has led to a fundamental reconsideration of attitudes toward surveillance practices in the United Kingdom.” There was some unease following the introduction of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). which place a legal requirement on private institutions such as banks, accountants, and solicitors to cooperate with the network of security agencies regarding suspicious financial transactions. This resulted in the filing of 278,665 reports in 2012, and critics worried that some people might appear suspicious “because a number of chance activities have coalesced to generate something which a computer thinks is a problem.” SARs are part of a wider regime of electronic surveillance of British citizens, a situation covered by the new term “dataveillance,” which also includes the requirement of mobile phone companies and Internet service providers to retain “communications data,” a vast archive of people’s telephone calls, e-mails, and web pages accessed. Over half a million requests for information from nearly 800 public bodies were made to data holders in 2008, and many felt such mind-boggling activity constituted an unacceptable intrusion into privacy and confidentiality. The TIA initiative in The Last Enemy resembled the government’s Intercept Modernisation Programme (IMP), a new intercept plan unveiled in the United Kingdom in 2008 at a projected cost of £12 billion, and fearfully described as “a vast government-run silo” storing “the details of every phone call, email, text and instance of web access by each person in the UK.” The Last Enemy thus dramatizes the “new intelligence ecology” of the post-9/11 and -7/7 worlds in which “knowledge-intensive security” is seen as premium,

LAWTON, JOHN (1949– )


and in which, as Aldrich and Field express it, “the basic currency is huge volumes of personal data.” The question that legislators and liberal watchdogs puzzle over is how society in a period of threat can ensure accountability and rights alongside safety and protection. See also ETHICS AND MORALITY OF ESPIONAGE. LAWTON, JOHN (1949– ). Novelist. Lawton, born in Derbyshire, is an elusive and itinerant character, who has lived in the United States, Italy, and Great Britain, and about whom concrete facts are hard to come by. He initially worked as a journalist and, later, as a documentary filmmaker at Channel 4 television, where, in his own words, he “spent much of his time interpreting the USA to the English, and occasionally vice versa.” In this sense, he has worked with Gore Vidal, Neil Simon, Scott Turow, Noam Chomsky, Fay Weldon, Harold Pinter, Kathy Acker, and the Mersey poets. He has written a history of the Kennedy-Macmillan period of the early 1960s and edited editions of G. K. Chesterton and H. G. Wells. He published his first espionage novel in 1995, and Blackout, set in World War II, established the author’s style of the historical thriller and introduced the series character of Frederick Troy, a London police detective. Troy often finds himself in a case that overlaps with espionage, and he has so far appeared in Old Flames (1996), A Little White Death (1998), Riptide (2001), Blue Rondo (2005), Second Violin (2008), and A Lily in the Field (2010). An unrelated historical spy thriller is Then We Take Berlin (2013), the story spanning a couple of decades and dealing with a young tear-away drafted into the British army shortly after World War II and put to use in Germany by the Secret Service. The novels, chronologically out of sequence, cover the period from the mid-1930s (A Lily in the Field) to the mid-1960s (A Little White Death), charting the seismic social and political changes that marked England’s emergence from two world wars. Accordingly, Lawton blends his fiction with such actualities as the Nazi atrocities in Vienna in the 1930s, the Berlin Blockade, the notorious “frogman incident” during the visit to Britain of Russian secretary general Nikita Khrushchev in 1956, and the Profumo Affair and the Kim Philby spy scandal of the early 1960s. A reviewer in the New York Times Book Review praised “the meticulous artistry of Lawton’s discursive style,” and other critics praised the author’s ambition, convincing characters, and vivid and economical descriptions. In 2010, Lawton was invited to contribute to Agents of Treachery, an anthology of new short spy stories, for which he supplied “East of Suez, West of Charing Cross Road,” a comic take on the Profumo Affair. Lawton has described his books as “historical, political thrillers with a big splash of romance, wrapped up in a coat of noir” and claimed his major theme as “betrayal and heartbreak.”


LE CARRÉ, JOHN (1931– )

In 2008, Lawton was one of only half a dozen living English writers to be named in the London Daily Telegraph’s “50 Crime Writers to Read before You Die.” See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II. LE CARRÉ, JOHN (1931– ). Novelist. David John Moore Cornwell assumed the pen name of John le Carré when he published his first espionage novel in 1961 while still a serving member of MI6. Le Carré was born in Poole, Dorset; brought up in a pronounced non-conformist household; attended Sherborne School; and studied languages at the University of Berne. He spent his national service in the Intelligence Corps, stationed in Austria, before returning to study Modern Languages at Oxford University, where he allegedly spied covertly for MI5. Le Carré taught languages at Eton College for two years, an experience he did not enjoy, and “escaping from teaching,” he joined MI5 proper in 1958. There, inspired by his senior John Bingham, he began to write his first novels. In 1960, le Carré transferred to MI6 and served nominally as second secretary in the British embassy in Bonn and nominally as political consul in Hamburg in Germany, and it was during this period that Call for the Dead (1961) and A Murder of Quality (1962), both in the style of a whodunit, were published. Following the enormous success of his third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, in 1963 (a story the American spy novelist Alan Furst called a “classic instance of the integration of style and substance”) le Carré turned to writing full-time. As with many other writers of spy fiction before him—William Haggard, Graham Greene, and Ian Fleming, for example—John le Carré had served in an intelligence capacity. However, his importance as a writer lies in the deglamorization of the Secret Service in his stories and in the hostility he shows to the codes and practices of the officer class of British Intelligence. He thus describes a world of “failed academics, failed lawyers, failed missionaries, and failed debutants.” Le Carré described the “paper world” he inhabited in the Service as a “mediocre,” “boring,” and “humdrum world,” laboriously constructing profiles of individuals from intelligence gathered through “telephone taps, purloined mail, and investigators’ reports.” He claimed the process of invention in this work as invaluable—“excellent training” for a future novelist. Le Carré described the resentful, conceited characters of the secret world of Whitehall as an “odd bunch”—senior officers who “hated each other,” an endemic hatred extended to politicians, communists, and journalists, which was only exceeded by the loathing between the rival services of home security and foreign intelligence. Le Carré is regarded as having brought a moral seriousness to the espionage novel, one of a generation of English writers for whom the Cold War was the formative political experience. In the judgment of Eric Homberger, le Carré “as powerfully as any writer of his generation . . . has portrayed the

LE CARRÉ, JOHN (1931– )


political dilemmas of postimperial Britain.” Le Carré’s own view of the history of the West since World War II is that of a “dreary seesaw between failed socialism and failed capitalism.” His great theme is seen to be betrayal, and le Carré wrote an impassioned and highly critical introduction to a study of Kim Philby, Great Britain’s most beguiling traitor spy, published toward the end of the 1960s. Betrayal, in all its varied forms—national, professional, and personal—is explored to great effect in the stories The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Looking-Glass War (1965), Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974), and A Perfect Spy (1986), and the author’s penetrating approach has led to him being called the “psychoanalyst of the Cold War.” The latter novel is particularly important in being the most personal of the author’s works. The protagonist Magnum Pym shares many of the experiences of le Carré— abandonment by the mother, the profound if double-edged influence of a con man father, Oxford, Bern, Austria, and “secret service”—and A Perfect Spy stands as perhaps the fullest biographical statement we shall ever get from the author. A persistent criticism of le Carré is that he is unable to write seriously about women, and he has been castigated for his “gloomy” writing and “unpatriotic” outlook. When the novelist wrote outside the field of espionage with T he Naïve and Sentimental Lover (1971), based on the author’s relationship with James and Susan Kennaway, he came in for extraordinary criticism. While le Carré stands in the front rank of espionage novelists, as a writer of popular genre fiction he is sometimes denied the significance given to authors of respectable literature. However, he has brought a refreshing seriousness to the modern spy story, which has attracted considerable critical attention, and le Carré thus stands in the tradition forged by Somerset Maugham, Eric Ambler, and Graham Greene. Le Carré’s stories have been appreciated as gloomy and cynical, but not as tragic. As Cawelti and Rosenberg point out, even with a novel such as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, despite the shooting of the protagonist and the girl he has come to love, there is a kind of “moral triumph” at the end, in which the agent Leamas has discovered a “moral courage” to make a symbolic stand against “the perverted means used in fighting the Cold War.” Cawelti and Rosenberg judge that le Carré had raised the spy story into “one of the most important literary genres of the mid-twentieth century.” The author’s favorite novels of his own are The Perfect Spy and The Constant Gardener (2001), and he regards Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene as writers of espionage who have had the greatest influence on him, especially the latter’s sense of the moral search of a lonely man. Le Carré’s classic novels of the Cold War period are interjoined through recurring characters, especially the great George Smiley, and through references to business and developments in earlier stories, which provide a sense of progression and of a series, most obviously so with the


LE CARRÉ, JOHN (1931– )

Karla trilogy of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honourable Schoolboy (1977); and Smiley’s People (1979), in which Smiley is pitted against his nemesis in the KGB. Le Carré’s novels since the 1970s have largely dealt with the political intrigues, international conspiracies, and new alignments of world interests that have come about in the period. The Russia House (1989), The Secret Pilgrim (1990), Our Game (1995), and Absolute Friends (2003) all attend to espionage in a climate of thawing and concluding Cold War. The Night Manager (1993), Single & Single (1999), The Constant Gardener, A Most Wanted Man (2008), and Our Kind of Traitor (2010) are all concerned with the new problems of international crime, money laundering, financial conspiracy, and the war on terror. His most recent novel, A Delicate Truth (2013), is concerned with the ramifications of a botched intelligence operation in the recent past. Le Carré described it as his most British novel, as well as his most autobiographical of recent times, sketching two aspects of himself in the “striving ambitious” younger character of a rising star in the Foreign Service, and a retired Foreign Office civil servant, who, like the author for the past four decades, lives in rural Cornwall. Le Carré’s stories have been widely adapted for the screen and radio. In the cinema, there have been films of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1966), Call for the Dead (as The Deadly Affair, 1966), The Looking-Glass War (1969), The Little Drummer Girl (U.S., 1984), The Russia House (1990), The Tailor of Panama (Ireland/U.S., 2001), The Constant Gardener (2005), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), and A Most Wanted Man (2014). On television, there have been dramatizations of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979), Smiley’s People (1981, coscripted by le Carré), A Perfect Spy (1987), and A Murder of Quality (1991). It has recently been announced that the BBC is preparing a television dramatization of le Carré’s first post–Cold War novel, The Night Manager (1993). On radio, the BBC has dramatized The Russia House (1994), eight novels presented as The Complete Smiley (2009–2010), and A Delicate Truth (2013). The film version of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and the television serialization of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy have been particularly acclaimed, although le Carré has largely been unimpressed by the screen versions of his novels, judging The Spy Who Came in from the Cold only “O.K.,” The Deadly Affair a “not very distinguished movie,” The Looking-Glass War “a truly bad film,” and The Little Drummer Girl “inept.” Overall, he believes he has been better served by television than by the cinema. A now forgotten television drama End of the Line (1970), concerning a spy disguised as a clergyman seeking the confession of a treacherous civil servant in the confinement of a railway carriage, is the author’s only work written directly for the screen.

LE QUEUX, WILLIAM (1864–1927)


Le Carré has received many awards and honors, which include the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Grand Master Award in 1984, the British Crime Writers’ Association Diamond Dagger Lifetime Achievement Award in 1988, France’s Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2005, honorary doctorates from the universities of Bern (2008) and Oxford (2012), and the Goethe Medal of the Goethe Institute in 2012. See also ESPIONAGE STORY; SPY AS NOVELIST. LE QUEUX, WILLIAM (1864–1927). Novelist. William Tuffnell Le Queux (pronounced “Lekew”) was born in Southwark, south London, to a French father and English mother. He grew up in restrained circumstances and later drew a much improved picture of his early life and education. This was characteristic of the man, and later, from hints and suggestions provided by Le Queux, it was popularly believed—and continues to be believed by some more recent critics—that he served unofficially as a spy. He worked initially as a journalist, and occasionally thereafter, before taking up fiction writing full-time around 1893. Le Queux was a prolific and popular writer of mystery stories, publishing seven novels in 1907 and six novels in 1908, and by many assessments was not very good. The editor of Cassell’s Magazine described Le Queux as “one of the most careless writers that I have ever met,” and he complained of errors in spelling and grammar and frequent confusion of names in stories; and an indication of his merit is possibly captured in the writer’s proud boast that he had never written a line that a child of 12 could not understand. However, he was a pioneer of the form and influential on a generation of later and better writers who read him as boys. Le Queux has been dubbed the “father of the action school of the spy thriller,” and Queen Alexandra was counted among his many readers. Viewed from the standpoint of today, his importance lies in the genre of “future-war fiction,” premonitions and warnings about military awareness against imminent war and invasion. The classic The Great War in England in 1897 (1894) was a tale of surprise French attack, warning of British vulnerability and military unpreparedness, while The Invasion of 1910 (1906) deduced the threat from Imperial Germany, which remained the focus in Spies of the Kaiser (1909), The German Spy (1914), and the purportedly factual German Spies in England: An Exposure (1915). Le Queux spent the period leading up to World War I as a “scaremonger,” lecturing extensively on espionage and the German menace. This seemingly had some influence on significant figures in the War Office and Military Intelligence, and may have contributed to the establishment of the Secret Service Bureau late in 1909. Arthur Balfour, the Conservative prime minister (1902–5), once stated that a Le Queux novel was worth 10,000 votes to the Tories in any election.


LEASOR, JAMES (1923–2007)

Meanwhile, Le Queux kept up a constant flow of Secret Service romances and thrillers with titles such as The Czar’s Spy (1905), The Spy Hunter (1916), and The Secret Formula (1928). These were crafted in the style of the day, which Le Queux had contributed so much to fashion. Le Queux continued in his attempt to blur fiction and reality, as in Cipher Six (1919), which purported to be based on “actual events which occurred in the West End of London during the peace negotiations in the Autumn of 1918.” It is this facet of his fiction, perhaps, for which he will be best remembered. Le Queux’s The Invasion of 1910 was adapted for the screen as The Raid of 1915 (1914), and he provided the scenario for the crime drama The Sons of Satan (1915). Le Queux was an ardent self-publicist, arguably a fantasist, enjoying, while it lasted, the privilege of being the Birmingham consul of the Republic of San Marino and delighting in wearing his splendid uniform for publicity photographs. He took equal pride and pleasure in displaying his many continental orders. A figure of ridicule for a later generation and arch exponent of the most frothy romances and shrill warnings, Le Queux was taken seriously by important people in his own time, and later writers as different as Dennis Wheatley and Graham Greene would claim him as an inspiration on their formative juvenile minds. In 1923, he published his typically fanciful memoirs, Things I Know about Kings, Celebrities and Crooks. LEASOR, JAMES (1923–2007). Novelist. Thomas James Leasor was born at Erith, Kent, and educated at the City of London School. He served in Burma with the Lincolnshire Regiment during World War II, and while in the Far East, his troopship, the El Madina, was torpedoed in March 1944 and he spent 18 hours adrift in the Indian Ocean. He wrote his first novel in the jungles of tropical Asia and served as a correspondent for the SEAC, the Service’s newspaper of South East Asia Command. After the war, he studied English at Oriel College, Oxford, and later took up the profession of journalist at the Daily Express, serving for a time as private secretary to Lord Beaverbrook, the proprietor of the newspaper, and later as a foreign correspondent. Leasor established himself as a popular novelist in the 1960s. His first spy novel was Passport to Oblivion (1964); the author allegedly sent the manuscript to 14 publishers, leading to 14 rewrites, before it was accepted at Heinemann’s. Delighted with the story, the publisher commissioned a further five titles, no doubt in the hope of acquiring a spy character in the form of Dr. Jason Love as popular as James Bond. The immediate further Dr. Love adventures in a very popular series were Passport to Peril (1966), Passport in Suspense (1967), Passport for a Pilgrim (1968), A Week of Love: Being Seven Adventures of Dr. Jason Love (1969), and Love-All (1971). Host of Extras (1973), Love and the Land Beyond (1979), Frozen Assets (1989), and Love Down Under (1992) also eventually joined the series. Leasor studied



medicine for a while and put something of his knowledge into his series character. He claimed that he visited all the countries and locations of a story before he started writing. There is speculation whether Jason Love is the alter ego of James Leasor. After all, they share the same initials and a love for classic automobiles. Leasor also published a substantial amount of nonfiction, mainly in the areas of biography, World War II, and history, and these included studies of the car manufacturer William Morris, the Indian Mutiny, and the wartime Dieppe Raid. LEGACY. Novel and television drama. Legacy is a spy novel written by Alan Judd (Alan Adwin Petty), a former official in the Foreign Office and formerly personal assistant to the chief of the Secret Service, Sir Colin McColl. It was first published in 2001 and later adapted for television in 2013. It continues the story of Charles Thoroughgood who had first appeared in Judd’s prize-winning debut novel, A Breed of Heroes (1981). The character has now left the army after service in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s and is undergoing initial training at MI6: a noticeable shift from “hot” war to “cold” war for the character. He is detailed to make contact with a former university acquaintance, Viktor Koslov, a new appointment in the Russian embassy who might possibly be “turned” as he has been observed frequenting a prostitute. In the event, Charles is stunned to learn from Koslov that his recently deceased father, a surveyor who worked on secret government establishments, was a long-standing Soviet agent. Shaken by the revelation, he further discovers that his father was also implicated in LEGACY, a longterm KGB operation to create a network of secret caches at strategic locations in Western countries. Thoroughgood, wanting to get to the bottom of his father’s treachery, remains as case officer for Koslov. Using the latter, who has bits of the puzzle, Charles is able to locate two secret caches of sabotage materials, as well as steer away two KGB heavies who are closing in on the Russian. In a final revelation, a relieved Thoroughgood is informed that his father was, in fact, a double agent, feeding the Soviets disinformation. Legacy is a story of betrayal, of one’s country and, seemingly, of one’s family. With its deliberate plotting and careful attention to the routine of espionage work, much of which necessarily takes place behind a desk in an office, Legacy is in the tradition of the realistic espionage story, and many have compared it with the writing of John le Carré. The resemblance is made even more apparent in Judd’s setting the story in the 1970s, a clear reference back to a Golden Age of the British spy novel, although the story lacks much of the social and moral critique to be found in the le Carré school. Legacy is also part of the recent trend in historical spy fiction, in this case a reconstruction of the classic period of the middle Cold War with its recogniz-



able ideological landscape and characterizations. In this regard, there is the necessary reference in the story to historical reality: the industrial unrest, the expulsion of 105 Soviet diplomats from Great Britain in 1971, the immediate legacy of the Profumo Affair, the double agent Penkovsky, the defector Lyalin, and, with the caches of armaments, the contemporary anxieties regarding guerrilla-style Spetsnaz operations. The reviewer at the Telegraph noted an essential coziness in the construction: “This is a secret service run by avuncular civil servants who commute from Kent and Surrey, spend the weekends digging their gardens, and, in the sleepy and indirect manner of well-clubbed gentlemen, play brilliant endgames that protect us against enemies without and within.” As such, the paper found Legacy “a dense and satisfying thriller,” but, with its “understated flair and essential British decency” and ultimate denial of treachery, the story was removed from the critical tradition of British spy fiction of the previous generation. The BBC television drama Legacy, starring Charlie Cox and Andrew Scott, is a truncated and simplified version of the original story. For reasons of dramatic excitement, much of the drudgery and routine of training, office life, and family obligations are excised in favor of operational procedure, chases, and some gunplay. The outcome, shot in a murky, restless, washedout style, edges more toward being a spy thriller, much complexity being lost to a restricted 90-minute format. Critics were far from impressed, finding the drama “an exercise in Cold War nostalgia,” stranded somewhere between the adrenaline-rush excitement of the very contemporary Spooks and the brilliant BBC adaptations of le Carré around the turn of the 1980s. In the summary of the Guardian, the dramatization lacked “the sophistication, the genius and complexity of character and plot” of a le Carré, or “the feeling that this is actually what it was all like.” A significant revision in the television drama is a suggestion that in the denouement the Service lies to Charles about his father, who probably was a Soviet agent. Judd has also written the historical spy novel The Kaiser’s Last Kiss (2003). See also SPY AS NOVELIST; SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. THE LIQUIDATOR. Novel and motion picture. The Liquidator, first published in 1964, is the debut novel of John Gardner and introduced the series character of Boysie Oakes. A short prologue is set in Paris in August 1944, where Mostyn, a British Intelligence officer, is fighting off two murderous Germans when a tank officer stumbles onto the scene and shoots the Nazis dead. The action shifts to 1963 and Colonel Mostyn now heads the Department of Special Security, where he has remembered and recruited the former tank officer, Boysie Oakes. The narcissistic Oakes enjoys the trappings of the 1960s secret agent—the fast cars and the even faster girls. It comes as a sickening shock when Boysie learns he is to be an assassin, “the Liquidator”



for the Department, knocking off suspect clerks, typists, and scientists who might be leaking secrets to the communists. Unfortunately, Oakes is not the cool killer, the “perfect technician of death,” that Mostyn thinks he is. The reader soon learns that Boysie is afraid of flying, spiders—in fact, most things. A casual remark from Mostyn puts Oakes onto Griffen, an unlikely if efficient contract killer, and unknown to the chief, Boysie personally hires the professional to do the dirty deeds. Against protocol, Oakes arranges to spend a dirty weekend on the Côte d’Azur with Iris, the desirable secretary in the Department of Special Security. This leads to a complex adventure, in which Oakes is first incarcerated and threatened with torture by unknown agents; escapes and is contacted by the local British Intelligence agent, Quadrant; is briefed on a new mission and sets off back to England where he is to participate in an exercise to test security around the Duke of Edinburgh who will be inspecting a new military aircraft. Meanwhile, Mostyn is frantic, uncertain as to what Oakes is up to, and slowly uncovers a fiendish Soviet plan that will have Boysie innocently shoot the duke, and in the ensuing chaos, the Russians will steal the new Vulture plane. Iris, it turns out, is a double agent. Boysie is narrowly prevented from shooting the duke, and he nervously jumps aboard the departing aircraft, overpowers the enemy, amazingly pilots the plane under guidance from the control tower, and returns a hero. The Liquidator, featuring the “anti-Bond” Boysie Oakes, somewhat symbolically appeared a few days after the death of Ian Fleming. Anthony Boucher, writing in the New York Times, praised Gardner for writing “a clever parody which is also a genuinely satisfactory thriller.” There were seven further novels featuring Boysie Oakes. MGM produced the film of The Liquidator in 1965. Starring Rod Taylor, it was directed by Jack Cardiff and filmed in Great Britain and southern France. The company intended to shoot other Boysie Oakes novels as they appeared; however, the film was delayed in release until 1966 due to litigation between MGM and producer Leslie Elliot, and it possibly missed its chance and was only modestly successful. The picture was provided with a big theme song sung by Shirley Bassey, who had recently had great success with the title song for Goldfinger (1964), but Boysie Oakes did not prove a new James Bond for the cinema. Critics tended to prefer the first half of the film, with its gentle debunking of the English sense of fair play and witty comments on well-worn conventions of the spy film. Raymond Durgnat saw potential in a story that verged on a “Graham Greene bitterness about materialism, moral seediness and the establishment ethos,” but whose impact was lost after the filmmakers “scuttled back” to the tried-and-tested formula of an exotic location and action stuff. The review in Monthly Film Bulletin complained of a “flabby” Rod Taylor, a descent into “sub-Bondian territory,” and a film that “strives after a witty effect and ends up looking only like a



pastiche of the spy film formula.” The Liquidator was the first of the bigbudget spy spoofs of the 1960s, released with the tagline “Would you believe . . . The Liquidator kills 27 spies without getting out of bed? . . . He hurts 6 spies and 2 innocent bystanders? He bruises easily?” It was soon followed by Modesty Blaise (1966), Our Man Flint, and The Silencers (both U.S., 1966). A LITTLE WHITE DEATH. Novel. A Little White Death, first published in 1998, is the third novel by John Lawton featuring his series character Freddie Troy, a London policeman who is often caught up in matters of national security and espionage. The story commences late in 1962, and by this stage in his career, Troy is a senior detective with the rank of commander. The well-connected policeman is drawn into the web of notorious events that characterized the period of the early 1960s. An old school friend, LeighHunt, defects from Beirut to Soviet Russia before he is exposed as a traitor, and Troy uncomfortably mixes with the social set excited by jazz dives, dope, and swinging house parties—a group that includes the “sensualist” Dr. Patrick Fitzpatrick, a Harley Street doctor; Tim Woodbridge, a Tory minister of state; Tereshkov, a Soviet diplomat; and two young nymphets. Troy observes the breaking sex and espionage scandal from the sidelines and learns of the “suicides” of Fitzpatrick and a young woman, Clover Browne, on the eve of the expected verdict of guilty. Troy, despite the objections of other senior policemen, begins a murder investigation into the deaths of Fitzpatrick and Browne, eventually unearthing a major political conspiracy in which a “honey trap” aimed at ensnaring Tereshkov had turned into a security problem when Woodbridge was implicated in the sharing of the nymphets and the authorities felt impelled to act. Furthermore, Troy discovers that the romantic juvenile Clover was tricked into a “suicide pact”; the other party was the home secretary, who wanted to remove evidence of his participation in the raging scandal. In a historical note appended to the novel, Lawton admits the Profumo Affair as an obvious source for his story. He also alludes to the influence of the defection of Kim Philby in 1963 and the newsworthy events involving Detective Sergeant Challenor in 1962 (police corruption) and Lord Lambton in 1973 (sex and security scandal). Lawton locates the actual germ of the idea for his story in a conversation he held with a journalist who reported the original trial of Dr. Stephen Ward (Dr. Fitzpatrick) and who maintained that Ward definitely killed himself. From this, Lawton “started to think of a plot whose premise was ‘supposing he didn’t?’” Lawton does not use the real names of any of the individuals at the center of the scandals, but it is quite clear for an informed reader which character relates to which actual personality. The sense of history is reinforced through the author’s use of historical figures as minor characters in the novel, for example, writer Dame Rebecca



West and politician Tom Driberg, both of whom had contemporary associations with espionage. The story is littered with incidental material of the mood and character of the times, the music of the Beatles, the satire of the Establishment Club, and the sudden and mysterious death of Hugh Gaitskell, the leader of the Labour Party. Lawton had proved his mastery of the social, political, and cultural scene of the immediate period in his nonfiction account 1963: Five Hundred Days (1992). The reviewer in the New York Times Book Review praised Lawton as a “captivating storyteller”; the novel “a sprawling story” full of “vibrant scenes that serve primarily to capture the zeitgeist of a dynamic era.” In 2007, A Little White Death was acknowledged as a New York Times notable read. See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; SCANDAL; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. LONDON MATCH. See GAME, SET AND MATCH. THE LOOKING-GLASS WAR. Novel and motion picture. The LookingGlass War, first published in 1965, is the fourth novel of John le Carré. It deals with a small covert intelligence section called the Department, accountable to the Ministry of War. Active and important in World War II, it has declined in significance, losing many of its responsibilities to the Circus, the Secret Intelligence Service, which reports to the Foreign Office. Recent intelligence from East Germany is interpreted as indicating a new missile site south of Rostock, and the director, Leclerc, grasps the opportunity to stage an operation, get an agent into the area, and assert the importance of the Department. The story is organized in three sections. In the short preliminary “Taylor’s Run,” a middle-aged courier, unusually put on an operation, is killed in what might simply be a road accident in Finland while collecting aerial photographs of the area south of Rostock. “Avery’s Run” deals with a young officer in the Department who is sent to Finland to claim the body of Taylor and arrange its return to London. Inexperienced, though idealistic, he is anxious and flustered, annoys the local consul, and fails to find the film of the overflight. The longer “Leiser’s Run” deals with the preparation of an agent and the operation into East Germany to confirm the existence of the missile site. Fred Leiser, a Pole, is a former agent of the wartime Special Operations Executive, brought back into the Department for this single operation, refamiliarized with radio signaling and unarmed combat, and infiltrated into East Germany. Killing a border guard and incautious in his signaling, the counterespionage is quickly onto Leiser and he is captured in the room of a young woman he has befriended and from which he attempts to signal. Meanwhile, the Department has been ordered to stand down the operation as ill-judged and for fear of compromising relations with West Germany, and Leiser’s final radio message is unheard and unheeded.



The Looking-Glass War was very poorly received in Great Britain, the characters too flat and featureless, the absurdity of the Department presented without any ironic humor, and with many feeling disappointed after the brilliance of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Despite the perceptions of the critics, le Carré felt his previous novel had been “fiendishly clever” rather than realistic, had, in fact, “glamorized the spy business to kingdom come.” His aim with the new novel was a “deliberate reversal,” to “describe a secret service that is not really very good at all; that is eking out its wartime glory; that is feeding itself on Little England fantasies; is isolated, directionless, overprotected and destined ultimately to destroy itself.” The LookingGlass War found better favor in the United States, where the delusions of the Service, the muddle, and the internecine conflict were readily appreciated after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Le Carré heads each section of the novel with a short quotation from a classic of espionage or patriotic literature, and these references from Rudyard Kipling, John Buchan’s Mr. Standfast, and Rupert Brooke’s 1914, serve ironically to underscore the dishonesty, futility, betrayals, and tattered idealism of the story. There is constant nostalgic reference in the story to World War II—a time of national assertion, purpose, achievement, and pride—and this serves to mark the inertia, decline, and atrophy of the post-Suez period. The operation is mounted according to “war rules,” the agent being provided with obsolete equipment and trained by wartime personnel in a desperate act to reconnect to past glories. The second major theme of the novel, typical of the author, is that of class, specifically, the snobbery and hypocrisy of the social elite. Avery is delighted to be offered entrance to the “club,” before he witnesses its appalling self-interest and indifference to others, finally discerning “the fatal disproportion between the dream and reality.” Leiser simply wants to be accepted by an ideal he has constructed of the English gentleman, unfortunately impossible as he is foreign, a tradesman, and, in his earnest desire, impertinent, and is callously sacrificed to the exigencies of the Department. John G. Cawelti and Bruce A. Rosenberg were unusual in praising The Looking-Glass War and placed the novel ninth on their list of “The Greatest Spy Stories,” describing it as “the bleakest and most absurd of all the author’s novels,” and le Carré’s “valedictory to the heroic spy tradition.” Le Carré wrote a screenplay for The Looking-Glass War in 1966 with Jack Clayton slated to direct, but this was not used, and when the film did materialize in 1969 it was scripted and directed by the American Frank R. Pierson, as a Mike Frankovich production for release by Columbia Pictures. The movie takes account of the younger audiences and fresh styles of the new cinemas of the late 1960s and a generation beginning to be disgusted by the war in Vietnam and inspired by the recent youth protests in Paris. Accordingly, 25-year-old cult actor Chris Jones was cast as Leiser, and he is featured

LYALL, GAVIN (1932–2003)


shirtless on the movie’s poster, exhorting, “Why do we listen to them? Why do we fight their wars for them?” In the film, Leiser is a young, refugee Pole who will be allowed to stay in Britain with his pregnant girlfriend if he serves the mission; the operation in East Germany is extended, and Leiser takes up with a woman (Pia Degermark) and a young boy (Nicholas Stewart) on the road. A contemporary visual style makes much play of reflections and inverted, distorted, and canted images, in an apparent reference to the title of the story. The scenes on the road in East Germany display the fashionable alienation of the European art cinema or the contemporary road movie, enhanced through the unreality of shooting the sequence in Northern Spain. At the climax of the picture, Leiser and the girl are blasted to death by the security police, and an ironic cut to a field in Finland shows a group of children finding and playing with the film of the overflight—obvious debts to Arthur Penn’s recent Bonnie and Clyde (U.S., 1967) and the cinema of Sam Peckinpah. Another invented sequence has Leiser murder and dispose of an inquisitive truck driver in a lonely landscape, all the while attempting to hide his activity from a solitary tractor that ploughs a nearby field, and here the debt is to the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock. In an intelligent review in Monthly Film Bulletin, Nigel Andrew finds the movie works well enough in “evoking le Carré’s picture of Cold War espionage as a world apart, an anachronistic and stubbornly exclusive clan whose members have adopted patriotism as a provisional creed (Avery [Anthony Hopkins]) or preserve their faith in it through an obstinate nostalgia for the ‘war rules’ (Leclerc [Ralph Richardson]).” In another favorable account, film historian Robert Murphy highlights the picture’s stress on the division between generations, with Leiser irreverent, disrespectful, and indifferent, contemptuously abandoned in the east by “elderly, out of touch spymasters.” LYALL, GAVIN (1932–2003). Novelist. Gavin Tudor Lyall was born in Birmingham, completed his national service in the Royal Air Force, studied English at Cambridge University, and worked as a journalist, spending four years as aviation correspondent to the Sunday Times. He published his first novel, The Wrong Side of the Sky, in 1961, and this set the pattern of literate adventure stories set in exotic and physically demanding locations and featuring a tough, capable protagonist who must face up to a dangerous challenge. Several of the stories, such as The Most Dangerous Game (1963), Shooting Script (1966), and Judas Country (1975), follow the lead of the first novel and feature a pilot who becomes involved in a desperate situation and who has to decide whom he can trust. With The Secret Servant (1980) the author entered the world of espionage and introduced the series character Major Maxim. Harry Maxim is a Special Air Service (SAS) officer on special assignment to Downing Street who gets drawn into a conspiracy involving a suicide at the Ministry of Defence, a


LYALL, GAVIN (1932–2003)

Czech defector and a suspicious top scientist. The novel was in turn successfully dramatized on television in 1984. Three other novels feature the correct and capable Maxim. The Conduct of Major Maxim (1982) has the officer in Germany in search of an army deserter who carries information of national importance; The Crocus List (1985) has Maxim confronting a group of diehard nationalists who seek to wreck talks aimed at détente with Moscow; and Uncle Target (1988) involves Maxim in an operation to rescue a new prototype British tank lost on trials in Jordon. The Maxim stories have been appreciated as intelligent thrillers and, though lighter of touch, drew favorable comparisons with John le Carré. Lyall, following the end of the Cold War and for him an important rationale for the spy story, turned his hand to a series of historical spy stories dealing with the fledgling Secret Service Bureau in the period leading up to World War I. An “unromantic foray into a romantic past,” Spy’s Honour (1993) was the first of the titles, followed by Flight from Honour (1996), All Honourable Men (1997), and Honourable Intentions (1999). With these novels, Lyall was interested in “exploring the characters who might have been recruited to the fledgling service and must find or invent the rules of modern espionage.” The books were enjoyable pastiches but largely failed to capture the imagination of the reading public. The novelist had volunteered that he was not interested in the figure of the spy, but more in the way espionage and its organization affects the larger world. Lyall served as chairman of the British Crime Writers’ Association in the period 1966–67.

M MACINNES, HELEN (1907–1985). Novelist. Helen Clark MacInnes was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and studied at her hometown university. In 1938, she immigrated to the United States with her husband, classics scholar Gilbert Highet, who had accepted a post at Columbia University. She took out American citizenship in 1952 and, from the 1950s through the 1980s, was the author of many popular American thriller novels, earning the epithet “the queen of international espionage fiction.” MacInnes’s first four novels, which she referred to as “adventure-suspense” stories, feature British characters embroiled in World War II plots of resistance and espionage. Above Suspicion (1941)—the story of a young British couple who are temporarily recruited to British Intelligence in summer 1939 and seek a compromised British anti-Nazi agent in the Austrian Tyrol while seemingly on vacation—was based on notes recording activities of the Nazis and the Hitler menace MacInnes had compiled during her honeymoon in Bavaria in 1932. The novel was very well received and encouraged the budding authoress to continue with her writing. Assignment in Brittany (1942) is a tale of a British Intelligence agent in recently occupied France in summer 1940 who is assigned to discover the German intentions regarding the invasion of Great Britain. Both of these stories were filmed in Hollywood. While Still We Live (1944) returns to a more female-centered consciousness and tells the story of a young Scottish girl’s innocent holiday visit to Poland in summer 1939, which is suddenly twisted into a nightmare of violence and terror following the German invasion. She assumes the identity of a German counterespionage agent in which guise she can aid the resistance and, later, joins a band of resistance fighters in the forest where she falls in love and marries a partisan leader. Here, the act of transnational marriage serves as a symbol of international alliance in the face of German aggression. The final wartime novel Horizon (1945) deals with a British soldier, a former prisoner of war in Italy; he is freed on the surrender of the Italians in 1943 and assigned as a liaison officer to a desperate band of resistance fighters in the South Tyrol, paving the way for an Allied push into the heartland of National Socialism. In these stories, MacInnes promotes her 247



sense of liberal decency and urgency for resistance against Nazism, and positions her work alongside the new espionage fiction of Graham Greene and Eric Ambler with its moral and political seriousness and its figure of the “innocent abroad.” It has been suggested that MacInnes drew material and insights for the novels from Gilbert, who served an intelligence role for the British in North America. These initial stories, as with the later mature American novels, have a strong sense of place and evocative descriptions of location and settings, derived from Helen and Gilbert’s extensive travels and careful regard to local geography, customs, food, and architecture. The “backgrounds” to the stories “are as factual as I can make them,” MacInnes once revealed. Several of her novels feature European place names in the title, and her work has been judged a pleasurable combination of action and suspense, travelogue and romance (rather than sex). The wartime tetralogy of novels treat the contemporary threat of Nazism as it was actually being fought. In her “American” stories, she switched attention to the new totalitarian foe of communism, and her writing is used to present a strong sense of democratic values, justice, and individual dignity. The novels are intelligent and credible treatments of espionage and the fight against enemies of freedom. Once in a while, as with The Salzburg Connection (1968), the adventure references secrets of World War II and their explosive potential. Critics have been interested in the way that MacInnes “invites women into the espionage sphere as characters and readers,” arguing that her fiction “connects forward in time with the more feminist interrogations of espionage and marriage in recent spy novels.” Christine Bold claimed that her spy stories elude the most obviously stereotypical representations of women and that her female characters in the main “have voice and agency within the personal sphere of marital relations, the mechanics of espionage, and political debates about international relations.” This view has particular validity with the stories Above Suspicion and While Still We Live. MacInnes was a leading exponent of spy fiction for four decades, at a time when relatively few female authors were attracted to the genre. The 21 spy thrillers had sold over 23 million copies in the United States and had been translated into 22 languages by the time of her death. In 1966, MacInnes won the Columba Prize for Literature. See also WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. MACKENZIE, SIR COMPTON (1883–1972). Writer and novelist. Edward Montague Anthony Compton Mackenzie was born in West Hartlepool and educated at Oxford. He achieved some notoriety and success with his early novels Carnival (1912) and Sinister Street (1913–14) and, later, went on to be a popular and prolific middle-brow author with over 100 books to his name. Today he is best remembered for the comic novel Whiskey Galore (1947), which was made into a successful film at Ealing Studios.



During World War I, Mackenzie served unorthodoxly but with distinction as the director of the Intelligence Service in the Aegean, maintaining an impressive rapport with Mansfield Cumming, the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), but irritating more conventional officers who disapproved of his flamboyant style and habit of sending reports written in blank verse. Mackenzie later claimed that Cumming had wanted him to succeed to the head of SIS. He recorded his experiences in First Athenian Memories (1931), Greek Memories (1932, an uncensored edition not appearing in Great Britain until 2011), and Aegean Memories (1940). In the second of these accounts, the author revealed that a Whitehall agency called MII(c) was, in fact, SIS; that agents abroad disguised themselves as “passport control officers”; and that the identity of the first “C” was Sir Mansfield Cumming. The account also reproduced various documents to which the author had had access while on intelligence service in Athens in 1916. These revelations led to charges under the Official Secrets Act, including humiliating committal proceedings and a somewhat farcical trial, both held partly in camera. The author was found guilty, fined ₤100, and had to meet the crippling costs. In revenge for what he felt was a spiteful action, and to recoup his expenses, he wrote the now largely forgotten Water on the Brain (1933), a wickedly farcical comedy of the British Secret Service and the only serious rival to Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana (1958) as the greatest satire of British Intelligence. The court experience, which Mackenzie later compared to Alice in Wonderland, confirmed his life-long suspicion of, and contempt for, those in high office, and he reveled in deflating pomposity in Water on the Brain and his subsequent satirical novels, The Red Tapeworm (1941, wartime economy measures) and Rockets Galore (1957, plans to establish a rocket range in the Hebrides). It has recently been revealed that MI5 kept an eye on Mackenzie for a long period as he bore a grudge and was thought to be accumulating evidence on the incompetence of British Intelligence, as well as for his sympathy for Scottish nationalism. Mackenzie had previously written lighthearted fiction derived from his espionage experiences but without much success. Extremes Meet (1928) and The Three Couriers (1929) are set in southeast Europe around the time of World War I and feature the local British spy chief Roger Waterlow. Eric Ambler was a great admirer of The Three Couriers, but the novels had been largely upstaged by W. Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden stories, a fact that greatly annoyed Mackenzie. The approach was “unadorned farce,” Mackenzie seemingly drawing comic rather than dramatic inspiration from his Secret Service experience, and the stories have been judged as unfairly neglected. Mackenzie was appointed OBE in 1919, was knighted in 1952, and published his autobiography as My Life and Times in 1968. See also SPOOFS.



MACLEAN, ALISTAIR (1922–1987). Novelist. Alistair Stuart MacLean was born in Shettleston, Glasgow, and graduated from his hometown university. He served in the Royal Navy from 1941 to 1946, much of the time as a leading torpedo operator with Royalist on the notorious Russian convoys to Murmansk. Several of his novels would be set in the Arctic in which he provided evocative descriptions of the sensory experience of dreadful weather and freezing temperatures. He turned to writing in the mid-1950s and achieved instant success with his first novel, HMS Ulysses (1955), a story much-informed by his wartime experiences that sold a record-breaking 250,000 copies in hardback. There followed an unbroken string of bestselling thrillers and adventure stories in the tradition of fellow Scottish writer John Buchan, featuring straightforward action, stereotypical male-female relationships, and what many critics felt to be formulaic plots and cardboard heroes. Fear Is the Key (novel 1961, film 1972), The Satan Bug (as Ian Stuart, novel 1962, U.S. film, 1965), Ice Station Zebra (novel 1963, U.S. film, 1968), Puppet on a Chain (novel 1969, film 1971), Bear Island (novel 1971, Canada/UK film, 1979), Breakheart Pass (novel 1974, U.S. film, 1975), 20 other novels, four screenplays from his own stories, and several adaptations into films made MacLean one of the most successful authors in the world. Some of MacLean’s best-known stories involve daring clandestine operations behind enemy lines in World War II. The Guns of Navarone (novel 1957, film 1961) details the dangerous mission of a small party of saboteurs to destroy huge German guns trained on an isolated force of Allied soldiers. The sequel Force 10 from Navarone (novel 1968, film 1978) has the survivors from the first mission parachuted into wartime Yugoslavia to destroy two German armored divisions and save an embattled group of partisans. Where Eagles Dare (novel 1967, film 1968) deals with a complex undertaking to rescue a U.S. general in possession of crucial knowledge regarding DDay from the clutches of the Gestapo in an impregnable Bavarian castle fortress. Other novels are in a more contemporary style of espionage fiction. The Last Frontier (novel 1959, filmed as The Secret Ways, U.S., 1961) is a Cold War thriller dealing with a mission into communist Hungary to rescue an important Western scientist who is being coerced into working with the Reds. The Dark Crusader (as Ian Stuart, 1961) is MacLean’s most brazen attempt to produce an Ian Fleming–style secret agent saga, set in the exotic Pacific and involving the disappearance of key rocket scientists. When Eight Bells Toll (novel 1966, film 1971) is a fast-paced thriller involving the resourceful Treasury agent Philip Calvert investigating a series of bullion robberies on the high seas that are damaging the national exchequer, while



Circus (1975) deals with an acrobat recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency for a special mission in Eastern Europe, something the communist counteragents are determined to stop. With MacLean, the reader is immediately immersed into fast-paced physical action, vicariously enjoys vivid evocations of hostile environments, is provided with an absorbing integration of technology into the thrilling drama, as in brutal fights astride a cable car thousands of feet above a snowcovered valley or describing the sensation of dozens of bullets crashing into an airborne helicopter and the frenzied attempt to keep the whirling vehicle from smashing into the ground, and breathlessly led to a dramatic and rousing confrontation fraught with peril. His is a successful formula of masculine fiction, which, one critic asserted, leaves the hero facing “hostile men, a hostile environment, and hostile machines”; but it is also one—with the protagonist always possessing the manly virtues and the antagonists always recognizably evil—that has been criticized for its simplicity. It was claimed in 1978 that 17 of MacLean’s novels each sold over one million copies, outpacing Ian Fleming and making him one of the best-selling English novelists of all time. THE MAN CALLED KYRIL. Novel and television drama serial. The Man Called Kyril is a spy thriller written by John Trenhaile and first published in 1981. The aged chief of the KGB, Stanov, is under pressure to unearth the Soviet treachery that is leaking information to the British in London. In a highly secret mission, he deploys the agent known as Kyril to the West in an attempt to expose the traitor and deal with him. The thrilling story line oscillates from Kyril who is sought by both the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and the KGB (which is ignorant of his true mission), the British Secret Service (which has been deceived into thinking that Kyril is a possible defector), and the situation in Moscow (which has descended into a power struggle among Stanov, his rivals in the senior echelons of the KGB, and the Politburo). The complex game of cat and mouse is further complicated by a highly placed double agent in MI6, Royston, who feels compromised by the sudden frenetic activity in London and the widespread suspicion it has generated. The action moves swiftly to Athens, Brussels, and London, and the body count begins to climb. Kyril is able to overcome a British SIS agent in Greece, an attempt by the Central Intelligence Agency in Belgium to capture him for interrogation in Washington, and a KGB assassination attempt in London. Kyril learns that the senior KGB General Povin is the traitor in Moscow. The deep game finally plays out on a confrontation between Kyril and Royston—the former, on instinct, misinforming the latter that the traitor is General Michaelov of the KGB. Royston shoots Kyril and passes the information onto Moscow. In an ironic ending, the traitors Povin and Royston escape detection and enhance their standing in the Service.



The Man Called Kyril makes mention of actual double agents within the KGB in London, such as Oleg Lyalin (later a defector), and such notable historical events as the expulsion of 105 Soviet diplomats from London in 1971. Rather more fancifully, it suggests that Lyalin was eventually tortured and killed by the SIS, when, in fact, the Russian died of natural causes in the north of England in 1995 after serving the British faithfully. However, the introduction of fact into the story has the effect of making the fiction appear more authentic. An amusing detail has the double agent Royston a grammar schoolboy who has risen in the Service through talent and application. This appealed to Stanov, who, with advancing age and in reference to the more notorious of the British traitors, “was growing tired of elderly Cambridge dons with their peculiar sexual habits.” General Povin, the gentle traitor within the KGB, featured in two further novels by John Trenhaile, A View from the Square (1984) and Nocturne for a General (1985). The novel was dramatized for television as the two-part Codename: Kyril and broadcast on commercial television in 1988, with the impressive and bankable cast of Edward Woodward as Royston, Ian Charleson as Kyril, and Denholm Elliott as Povin. It is an expensive-looking Anglo-Norwegian production shot in England, Oslo (doubling as Moscow), and Holland with a budget of £3 million, and scripted by the respected John Hopkins who had previously co-adapted John le Carré’s Smiley’s People (1982). The producers faced some difficulties when star Woodward suffered a heart attack and a new character had to be hastily designed and cast to cover uncompleted scenes. The review in the Guardian judged Codename: Kyril a “superior thriller,” and the serial was admired mainly for its impressive production values, blending of intelligent espionage drama with spy thriller action, and a uniformly accomplished cast. See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS. Book and motion picture. OPERATION MINCEMEAT was an ingenious British wartime deception plan to deceive the Germans into thinking that in 1943 the Allies were intending to invade Sardinia and Greece simultaneously rather than the real target of Sicily. The “method” of the deception was stated as follows: “Take one anonymous corpse. Outfit him as a major of the Royal Marines, plant secret messages on him, and cast him from a submarine into the sea where he will float to the shores of neutralist Spain. Hope and pray the Spaniards will find the body with the false messages and turn them over to the Nazis.” The official history of British Intelligence in World War II has described OPERATION MINCEMEAT as “the best known and perhaps the most successful single deception operation of the entire war.”



A fictional account of the story was controversially published as Operation Heartbreak in 1950, written by former wartime minister Duff Cooper. Material on aspects of the deception was also appearing in memoirs written by German officers, and Commander Ewen Montagu, one of the Naval Intelligence officers who planned the operation, decided to write a full account. The story, apparently written over a single weekend, first appeared in serialized form in the Sunday Express in 1953 as The Man Who Never Was, and shortly thereafter as a book. Although the published account gave the impression that it was authorized, the Security Service was horrified that the sanctity of wartime secrecy should be violated; yet the authorities failed to suppress the book. Montagu provides a fascinating insight into the planning and execution of a difficult and sensitive operation. The immense problem of securing the right kind of corpse, building up a credible legend for the fictitious “Major William Martin of the Royal Marines,” lending authenticity to the strategic documents he was to carry, and thinking through the possible responses of German Intelligence on the remarkable discovery it was about to make. The Man Who Never Was was one of a number of factual accounts of exploits in World War II that began to appear in the 1950s and, according to the Saturday Review, was “the best book of its kind to come out of the war.” The book, reprinted on numerous occasions, was dramatized in a film version made by 20th Century Fox in Great Britain in 1955. The movie starred the American Clifton Webb as Montagu and, for dramatic excitement, invented the character of an Irishman, an agent for the Germans in Britain, who has to confirm the authenticity of Major Martin and the papers he is carrying. A role was also found for the Hollywood starlet Gloria Grahame, who is imposed on the story to provide emotional drama. Monthly Film Bulletin found the script “inhibited,” the film, like many war pictures, “reserved and somewhat stiff in style and approach.” Despite this criticism, the script by Nigel Balchin won a British Film Academy Award. It was revealed in the 1960s that Ewen Montagu’s brother, the Honourable Ivor Montagu, had been a spy for the Soviets, with the code name INTELLIGENTSIA and connected with the so-called XGroup run by the GRU (Soviet Military Intelligence). Detailed studies of the deception have been published as Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story That Changed the Course of World War II by Ben Macintyre and Deathly Deception: The Real Story of Operation Mincemeat (both 2010) by Denis Smyth, part of the intense recent interest in the secret war. See also SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II. THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY. Novel. The Man Who Was Thursday is a celebrated novel of anarchists and revolutionaries written by G. K. Chesterton and first published in 1908. The story’s hero is Gabriel Syme, a poetdetective appointed to the Secret Police Service with an abhorrence of disor-



der, who infiltrates the General Council of the Anarchists of Europe. He is admitted to the inner sanctum of the Council of Seven, where he is known as Thursday; the members are named after the days of the week, with Sunday being reserved for the impressive and intimidating leader. Syme is surprised to find other detectives covertly serving on the Council in elaborate disguises and joins forces to thwart a plot to assassinate the czar of Russia and to bring about the downfall of the insidious organization. There follows a series of “mad adventures” as the protagonist calls them, which include a duel, a terrifying chase of the policemen through the French countryside, and a wild pursuit of Sunday through London and into rural England. Gilbert K. Chesterton wrote poetry, history, journalism, and fiction; he is most famous for the short stories featuring the amateur detective Father Brown. Like Syme, Chesterton, a Christian and eventually a converted Catholic, was appalled by the thought of anarchy, chaos, and the collapse of the social order. On the day before his death in 1936, the author wrote that The Man Who Was Thursday did not describe the world as it was; instead, it was “intended to describe the world of wild doubt and despair which the pessimists were generally describing at that date.” An unclassifiable novel, it has variously been described as “a comic fantasy,” “a metaphysical thriller,” “a Christian allegory,” “a fascinating mystery,” and a “boy’s adventure story”; although the immediate context of the story, that of anarchist conspiracies and bomb outrages, and the figure of the penetration agent, place The Man Who Was Thursday in the contemporary cycle of terrorism narratives and early espionage literature. The Man Who Was Thursday is subtitled A Nightmare, and the term captures, in the description of Robert Giddings, the book’s “brilliantly original blending of relatively straightforward cloak and dagger elements with the metaphysical and even the apocalyptic.” Chesterton evokes the nightmarish in a variety of ways, most memorably in the blood-red sunsets reflected hellishly in the River Thames, which hint at Armageddon, and the story is threaded through with a generally surreal and oneiric quality. Philip Jenkins, writing on spy fiction and terrorism, judges The Man Who Was Thursday as constructing a “kaleidoscopic world of deception and shifting loyalties; which may make it one of the most accurate fictional studies of intelligence ever written.” MARKSTEIN, GEORGE (1929–1987). Novelist, scriptwriter, and script editor. Markstein was born in Berlin, but his family fled Germany on the rise of Nazism and settled in Great Britain. From 1947, he worked as a journalist, initially on the Southport Guardian and, later, on the U.S. forces paper The Overseas Weekly as head of the London desk. He eventually moved into television, working on the current affairs program This Week, and he later served as story consultant on Court Martial (TV 1966). Markstein went on to



contribute as writer and story consultant to many important television dramas, specializing in action and mystery series such as Mystery and Imagination and Frontier (both 1968), The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes (1971–73), Shadows of Fear (1973), Shades of Greene (1975–76), and Return of the Saint (1978). He was also the scriptwriter of the thriller films Robbery (1967) and The Odessa File (1974). Markstein made a particularly significant contribution to television spy dramas. He commenced as story consultant on the espionage series Danger Man (1966–67), was script editor and cocreator of The Prisoner (1967–68), was story editor for the first season of Special Branch (1969) and the third and fourth seasons of Callan (1970–72), and wrote the pilot and two further episodes for Mr. Palfrey of Westminster (1983–85). Markstein also wrote and published a series of spy thrillers through the 1970s and 1980s. These commenced with The Cooler (1974), a murder story set in the secret world of sabotage and subterfuge in World War II, which drew on Markstein’s awareness of “Inverlair,” a secret establishment where burned-out agents were sent to “cool off.” Other espionage novels included The Man from Yesterday (1976), Traitor for a Cause (1979), and Soul Hunters (1987). Chance Awakening (1977), about a sleeper agent in Zurich reactivated to eliminate rivals, was made into the film Espion, lève-toi in France in 1982. MASCULINITY. Spy stories largely appeal to a male readership. While women in spy fiction, as authors and characters, have been significant, narratives of action, adventure, and intrigue populated by masculine heroes have been most attractive to men. Ken Follett, the best-selling author of thrillers, has defined the conventional spy story as “about a man who appears to lead a fairly ordinary life but in fact goes about secretly doing enormously important things like toppling governments, stealing folders, killing people and saving the world. It’s a fantasy many men—writers and readers—can share. . . . We have this fantasy because we’re trained to seek power: through promotion at work and through money; over a wife and children, and ultimately, in international politics, over other nations.” A century of modern British spy fiction has witnessed changing representations of its male heroes, shifting emphasis across such factors as class, professionalism, romance, and sexuality, and each age has constructed a preferred form for its spies and secret agents. The late Victorian and Edwardian periods established the ideal masculine type as the imperial-soldier-gentleman, a figure central to the literature of adventure of the period and novels such as King Solomon’s Mines (1885), The Four Feathers (1902), and Sanders of the River (1911). The upper-middle-class characters in these stories were imbued with a strong sense of institutional loyalty, conformism, decency, and chivalry; were likely



to be self-sacrificing and traditional in artistic taste and politics; were suspicious of foreigners and intellectuals; and possessed a natural authority, a strong belief in the moral superiority of the British, and an unflinching endurance. Such qualities were instilled and strengthened at public school and university, where the type inevitably excelled at sport and won a wide circle of admirers. Classic stories of espionage and adventure in the decade before World War I include Kim (1901) and The Riddle of the Sands (1903). The former has been seen in terms of the forging of wise and able-bodied men out of the raw materials of boys, exalting the merits of hard work, earnest devotion, and patriotism. The latter demonstrates in its two gentlemen heroes “a fire of pent-up patriotism struggling for an outlet in strenuous physical expression”; the narrator proudly describes one of these amateur sailors as a “a sun-burnt, brine-burnt zealot smarting under a personal discontent, a thirst for a means, however tortuous, of contributing his effort to the great cause, the maritime supremacy of Britain.” Patrick Howarth suggests that John Buchan’s Richard Hannay, a protagonist in five novels between 1915 and 1936, is the purest form of the archetype of the amateur gentleman hero. Hannay is a colonial toughened by years on the veldt, possesses natural intelligence and a quick wit, delights in the outdoors, and recognizes the quality of a gentleman whenever he finds them. The spy story, with its expression of “the inarticulate supremacy of the English gentleman,” clearly served as a form of fictional reassurance at a time when historical change and international rivalries created much uncertainty. There is, of course, a strong class bias in the literature, and the sociologist Joan Rockwell identifies a “prime myth” regarding the British upper classes: “the delusion that it is a genuine elite, distinguished by an ‘effortless superiority.’” The “Pimpernel Syndrome,” as she has termed it, suggests that the English gentleman “does everything better, with no trouble, than the lower orders do with great effort.” The historian Richard Deacon, however, warns against undue flippancy when considering the British approach to intelligence in the period, arguing that “Britain’s greatest eras in her Secret Service history have been marked by brilliant amateurs, eccentric individualism and imaginative projects often arising from the absurd to the professionally sublime.” The essential qualities of the amateur gentleman hero—a sense of duty and service, an infallible common sense, and a passionate, uncritical love for the concept of England—were carried forward into the post–World War I period. The archetype was fulfilled by E. Phillips Oppenheim’s Major Henry Owston and Baron Charles Dutley, Edgar Wallace’s Captain Dick Gordon, and “Bulldog” Drummond by “Sapper.” Such men lived in well-appointed “rooms,” frequented diplomatic salons, were members of the better gentlemen’s clubs of London where they enjoyed the company of other successful men, and, as such, attracted the label clubland heroes. Two female stereotypes dominate in these stories—the villainous temptress and the virtuous



damsel—and the chivalrous male hero who basks in homosocial comradeship is ready to admit that he knows nothing of romance and the feminine sphere. An important and influential story such as The Thirty-Nine Steps has no heroine at all, and the middle-aged hero Richard Hannay dispenses with women all together until his third adventure, Mr. Standfast (1919). Eminent genre novelist Eric Ambler has fittingly described the style of spy fiction of this period as “suave, stuffed-shirted intrigue.” Historical forces and social change were against the clubland hero serving as an acceptable archetype beyond the 1920s, and masculinity in the spy thriller shifted toward a more modern and democratic form. Some of this was attributable to the emergence of a new reading public and corresponding change in literary style. Many working-class readers found the classical formalism of the English novel with its higher-class sensibilities alien, and found the new, tough, vernacular American style more to their taste. The writing of Dashiell Hammett and Ernest Hemingway has been called a “masculine style,” one which renunciates detail in favor of action, of experience in favor of ideas, offers minimal dialogue and a greater objectification of the language. The “hard-boiled” approach influenced writers such as Graham Greene, whose thrillers grafted the darker, more cynical mood of the American method onto English landscapes, and Peter Cheyney, who consciously aped the vernacular and characterizations of popular American crime fiction. In the postwar period, the “tough” approach informed the spy thrillers of Ian Fleming and Len Deighton. Fleming stated that his fictional agent James Bond was “Bulldog” Drummond from the waist up, but Mickey Spillane from the waist down, acknowledging the blend of traditional British and modern American in the character; and Deighton’s intense first-person narration for his early spy novels was clearly drawn from the hard-boiled detective style of Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Interest in masculinity and popular British culture has mainly centered on the postwar decades of the 1950s and 1960s, a time of adjustment and accommodation for men in society, as well as an important period for spy fiction in British literature. The re-assimilation of the wartime male into peacetime society is seen to have resulted in a fractured or split masculinity. On the one hand, men were required to maintain the “tough” pose of the “soldier-subject” as reinforced through National Service, which operated between 1948 and 1963, and on the other hand, to settle down as a “family man” and perform his responsibility as “breadwinner.” The relative military, imperial, and industrial decline of Great Britain in the period was a significant context informing attitudes regarding male potency in the period. The central figure in considering spy fiction and masculinity in the 1950s and 1960s is James Bond, who embodies “tough” qualities of power, domination, security, and guiltless sexuality to counter the anxieties of domesticity, decline, and emasculation. The secret agent’s competence and heroism are a



comforting reassurance in face of wilting Great Power status; he is endowed with modernizing codes of conspicuous consumption, exotic tourism, and liberated Playboy sexuality, which, in the words of Brian Baker, furnish British masculinity with a “retrograde fantasy-figure of sexual and political potency.” Cawelti and Rosenberg, however, warn of the “procession of lesbian, homoerotic, and voyeuristic episodes,” which “forms a continual counterpoint to the liberated heterosexual ethos which Bond officially practices.” James Bond fits with other notable social trends of the period, and in alluding to the secret agent as the “spy-hero as organization man,” Cawelti and Rosenberg situate the character (comfortingly) in a contemporary sociology that was taking note of the rise of large corporations and government bureaucracies and the individual’s place within them—a refinement in middle-class masculinity that assumed the label “the man in the grey flannel suit.” In a different vein, Sean Connery, who played Bond on screen in the 1960s, was established as a be-suited or bare-chested male icon in numerous photospreads, constructed as an object of the gaze and harbinger of the male body on display: a figure of “commodified male beauty” as he had been called. The anxieties of the period found alternative and critical expression in the novels of John le Carré and Len Deighton. Here, the treatment of masculinity was less reassuring, more informed by the shame of treachery of recent spy scandals. The “queer” politics and sexuality of such traitors as Guy Burgess and John Vassall were articulated as the “split subject” of the double agent and the problem of fractured and inauthentic identity. Novels such as le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963, the character of Alex Leamas) and Deighton’s Funeral in Berlin (1964, the character of Johnnie Vulkan), as well as Derek Marlowe’s A Dandy in Aspic (1966, the character of Alexander Eberlin) and the later The Innocent (1990, the character of Leonard Marnham) by Ian McEwan, use the divided city of Berlin as a symbol of the loss of subjectivity of a character, the disorientation of a divided self, and the unstable, performative construction of Cold War masculinity. In these stories, men are less sure of themselves, their loyalties, and beliefs, and the stories are more likely to end tragically rather than heroically. Wesley K. Wark commented on the figure of the “righteous man” who emerged with the new spy fiction of the 1960s, one “able to hold principles in an unprincipled age,” characteristic of the morally probing literature and more than a faint echo of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. Another transitional figure of masculinity in British spy fiction is the nameless narrator of the early Len Deighton novels, known as Harry Palmer in the three movie adaptations of the later 1960s where he is played by Michael Caine. Palmer is appreciated as a conscious reaction to James Bond, lower class and streetwise, who conspicuously wears glasses in the films. As such, he is dissociated from the establishment, made apparent



through his ironic comments on the privileged senior officers; he offers a mild critique of the class system that links him to the literature of the Angry Young Men of the 1950s and is distanced from idealized forms of male sexuality. However, Palmer also responds to emergent modes of consumption and life style of the 1960s, exhibiting a distinctly European taste, shopping at delicatessens and cooking extravagantly for himself in a consciously sophisticated, metropolitan, and aspirational attitude. In the first story The Ipcress File (1962), the character admiringly refers to himself as “the slick, modern intelligence agent, ˮ and the type embodies the “cool” qualities of detachment, unemotionality, and dispassionate observance, further legacies from the Raymond Chandler hard-boiled detective. The cultural trend has been seen by Brian Baker as “a kind of narcissistic masculine and heterosexual consumption aligned with ‘action’ genres and sexual success.” The type was provided with an even more youthful and hip protagonist in the spy stories of Adam Diment in the late 1960s, where listening to Bob Dylan and smoking pot are the markers of generational divide and social and cultural revolt. The modern spy of fiction broadly fits into the heroic archetype of the loner, and the figure is required to embody “the essential isolation of the secret agent.” On the one hand, this serves to keep the character “unentangled”; hence the endless bouts of gratuitous and guilt-free sex for James Bond and his clones who must be free to embark on the next adventure and the next conquest. Spy writer George Markstein explains the popularity of the modern fictional secret agent in terms of identification and wish fulfillment, claiming that “as society and the state exercise increasing pressures on us to conform, we adore the man who dares to defy restrictions and conventions.” In an alternative formulation, isolation and aloneness serve to mark the critical alienation of protagonists such as Alec Leamas in le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and David Callan in the television series that bore his name between 1967 and 1972. In such narratives, social and political pressure erodes individual autonomy, and rather than free agents the antiheroes are pawns in somebody else’s game, prisoners of wrong choices made long ago and now irrevocable. The characters of Leamas and Callan and their brethren in British spy fiction are points of identification and empathy for male readers who suffer the alienation of the “lonely crowd” and the impotency of modern bureaucratic existence. In a slightly more satirical vein, the secret agent Charlie Muffin in the stories of Brian Freemantle, which commenced in 1977, is another identity figure for the common man. Socially disadvantaged but endowed with natural ability and native intelligence, Muffin sets out with the simple code of “screw the opposition before they screw you.” Describing himself as “a worn out old bugger of forty-one without a bank account of his own who can only afford Spanish plonk,” Muffin is the



archetypal anti-Bond, an everyman to appeal to those millions of men who feel crushed by the system and want to put one over on their boss and their social superiors. THE MASK OF DIMITRIOS. Novel. The Mask of Dimitrios, published in 1939, is the fifth and best known of the spy novels of Eric Ambler. The story centers on Charles Latimer, an English scholar and writer of detective stories, who meets the colorful Colonel Haki of the Turkish secret police in Istanbul and is made aware of the criminal Dimitrios Makropoulos, recently found dead in the waters of the Bosphorus. Latimer becomes obsessed with the murdered villain and embarks on an “experiment in detection,” attempting to piece together the shadowy life and criminal career of Dimitrios, which began with the vicious murder of a moneylender in Smyrna in 1922. The seemingly hopeless investigation takes Latimer from Istanbul to Athens; in Bulgaria, Latimer falls in with the suspicious Peters and he then continues on to Geneva. At each stage, the Englishman learns more about the unsavory character and activities of the Greek-named crook and conspirator. Finally in Paris, Latimer is astonished to be told that Dimitrios is alive and is a successful financier. Latimer also learns that the body he saw in Istanbul belongs to one of the associates in the drug trade who had been pressing the gang leader for money, and that Peters wants Latimer to help him in blackmailing Dimitrios for a million francs. The English gentleman will have nothing to do with the money, but he is interested in pursuing the story to a conclusion, “to see the last act of the grotesque comedy.” At the exchange, Peters and Dimitrios shoot each other dead, and Latimer is lucky to escape with his life. Latimer is one of Ambler’s “hesitant heroes,” a nonprofessional drawn into a world of criminal and political intrigue. The setting of the Near East and the Balkans was typical for Ambler who found in this region a suitably exotic, unstable, and morally murky location for tales of international intrigue. Again, characteristic of the author, the dark forces behind the criminals are unchecked capitalism and international finance. A journalist describes the Dimitrios types of this world to Latimer: “He believes in the survival of the fittest and the gospel of tooth and claw because he makes money by seeing that the weak die before they can become strong and that the law of the jungle remains the governing force in the affairs of the world. . . . He exists because big business, his master, needs him. International big business may conduct its operations with scraps of paper, but the ink it uses is human blood!” Later in the story, Peters explains to Latimer that the difference between Dimitrios and the more respectable type of businessman is only one of method: “Both in their respective ways equally ruthless.” Ambler puts this sentiment into the immediate world struggle when he

MASON, A. E. W. (1865–1948)


writes, “The logic of Michaelangelo’s David, Beethoven’s quartets and Einstein’s physics had been replaced by that of the Stock Exchange Yearbook and Hitler’s Mein Kampf.” There is a self-conscious engagement with mystery fiction in the story. Latimer, although a scholar, is a writer of detective stories; he is motivated by his “experiment in detection” and, following his recent experience, concludes that money is the soundest of motives for murder. There are typical references in the narrative to popular spy stories, tales that one character dismisses as “naïve,” and from which, one suspects, Ambler seeks to distance himself. Charles Latimer is the protagonist of the later The Intercom Conspiracy (1969), and Colonel Haki reappears in Journey into Fear (1940). A Hollywood film of The Mask of Dimitrios starring Peter Lorre was released in 1944. MASON, A. E. W. (1865–1948). Novelist. Alfred Edward Woodley Mason was born in Camberwell, south London. He studied classics at Oxford; a failing actor, he published his first novel, A Romance of Wastdale, in 1895. The phenomenal success of The Four Feathers (1902) turned Mason into a leading writer of adventure fiction for the next three decades. He was also successful with, and is remembered for, his detective fiction featuring the series character Inspector Hanaud. Mason was elected as a Liberal member of Parliament for Coventry in the 1906 election, where he served for a single Parliament. Mason, at the age of 50, served as a major in the Royal Marine Light Infantry in World War I, completing his military service as a Naval Intelligence officer in Spain, Morocco, and Mexico. Mason greatly enjoyed adventure and sought it out in sailing, mountain climbing, and exploration. There have been reports that Mason, while on intelligence service in Spain, thwarted German attempts to introduce anthrax among the Allied troops on the western front; later, in Mexico, he put out of action a clandestine German wireless transmitter. It is reputed that Mason, a respected figure, continued to have influence in British Intelligence circles after the war. The historian Richard Deacon judged Mason’s role in the Secret Service as “both versatile and considerable,” his influence extending to the maintenance of a peacetime espionage service on Gibraltar (which was crucial during World War II) and the winning over to British interests of the rich and influential Spaniard Juan March. It is probable that some of Mason’s espionage exploits figured in the two spy novels he authored and in some short stories that featured in The Four Corners of the World (1917). The Summons (1920) was a romance set in Spain in which a British agent must clear his girlfriend of murder; The Winding Stair (1923) has a British agent aiding the French in putting down a



rebellion fomented by the Germans in Morocco. Mason is widely judged a better writer than his leading contemporaries of spy fiction such as William Le Queux and E. Phillips Oppenheim. See also SPY AS NOVELIST. MASQUERADE. See CASTLE MINERVA. MASTERMAN, SIR JOHN CECIL (1891–1977). Scholar, intelligence officer, and novelist. Masterman was born into a naval family but turned his back on the sea for a life as a scholar at Oxford University. His one misfortune was to find himself in Germany at the outbreak of war in 1914 where he was interned for the duration. He was able to make amends during World War II when he served in counterespionage, most brilliantly as chairman of the highly secret Twenty (XX) Committee, which channeled the flow of information through double agents to the enemy, hence the “double-cross” moniker. The ruse played a decisive role in putting across the brilliant cover plan (FORTITUDE SOUTH) of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, which tied down German reserves in the Pas-de-Calais not only before but well after D-Day, and has been called “the greatest deception in the history of warfare.” Masterman was later able to make the astonishing assertion that “we actively ran and controlled the German espionage system in this country.” In 1957, Masterman published the novel The Case of the Four Friends, which bears a fictional relationship to the author’s wartime work in agent running and misinformation. It is partly set in wartime Lisbon, a location that Masterman later referred to as “a kind of international clearing ground, a busy ant-heap of agents and spies.” In the novel, he depicts an international center or clearing house where secrets, true and false, are bought and sold. Masterman, a keen sportsman, played hockey and tennis for England, toured Canada playing cricket with the famous MCC Club, and has been described as “probably the best all-round games player ever to join the Security Service.” A thoroughly establishment figure, he was appointed OBE in 1944 and knighted in 1959. He published in the United States, after some resistance from the authorities, a classic account of the classified work of the XX Committee as The Double-Cross System in the War of 1939–45 (1972), and his autobiography as On the Chariot Wheel (1975). See also SPY AS NOVELIST. MAUGHAM, W. SOMERSET (1874–1965). Novelist, playwright, and wartime secret agent. Maugham, christened William, was born at the British embassy, Paris, a member of a distinguished legal family. Although he qualified as a doctor, Maugham turned to writing, achieving modest success with his first novel, Liza of Lambeth (1897). By 1908, Maugham was a popular

MAUGHAM, W. SOMERSET (1874–1965)


dramatist, having four plays running in London’s West End. His later major successes on the stage include Home and Beauty (1919), The Circle (1921), and The Letter (1927), while his novels Of Human Bondage (1915), The Moon and Sixpence (1919), and The Painted Veil (1925) are significant literary achievements of the period. Maugham was one of the first important literary figures of the modern period to be recruited for espionage. He was approached in 1915 by Sir John Wallinger, a senior figure in the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), to serve in a neutral country with the credible cover of researching a new novel. Maugham, intrigued, was glad to escape a complicated romantic situation in London and served two periods in Switzerland across 1915–16. In 1917, he was approached by Sir Joseph Wiseman, the SIS representative in the United States, to serve as an agent in Petrograd, again posing as a writer, aiming, according to Maugham, to “keep Russia in the war and prevent the Bolsheviks from seizing power,” or, in the more limited view of surviving SIS files, simply “to start an Intelligence and Propaganda service in Russia.” Later, Maugham returned to England with a secret message from Kerensky and the provisional government—reporting it was losing its grip on power and seeking political and military support—which the writer delivered to Prime Minister Lloyd George. These experiences provided the material for the seven short tales that collectively have become known as the Ashenden stories, first published in 1928. The British agent Ashenden clearly stands in for Maugham and his wartime service in Switzerland and Russia. Depicting the leaden routine of much espionage work and the possibility of making deadly mistakes, the stories stand in stark contrast to the romantic adventurism of much contemporary spy fiction. Maugham later commented: “I venture to think at all counts in England it is the first time anyone has written of the business who knew anything about it.” Despite his cynicism in writing about “secret service,” it has been claimed that Maugham was successful in his missions, especially in Russia where his reports have been praised for their accuracy and his advice for its credibility. Maugham allegedly wrote further Ashenden stories, but apparently these were refused publication, some say by Winston Churchill, and were destroyed at the request of the British Secret Service. The later celebrated author John le Carré considered Maugham “the first person to write about espionage in a mood of disenchantment and almost prosaic reality.” Maugham volunteered his services to SIS during World War II but had to content himself with a propaganda tour of the United States at the request of the Ministry of Information. He only wrote one further novel with an espionage element, Hour before Dawn (1941), written at the request of the Ministry


MCKENNA, MARTHE (1892–1966)

of Information to show North Americans a typical British family facing up to war. In the story, a German refugee resident with the family is revealed as a spy. Other former intelligence officers of World War I who wrote of their experience include Paul Dukes with Red Dusk and Morrow: Adventures and Investigations in Soviet Russia (1922) and Compton Mackenzie with First Athenian Memories (1931), Greek Memories (1932, an uncensored edition not appearing in Great Britain until 2011), and Aegean Memories (1940). See also SHORT SPY STORY; SPY AS NOVELIST. MCKENNA, MARTHE (1892–1966). World War I agent and writer. McKenna was born Marthe Cnockaert in Westroosebeke, Belgium; she studied at the medical school of Ghent University and served as a nurse when her country was overrun by the Germans in 1914. For almost two years, Marthe, code-named “Laura,” supplied British Intelligence with valuable information about enemy troop movements and military deployments, and aided in the escape of Allied prisoners. As described by one publisher, it was a life “packed with hairbreadth escapes, strange midnight journeys and assignations, and wildly daring exploits.” Eventually, Marthe was arrested by the Germans for her part in the destruction of an ammunition dump. Although sentenced to death, she spent the remainder of the war in prison. She enjoyed the singular distinction of receiving the Iron Cross bestowed by the King of Würtemburg for her nursing of German wounded; a certificate from the British War Office noting her “gallant and distinguished services in the Field” and signed by the secretary of state for war, Winston Churchill; and the Légion d’honneur from both the French and Belgian governments. She married the British army officer John McKenna in 1918. A visiting writer convinced the McKennas to publish the remarkable story of Marthe and it duly appeared, probably written by John, as I Was a Spy! in 1932. It was quickly turned into a film in Great Britain, starring Madeleine Carroll. A collection of anecdotes under the title of Spies I Knew followed in 1934. The McKennas then turned to writing thrillers, “the perfect example of the spy who turned to spy fiction” as one critic expressed it. A Spy Was Born (1935), My Master Spy (1936), and Lancer Spy (1937) were set during World War I but were wholly in the romantic tradition, where the hero was typically male (and English) and women appeared as love interests, damsels in distress, or seductive villains. Feminist critics Patricia Craig and Mary Cadogan have sadly judged that “despite the authenticity of her experiences, some of her early spy stories now seem inflated and unreal.” As war in Europe loomed again, the McKennas turned to the Nazi threat in novels such as Hunt the Spy (1939) and Watch across the Channel (1944). The last of the fiction was What’s Past Is Prologue, published in 1951.



The stories were probably written by John if planned by both parties. Unfortunately, the fiction was formulaic and avoided the amazing and dangerous experiences of the young woman. Marthe McKenna will be best remembered for her contributions as an intelligence agent during the First World War, when most modern intelligence services were still in their infancy. As one commentator generously observed, Marthe was “completely inexperienced in such work, she pursued her activities under undeniably dangerous circumstances and paid a heavy price when caught. Her efforts put her in the company of a select group of women agents of the period whose achievements and experiences are only beginning to receive serious attention within the broader field of the history of intelligence operations.” The exploits of Louise de Bettignies, another female Belgian spy for the Allies, is told in The Queen of Spies (1935) by Major Coulson. See also SPY AS NOVELIST; WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. MCNEILE, HERMAN CYRIL. See “SAPPER” (1888–1937). MEXICO SET. See GAME, SET AND MATCH. MI5. The British organization for state security and counterintelligence. The earliest official record of espionage in England dates from 18 December 1324 and concerns the interception of mails. Intelligence gathering and counterespionage was noticeably developed during the reign of Elizabeth I in the 16th century and a Great Britain facing the threat from Catholic Spain. The government had used spies during the turmoil of the Industrial Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars; however, by the Victorian period, secret agents and political police were frowned upon as something un-English, unsporting, fatal to the ideal of “freedom,” and incompatible with the status of an officer and gentleman. There was an important change in attitude in the modern period, when the Secret Service Bureau was established in 1909 to deal with what was being reported as “an extensive system of German espionage.” It was headed by Captain Vernon Kell. Following on detailed preparatory work, all the agents of any significance working for German Naval Intelligence were rounded up at the outbreak of war in 1914. Throughout the war, counterespionage maintained a dominant upper hand over German agents in Britain. As the war progressed, and its complement of officers greatly expanded to 844, domestic subversion increasingly began to occupy MI5 (designated as such in 1916 and often referred to as the Security Service) as industrial disputes could do so much damage to the war economy. During the inter-war period, a depleted MI5 occupied itself with domestic subversion, whether communist or fascist, and in countering Soviet and German espionage, perceived to be the main threats. Particular effort was put to



penetrating the Communist Party of Great Britain, with success coming in 1938 and the unmasking of a Soviet spy ring at the Woolwich Arsenal. MI5 also succeeded in penetrating the London embassy of Nazi Germany. However, the counterespionage service in the inter-war period lacked substantial means and, like much of British Intelligence, was something of a private club. As one observer ironically commented, “MI5’s slender prewar resources allowed it to recruit fewer bright young British men than Soviet Intelligence”; the Security Service engaged only two recent graduates in the decade before World War II, significantly fewer than the graduate recruits to the KGB and GRU (Soviet Military Intelligence). The period of the 1940s and 1950s witnessed astonishing penetration of the secret corridors of power in Britain by the communists. During World War II, the Security Service played a key role in contending with fears of a “fifth column” of Nazi sympathizers in Britain, combating enemy espionage and intercepting German communications. None of the more than 100 German agents targeted at Britain managed any discernible achievement, and many were effectively “doubled” in the celebrated “XX” system and used to feed misinformation back to their masters. Under its new head, Sir David Petrie, the Service underwent major reforms that greatly improved its ability to deal with the demands of wartime. The Cold War also placed great demands on the Security Service. Soviet bloc espionage and subversion were key concerns during the period, and MI5 had to deal with covert measures to infiltrate the British state and destabilize democracy. The rise of the ultra Left in the form of revolutionary and Trotskyite groups such as the Workers Revolutionary Party, Socialist Workers Party, and Militant Tendency in the 1970s and 1980s increasingly occupied the security services in terms of both political and industrial subversion. From the early 1970s onward, terrorism emerged as a serious threat to national security, especially in terms of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland and the expansion of state-sponsored international terror. MI5 was central to the exposure of the atom spies in the late 1950s, and soon after of communist penetration of British Intelligence. Such revelations and suspicions were humiliating and demoralizing. A “Culture of Secrecy” has enveloped MI5 throughout much of its history, a characteristic some attributed less to operational efficiency and more to hiding unsavory activities or evading democratic accountability. This has not helped its public profile, which took severe knocks in the 1980s following allegations of “dirty tricks” against the Labour Party leader Harold Wilson; accusations that Sir Roger Hollis, director general of MI5 between 1956 and 1965, had been a Soviet agent; and the controversy of the “Spycatcher Affair.” There has also been a history of rivalry and jealousy with the sister service MI6, which has undoubtedly harmed national security. MI6 has traditionally referred to MI5 as “The Snoopers.”



The organs of British Intelligence for most of their history have occupied a peculiar constitutional position. As the legal scholar David Williams noted in 1965: “The Security Service has come to occupy a unique position in this country. It has no defined status. It has no statutory origin: in truth, it just ‘growed.’ It appears independent of all departments of the central government.” Unsurprisingly, this has led to serious doubts about the accountability of a service “unrecognised by law,” and any satisfactory democratic control of the Security Service. In recent times, however, the domestic Security Service has shed its cloak of secrecy, slowly but not unfalteringly built a more favorable image, and earned a degree of public trust and respect as the guardian against terrorism. In December 1989, under pressure to conform to the European Human Rights Convention, MI5 acquired a place in the statute books, its public existence was recognized for the first time, and the Service entered a new phase of its history that required at least a degree of corporate image building. The intelligence services now routinely place job advertisements in the press, make career presentations at recruitment fairs, promote themselves as modern equal opportunity employers, and maintain impressive websites. The modernization in recruitment meant that by the early 1990s, the Service’s staff were on average younger and from more varied social backgrounds; additionally, 40 percent of MI5’s officers were female, and recently two women occupied the position of director general: Stella Rimington (1992–96) and Eliza Manningham-Buller (2002–7). Rimington expressed the significant change in culture: “Our detractors who accuse us of being conservative, old-fashioned, Cold War warriors are a very long way from the truth.” In an act designed to suggest greater transparency, the eminent historian Christopher Andrew was approved to write the official history The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 in 2009. With the end of the Cold War, it was initially felt that MI5 had lost its main role, and within a diminishing complement, the emphasis shifted from the traditional function of counterespionage and counter-subversion to that of a more limited counterterrorism. However, the effects of globalization, and the increased interdependency of nation states in terms of communications and finance, has meant new challenges for the Security Service, notably in countering “complex clandestine networks” engaged in narcotics, money laundering, people trafficking, warlordism, nuclear proliferation, and the illegal weapons trade. This has meant new resources in the fight against international organized crime and to secure the e-infrastructure essential for commerce and finance. The consolidation of a British “security state” took on a fresh urgency in face of the “new terrorism” that surfaced with the attacks in New York on 9 September 2001 and London on 7 July 2005, and efforts were increasingly devoted to protective security and turning Britain into a “hard target.” By 2007, MI5 had overwhelmingly become a counterterrorist agency, and only a small fraction of its budget was now being devoted to



counterespionage. The Security Service has seen its traditional role as that of “operating as a relatively small, politically independent national institution secretly defending Britain against covert, hostile adversaries.” MI5, sometimes disguised, and other organs of the British Security Service such as Special Branch, have regularly featured in British spy fiction. Serving and former officers such as Maxwell Knight, John Bingham, John le Carré, and Stella Rimington have all written “insider” spy fiction. Many popular thrillers have featured hardworking MI5 officers dealing with the threats of foreign espionage and of terrorism, for example, Gavin Lyall’s The Secret Servant (novel 1980, TV 1984), Frederick Forsyth’s The Fourth Protocol (novel 1984, film 1987), and the Alec Millius stories written by Charles Cumming. Historical spy fiction has treated MI5 in World War II in Spy-Catcher (TV 1959–61), Ken Follett’s The Eye of the Needle (novel 1978, film 1981), and Robert Harris’s Enigma (novel 1995, film 2001); in the early Cold War in Foyle’s War (2013 and 2015); in the middle Cold War in Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth (2012); in the television thriller serial The Game (2014), and in famous cases dealing with notorious traitors in Blunt (1987), Philby, Burgess & Maclean (1977), A Question of Attribution (1991), and The Cambridge Spies (2003). The Home Security Service has been the setting for some television drama series and serials, such as Spy Trap (1972–75), Mr. Palfrey of Westminster (1984–85), The Worricker Trilogy (2011–2014), and perhaps most significantly Spooks (2002–11), which did much to rehabilitate the public profile of the Security Service. A more critical treatment of MI5 has prevailed in the Alec Hillsden stories written by Bryan Forbes, in which the agent strives against corruption and treachery in the Service; and the counterespionage “The Section” in Callan (TV 1967–72) is seen to dish out rough justice and not shirk from intimidation. MI5 has been represented malevolently in a cycle of “secret state” thrillers produced from the late 1970s onward, at a time of some unease regarding British Intelligence, which includes In the Secret State (novel 1980, TV 1985), Spyship (novel 1980, TV 1983), A Very British Coup (novel 1982, TV 1988), Defence of the Realm (film, 1985) and The Whistle Blower (novel 1984, film 1986). MI6. The British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). The SIS was created in 1909 as the Foreign Section of the Secret Service Bureau, the first time Great Britain had a formally established and permanent intelligence service. The Section was provided with the Military Intelligence designation MI6 in 1916. The official history proudly proclaims that “the British Secret Intelligence Service is the oldest continuously surviving foreign intelligence-gathering organization in the world.” While its sister organization MI5 has been tasked with domestic security and counterintelligence and is answerable to the Home Office, MI6 has been responsible for British espionage overseas and is



accountable to the Foreign Office. Accordingly, the SIS has kept officers in strategic cities around the world, often stationed clandestinely in embassy buildings. It was not until the early 1990s that it was officially acknowledged that MI6 had a peacetime role. The head of the Foreign Section and later the first chief of SIS was Commander (later Captain Sir) Mansfield Cumming, RN. He laid the foundations of the Service and masterminded its contribution to World War I in which its networks operating behind German lines in Belgium, France, and other theaters made an important contribution to the Allied victory. Cumming assumed the moniker “C,” and the designation has been applied to all subsequent heads of MI6. A major priority for SIS during the post–World War I period was assessing the communist threat and, later, the menace of Nazi Germany as it developed throughout the 1930s. Establishing networks of agents in wartime Europe was a major task during World War II, while the Service also oversaw the work of the code breakers of the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park. Code-named ULTRA intelligence, this crucial information was distributed by SIS to Allied commanders throughout the war. The four-decade period of the Cold War once again placed MI6 in confrontation with international communism, securing intelligence that could be used to inform government and military policy. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, SIS had to reassess its intelligence role. According to the official website, the intelligence challenges that are now dominant are headed by “regional instability, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and serious international crime.” In 1994, SIS and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) followed the lead of MI5 and were publicly acknowledged as statutory bodies. This was essentially a new intelligence environment in Britain in which openness and image management are the fresh realities. Intelligence historian Nigel West surveyed the novel situation: “Not very much is left secret about MI5, SIS, or GCHQ. The three agencies have established themselves in ostentatiously plush landmark buildings in recent years, with vast budget overruns, public affairs units, and, in the cases of MI5 and GCHQ, impressive websites. Gone are the days of anonymous, dingy offices in Victoria, or antiseptic, unmarked tower blocks in Waterloo. John le Carré, Len Deighton, and Ian Fleming would be lost in the present environment, but at least their spymasters did not brief journalists or develop cozy relationships with ministers or, worse, with their spin doctors.” In the spirit of new transparency, the historian Keith Jeffrey was authorized to write the official history MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909–1949 in 2010. MI6 has been privately known within the Service as “The Firm,” alternatively “The Friends,” or simply “Six.” While MI5 understood its work culture as one of “team players,” it alternatively saw the requirement for greater independence and a “fighter pilot” mentality in its rival, MI6.



Unsurprisingly, SIS, sometimes thinly veiled, has regularly featured in British spy fiction. Spy authors who have had experience at MI6 include Graham Greene, John le Carré, and Matthew Dunn. Le Carré in particular has created with “The Circus” an imaginative, if unglamorous, fictional equivalent of SIS in such stories as Call for the Dead (novel 1961, film 1966), Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (novel 1974, TV 1979, film 2011), Smiley’s People (novel 1979, TV 1982), and A Perfect Spy (1986). Many popular thrillers have featured hardworking MI6 officers serving in demanding conditions for the national interest. These have included the stories by James Munro, featuring John Craig, the toughest and most expert operative in Department K of MI6; the Peter Ashton and Charles Winter series by Clive Egleton; such stories as Hostile Intent (1993), The Honey Trap (2000), The Eisenhower Deception (1981), and The Russian Enigma (1982), and the television action series Danger Man for the later seasons in 1964–66. The best-known and most influential stories featuring a Secret Intelligence Service officer are the James Bond adventures written by Ian Fleming and published between 1953 and 1965. Historical spy fiction has treated MI6 in the Paul Dark series of Jeremy Duns, set in the shift from the 1960s to the 1970s, and Alan Judd’s Legacy (novel 2002, TV 2013), in which a recent recruit to MI6 stumbles onto a KGB operation of secret arms and espionage caches in Britain in the mid-1970s. The complex and troubled history of treachery in MI6 is treated in Traitor (TV 1971); The Other Side of Silence (1981) by Ted Allbeury, which has an officer review the case of the defector Kim Philby, who wishes to return to Britain; and The Trinity Six (2011) by Charles Cumming, which exposes yet another double agent at the heart of the Secret Intelligence Service. SIS has been the setting for such stories and dramas as The Sandbaggers (TV 1978–80) and the three Bernard Samson trilogies of Len Deighton (1983–96). There have been more critical treatments of SIS in the unromantic Ashenden stories (1928) of Somerset Maugham, Pay Any Price (1983) by Ted Allbeury, and The Man Called Kyril by John Trenhaile (novel 1981, TV as Codename: Kyril, 1988). At the same time, the Service and its glamorous agents have been sent up in the novel Water on the Brain (1933), the story Our Man in Havana (novel 1958, film 1959), the spoof film Casino Royale (1967), and the two Johnny English movies (2003 and 2011). THE MIND BENDERS. Novel and motion picture. The first British film to treat brainwashing in a scientifically serious and extended manner was Basil Dearden and Michael Relph’s The Mind Benders (1963), from a story and screenplay written by James Kennaway. The writing began in 1958 with the original title of The Visiting Scientist, but the topic was thought controversial and production finance was difficult to obtain. The project revived when Dearden was able to persuade the star Dirk Bogarde to take the role of the



sacrificing scientist who is prepared to subject himself to experiment. In an unusual move, Kennaway’s novel The Mind Benders was published simultaneously with the release of the film. Major Hall (John Clements), the security officer investigating the strange death of top research scientist Professor Sharpey (Harold Goldblatt), follows the trail to the experiments in the reduction of sensation at an Oxford University laboratory. In an attempt to clear up the mystery, a fellow scientist, Longman (Bogarde), agrees to undergo a “terminal” experiment in sensory deprivation, during which he is brainwashed into thinking that he hates his wife, Oonagh (Mary Ure). The experiment is thought to be a failure, but unknown to the investigators, there follows a period during which the scientist ritually humiliates his wife. Longman is brought back to normal through the emergency of having to deliver their fourth child. It is thus proved that the treasonous Sharpey was not acting according to his own free will but had succumbed to his own experiments, and the Soviets had exploited the situation. Dearden and Relph were associated with intelligent and responsible screen dramas; however, the critical reception for The Mind Benders was not what they had hoped for: Kennaway disappointedly reported that reviews ranged from “poor” to “vitriolic,” while the film’s star summed up the general reaction in his autobiography with the headline: “Bogarde Thriller Is Shabby and Nasty.” The film was criticized for its simple “Jekyll and Hydism,” evident in the character of the young scientist who is transformed, and for what many felt to be an uneasy blend of science thriller and family melodrama. Several aspects of the story caused concern with the censors: the harrowing scenes of the experiment, certain lines of dialogue, and in particular the handling of the birth scene. Negotiation between the filmmakers and the British Board of Film Censors led to the film being released with a commercially restricting X-certificate, which almost certainly harmed its performance at the box office. The U.S.-release movie poster carried the exclamation, “PERVERTED . . . SOULESS! The Most Dangerous and Different Motion Picture Ever Brought to the Screen!” Both the novel and the film are at pains to stress the scientific credibility of the story, stating explicitly that it was suggested by experiments in the “reduction of sensation” carried out at universities in North America at the time. Kennaway was therefore angered when critics dismissed the fanciful nature of the subject. The phenomena of perceptual isolation and sensory deprivation attracted considerable scientific interest through the 1950s and 1960s, revealing that subjects who had been deprived of “patterned sensory input” tended to experience “complicated hallucinations,” showed “intellectual and perceptual deterioration,” “became more susceptible to propaganda,” and found the situation to be “very unpleasant.” Each of these elements is carefully made part of the experience of Longman in The Mind Benders, confirm-



ing the informed and accurate nature of the dramatization. This is most apparent in the meticulously staged and prolonged sequence of the scientist undergoing sensory deprivation, one sequence at least that many reviewers found both harrowing and impressive. Kennaway drew on the model established by John C. Lilly at the National Institute of Mental Health, Maryland, in 1956, the so-called water immersion technique, in which subjects wearing blacked-out head masks were submerged into a tank of tepid water; “a kind of ultimate in sensory deprivation” according to one assessment. Kennaway stated the idea behind the story as “the perennial struggle between humanity and the terrifying advances in science.” Producer Michael Relph, uncharacteristically moved to reply to the poor critical reception, supported his writer in the claim for a serious humanistic message in the film, beyond the demands of a simple spy thriller. The story appeared in the year of Kim Philby’s defection to Russia and of the Profumo Affair; it offers an imaginative treatment of treachery. The experienced security officer Major Hall is barely in the confines of the research laboratory before his senses are alerting him to “the whole chilly paraphernalia of treason.” See also THE IPCRESS FILE; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. MR. PALFREY OF WESTMINSTER. Television drama series. Mr. Palfrey of Westminster is an unusual and thoughtful espionage drama series produced at the commercial Thames Television and broadcast in two seasons of four and six 50-minute episodes in 1984 and 1985, respectively. A pilot drama “The Traitor” aired as part of Thames Television’s Storyboard anthology on 23 August 1983. Mr. Palfrey (Alec McCowen) is an officer of the counterespionage service, a specialized “spycatcher.” In the first season Palfrey find himself with a new female boss and a new office. Across the two seasons Palfrey has to deal with a senior defense official who is carrying on a clandestine affair with a young Czech woman (“The Honeypot and the Bees,” 1984), a returning British defector from the Soviet Union (“Return to Sender,” 1985), a former senior government official who aims to go public on further moles in British Intelligence (“Official Secret,” 1985), and a Soviet informer’s claim that a double agent is operating in British counterintelligence (“The Baited Trap,” 1985). Mr. Palfrey of Westminster claimed to be an “authentic” spy series; the producer Michael Chapman remarked that “the stories have not necessarily happened, but they could happen.” Chapman points to “The Defector,” an episode of the first season broadcast in May 1984, in which Palfrey suspects the motives of a celebrated Soviet author who claims to want to defect, a situation echoed in some respects by the “Bitov Affair.” Oleg Bitov was a Soviet journalist who fled to the West in September 1983, was courted by the

MITCHELL, JAMES (1926–2002)


British press, and unexpectedly presented himself at the Soviet embassy and was returned to Moscow in August 1984. The affair remained a mystery for many years and considered a KGB deception operation. A distinguishing feature of the series was the casting of the role of Coordinator to a woman (Caroline Blakiston), which predates Stella Rimington’s ascendency to the top of MI5 by a decade. Critics saw the parallel in terms of contemporary politics, noting the use of the regal name Gloriana for the character of the self-confident Co-ordinator and sarcastically seeing her as “Thatcher’s representative on earth, and more than a bit influenced by her goddess’s style.” The character of Palfrey, in his fastidious and obdurate pursuit of truth and security lapses in the Whitehall labyrinth, reminded some reviewers of John le Carré’s George Smiley. Mr. Palfrey of Westminster is an intelligent espionage drama with oblique conflict likely to be played out across conversations, brilliantly so in the initial episode titled “The Traitor,” which is effectively a one-room drama, and with sparks provided by the friction between authoritarian female head and unconventional but brilliant subservient Palfrey. Hugh Herbert, reviewing in the Guardian, was surely misguided when he rated the series “a passable hour for spy addicts.” The pilot and two episodes, “Once Your Card Is Marked” (1984) and “Official Secret” (1985), were written by the experienced scriptwriter and editor George Markstein. MITCHELL, JAMES (1926–2002). Novelist and screenwriter. Mitchell was born in South Shields, County Durham into a working-class family struggling with the Great Depression. His father was an old-style radical who was employed as a fitter in the shipyards when there was work. James Mitchell won scholarships to grammar school and Oxford University, after which he eventually settled down as a teacher of liberal studies. Mitchell published his first novel in 1957, an autobiographical social comedy titled Here’s a Villain. His third novel, A Way Back, was a spy thriller, and he turned this into the television drama “A Flight from Treason” (1960) screened as part of the Armchair Mystery series. The story concerns a former communist working at a foundry who is blackmailed by his ex-comrades into helping them steal the blueprints of a new bomb. The two investigators of Butler and Robinson who featured in this play returned in the Mitchellscripted “The Omega Mystery” (1961), similarly screened as part of the Armchair Theatre strand, where they have to track down a saboteur at an atomic research station. Mitchell also wrote for the adventure series The Avengers (1961–63), and the drama series This Man Craig (1966) and Mogul (1965–67). Mitchell gave up teaching in the mid-1960s and moved to London to concentrate on writing.



Mitchell created two enduring secret agents. Writing as James Munro he wrote four novels featuring James Craig, a gun runner turned secret agent: The Man Who Sold Death (1964), Die Rich, Die Happy (1965), The Money That Money Can’t Buy (1967), and Innocent Bystanders (1969). The author also wrote the screenplay for the movie version of Innocent Bystanders (1971) starring Stanley Baker. Craig is a violent professional, and the briskpaced stories involve the northern working-class agent with a right-wing French military organization at the time of the Algerian War, a Greek millionaire with oil interests in the Middle East, a dangerous anti-Red conspiracy fomented by two influential Britons, and a Russian agronomist wanted by both the Soviets and the West. Under his own name, Mitchell created the character of David Callan, a reluctant spy who is coerced into serving a covert section of British security. The agent, played by Edward Woodward, first appeared in a single-play television drama, “A Magnum for Schneider,” broadcast in 1967. He then featured in the television series titled Callan, a creditable movie scripted by Mitchell in 1974, the one-off television movie Wet Job in 1981, in five novels published between 1969 and 2002, and a few short stories published in a popular magazine and a newspaper. Mitchell enjoyed great success with the working-class historical drama series When the Boat Comes In (1976–1981), set in the 1920s and 1930s in Gallowshields on Tyneside, which ran for four seasons. Mitchell’s final work on television consisted of two adaptations of novels dealing with espionage and terrorism. Spyship (1983) is a “secret state” thriller set in the northern sea port of Hull, and Confessional (1989) is a terrorist drama derived from the popular author Jack Higgins. MODESTY BLAISE. Novel and motion picture. The capers of Modesty Blaise, written by Peter O’Donnell, initially appeared as comic strips in the London Evening Standard commencing on 13 May 1963 and were syndicated in newspapers around the world. O’Donnell was invited to write a screenplay for a film, and although this was revised out of recognition by others, he turned the story into a popular novel published as Modesty Blaise in 1965. Modesty and her right-hand man and friend Willie Garvin crave adventure and agree to serve Tarrant of British Intelligence in an operation to ship ₤10 million in diamonds to the sheikdom of Malaurak, a small Middle Eastern state, which will grant Great Britain important oil concessions. The master villain is Gabriel, and Blaise and Garvin enter his camp on the pretext that the skilled Willie will serve on the diving operation that will release the diamonds from the freighter. The robbery takes place, and Blaise and Garvin are exposed as agents of the British Secret Service and are kept prisoner with the diamonds on a small island in the eastern Mediterranean. The concluding action of the story is the meticulous escape of the two heroes, the retrieval of the diamonds, and the bloody elimination of Gabriel’s gang.



Modesty Blaise is an action-packed spy thriller for the 1960s, the adventure unfolding across London, the south of France, Egypt, and the eastern Mediterranean. As the reviewer in the Evening Standard predictably stated, “Comparisons of Modesty with James Bond are irresistible”: “The similarities are marked—the restless changing scenes, the ingenuity of both sides, the violence, the surging confidence in the telling.” Modesty Blaise deploys the sex, sadism, and snobbery associated with Bond; it adds to this a stronger sense of camp, as in Gabriel’s predilection for watching Tom and Jerry cartoons. Blaise is accomplished in dress sense, interior decor, etiquette, cooking, yoga, and armed and unarmed combat; the movie poster states, “Nothing can faze Modesty Blaise, the world’s deadliest and most dazzlingly female agent!” The cruder Garvin is a killing machine, expert in exotic forms of weaponry, and designs gadgets such as an exploding tie pin that decapitates. The novel was a popular success; the crime critic in the Observer judged it “crude, violent, quite exciting, and not totally unreadable.” O’Donnell published a total of 11 novels and two collections of short stories featuring Modesty Blaise, culminating in Cobra Trap in 1996. Modesty Blaise was the model for Halle Berry’s character Jinx Johnson in the James Bond picture Die Another Day (2002). The movie Modesty Blaise is a comedy adventure, a pop art spoof of the spy film trend of the middle 1960s, and was expensively filmed in Europe with the star cast of Monica Vitti as Blaise, Terence Stamp as Garvin, and Dirk Bogarde as Gabriel. The picture, directed by Joseph Losey and released by 20th Century Fox in 1966, retains only the bare bones of the original story; the script is substantially the work of Evan Jones, a regular collaborator with Losey. With its celebrated cast and auteur film director, Modesty Blaise is closer to the European art film than popular cinema, and Losey claimed a serious intent for the film, presenting it as a comment on the indiscriminate violence of popular cinema and society. Losey loathed commercial spy thrillers, calling them “filthy pictures,” “abominably made and styleless,” and he offered instead a stylized critique of the genre. However, Modesty Blaise failed to appeal to either the art film crowd, which found it cartoonish and insubstantial, nor the popular audience, which found it lacked suspense and was not particularly funny, and the picture was not a success. Film historian Robert Murphy complains of “smirky, indulgent performances” and that “Losey seems to have little understanding of the genre he attempts to subvert”; and critic Kenneth Tynan likened the picture to a “travel brochure animated by a surrealist with a sharp eye for witty bric- àbrac . . . a triumph of inventive obsolescence.” It could be that Modesty Blaise in “sending up the send-up” had gone one contortion too far. The picture now enjoys a reputation as a camp, cult classic, a film of remarkable visual invention and iconic of the playfulness of the high 1960s, while some Losey die-hards discern in the film an old-leftist’s critique of conspicuous



consumption and an international politics enslaved to oil and power: barren moralities that unthinkingly underpin the routine spy caper. See also WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. MOORE, SIR ROGER (1927– ). Actor. Moore studied briefly at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London, and played bit parts in British films like Perfect Strangers (1945), Piccadilly Incident (1946), and Trottie True (1949). Various roles in films and television dramas followed in the 1950s, culminating in an unsuccessful spell in Hollywood where he made films for MGM and Warner Bros. without much success. He found stardom on television, in the British historical series Ivanhoe (TV 1958–59); the U.S. series Maverick (U.S. TV, 1959–61), in which he replaced the original star James Garner; and preeminently back in Great Britain in the action series The Saint (TV 1962–69), in which he played the gentleman crime fighter Simon Templar. He followed this with the glamorous action series The Persuaders! (TV 1971–72), in which he formed a compelling double act with Hollywood legend Tony Curtis. Moore had starred in the modest British espionage thriller Crossplot in 1969 in which he plays the “wrong man,” an advertising executive who is unwittingly drawn into a conspiracy to assassinate an African politician; it is a film that pays homage to the classic Alfred Hitchcock spy thriller. Moore’s break into international cinema came when he replaced Sean Connery as the iconic James Bond, a role he played in seven films starting with Live and Let Die (1973) and ending with A View to a Kill (1985). Moore commenced the role at the age of 45 and retired at the age of 58, the oldest and longest-serving actor to play the secret agent. Understandably, the Bond films underwent a transition as the debonair Moore replaced the physical Connery. Moore’s forte was a disarming light comedy, and the character was played with a sense of self-mockery. Moore’s self-conscious approach is best represented in the celebrated pre-credit sequence to The Spy Who Loved Me (1977): here, Bond is rudely interrupted in his lovemaking in an Alpine hut, is thrillingly chased on skis down a mountainside by machine gun–wielding, black-clad agents, and, in a seemingly suicidal effort to escape his pursuers, skis off a sheer cliff. After a heart-stopping moment of silence, a Union Jack–emblazoned parachute bursts from his haversack, and the theme song “Nobody Does It Better” leads the relieved viewer into the titles. In 1980, Moore won the Henrietta Award at the Golden Globes as “World Film Favorite”; however, some critics found his portrayal of the definitive British secret agent bland and too lighthearted. Moore was never able to convince the critics of his acting ability, and few of his films demanded much range from the actor.



In recent years, Moore has become a prolific voice artist, and nostalgic viewers would have enjoyed the use of Moore’s familiar tones on a car radio in the modern film version of The Saint (1997). Moore was created a CBE in 1999; he was knighted in 2003 and published his memoirs as My Word Is My Bond: The Autobiography in 2009. MUNRO, JAMES. See MITCHELL, JAMES (1926–2002).

N THE NAKED RUNNER. Novel and motion picture. The Naked Runner is a spy thriller written by Francis Clifford and first published in 1966. The story centers on the businessman Sam Laker, who reluctantly agrees to deliver a package for Slattery, a former colleague in wartime special operations and now in British Intelligence, when he is at the trade fair in Leipzig, East Germany (DDR). Of course, once in the DDR things go badly wrong, and he is immediately arrested by the state security service and passed over to the ruthless Colonel Hartmann. Using the threat of harm to his son, Patrick, Laker is intimidated into assassinating an East German defector in Denmark. Once in Copenhagen, things again go wrong: Laker calls Slattery in desperation, and this alerts Hartmann to his duplicity; London warns the defector, who fails to show in the city. Expecting his son to have been killed, Laker returns to Leipzig and contacts the underground, and plans are laid for the assassination of the chief of security. Laker shoots the occupant of Hartmann’s official car on the autobahn but is knocked unconscious trying to escape. He later wakes up in a military hospital in Hanover, West Germany. There, Slattery explains that he had been used by British Intelligence in an elaborate masquerade. Patrick was perfectly safe, Hartmann was working for the British, and Laker had killed an American defector badly wanted out of the way by the Western alliance. The title of the story is taken from a line of the poem “In the Wood of Finvara” (1899) by Arthur Symons, which reads, “A naked runner lost in a storm of spears.” The use of the executive Laker for intelligence purposes resembles the revelations in the early 1960s regarding Greville Wynne, the British businessman who served as the Secret Intelligence Service contact with GRU (Soviet Military Intelligence) officer Oleg Penkovsky and visited Eastern Europe on several occasions. The Naked Runner is a gripping story, although a reader today might find the “happy ending” contrived, improbable, and disappointing. At the time of publication, Books and Bookmen judged it “one of the finest suspense novels since the war.”




The film rights to The Naked Runner were acquired by Frank Sinatra Enterprises, and the picture was produced in Great Britain, funded and released by Warner Bros. Sinatra starred as Sam Laker, Peter Vaughan as Slattery, and Derren Nesbitt as Colonel Hartmann. To accommodate its star, it was necessary to make Laker an American residing and working in London who had served with the wartime Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Another concession to American sympathies was in making the target of the assassination a spy caught in Britain, given topicality through him having escaped from Wormwood Scrubs and being escorted to Moscow by the KGB like the actual George Blake the year previous. While sticking relatively close to the original plot, the film, scripted by Stanley Mann, replaces the restricted narrative of the novel, which had meant the reader remained as confused, frustrated, and tense as Laker, with a more omniscient approach, which reveals and closely attends to the machinations of British Intelligence from the outset. The picture thus sacrifices a good deal of suspense in favor of a prolonged and cynical manipulation of an unsuspecting hero. In such a vein, the movie includes some rather crude references to marionettes, such as a glimpse of a puppet theater in East Germany. The picture was released with the tagline “They found the key to Sam Laker. They wound it up good and tight. And then they turned him loose.” Academic interest in the film derives from the fact it was directed by Sidney J. Furie and photographed by Otto Heller, fresh from their achievements on The Ipcress File (1965), one of the most brilliant spy films of the 1960s. They carried forward their visual experiments from the previous picture, and The Naked Runner, shot in widescreen Techniscope, is packed full of “unbalanced” compositions, miscellaneous objects obscuring action occurring in the background, and overblown faces crammed to the front of the frame. There were many problems during the shoot, mainly stemming from a temperamental star. Furie threatened to quit, Sinatra refused to shoot the final scenes in Europe, and the filmmakers finished the picture with a stand-in, which perhaps explains the rather abrupt and unsatisfying ending to the film. In the United States, a reviewer at Variety felt that “not only British Intelligence, but anybody’s intelligence, is likely to be affronted by this potboiler”, while in Britain, the Guardian found the overblown techniques only served “to draw attention to themselves and distract.” The Naked Runner is seemingly guarded within the Sinatra estate and is now only readily viewable in the form of a panned and scanned release on videotape from the early 1980s that does violence to the striking compositions of Furie and Heller. Francis Clifford was the pen name of Arthur Leonard Bell Thompson, who had a distinguished war record. Like his protagonist in The Naked Runner, Clifford was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (for commanding a masterful rearguard action during the retreat through Burma in 1942) and for a time served in the Special Operations Executive. Clifford was a highly



regarded writer of spy thrillers, many featuring beleaguered heroes, for which much sympathy is built, drawing comparison with Graham Greene and earning the epithet “a thinking man’s Ian Fleming.” See also WYNNE & PENKOVSKY. NEO-NAZISM. The problem presented to democracy by extreme rightwing political parties has continued to haunt Europe since the end of World War II. During the 1960s and 1970s, a minor theme of British spy fiction, an alternative to the dominant issue of the Cold War stand-off between East and West, was the resurgence of Nazism in the Federal Republic of Germany. The Republic had outlawed incitement to race hatred, as well as any attempt to resuscitate the Nazi Party, although a handful of extreme movements did manage to gain some short-lived popularity and notoriety. These included Alfred Loritz and his Bavarian Economic Reconstruction Association, which won 12 seats in the Bundestag in the first West German general election in 1949; Fritz Dorls and the Socialist Reich Party with a leadership made up almost entirely of former National Socialists, which made some electoral showing in local elections in 1951; and more ominously, Adolf von Thadden and the National Democratic Party of Germany, run largely by ex-Nazis, which in the 1966–67 Land (state) elections gained admission to a number of Land parliaments (Landstagen) by substantially exceeding the required 5 percent of the vote. The party manifesto, in demanding “an end to the lie of Germany’s exclusive guilt which serves to extort continuously thousands of millions from our people,” seemed explicitly to demand a turning back of the historical clock. Disquieting right-wing views were expounded in weeklies like the Deutsche National Zeitung and in the publications of ex-Reich press chief Suedermann’s Druffel publishing house. One of the most commercially successful novels to deal with neo-Nazism in Germany was Frederick Forsyth’s The Odessa File (1972; filmed in 1974). A thriller set in 1963, it told of a young German reporter, Peter Miller, and his chance discovery of a diary that recounted the horrors in the Riga concentration camp. Frustrated by officials in pursuing a story about exNazis in high places, Miller is approached by Israeli Intelligence to infiltrate the Odessa organization, which provides war criminals with new identities. He agrees, with the personal aim of locating Eduard Roschmann, the former commandant of the camp, whom the diary maintains is still alive. This he manages to do, confirming that Roschmann is heading up a high-tech electronics firm, which is the front for the manufacture of rockets that are destined for Egypt and will be used against Israel. The final twist of the story is that Peter’s motivation is family revenge; his father, a serving officer in the Wehrmacht, had been murdered callously by Roschmann during the retreat from Russia. There has been some historical debate whether Odessa actually ever existed. Several stories similarly feature agents investigating former


NEWMAN, BERNARD (1897–1968)

wartime Nazis. Samuel Dembo’s The Sands of Liliput (1963) features the search for a former commandant of a death camp in South Africa. Adam Diment’s The Dolly Dolly Spy (1967) finds a British agent with a vicious exNazi on his hands who is wanted by several intelligence services in the West. Ted Allbeury’s The Only Good German (1976) unites former antagonists of World War II in a battle against ex-Nazis who seek to undermine the Warsaw Pact and destabilize Europe. The connection between Egyptian military ambitions and former Nazi scientists is also a subplot in Len Deighton’s Funeral in Berlin (1964). Other British writers have used the context of neo-Nazism or the activities of former Nazis as a story line in their espionage fiction. Manning Coles deals with a secret society, the Silver Ghosts, which is behind a Nazi revival in postwar Germany in Now or Never (1951). Ian Fleming pits his agent James Bond against Sir Hugo Drax, a former Nazi now serving the Soviets, who plots to fire a nuclear missile into London in Moonraker (1955). Victor Canning’s The Whip Hand (1965) has the agent Rex Carver take on a plot to reactivate German nationalism, Ted Allbeury’s The Stalking Angel (1988) involves a young German woman who takes up the cause of her murdered boyfriend who was on the trail of dangerous neo-Nazis, and Francis Clifford’s Amigo, Amigo (1973) has the familiar plot of the search for a former Nazi in South America. The best known of these types of stories is Adam Hall’s The Berlin Memorandum (novel 1965, filmed as The Quiller Memorandum, 1966) in which the agent Quiller investigates the covert Phönix organization, which plans to use a plague virus against the Soviets and draw Europe once again into war. NEWMAN, BERNARD (1897–1968). Novelist and writer. Bernard Charles Newman was born in Ibstock, Leicestershire, in 1897, the son of an English farmer and Alsatian mother; he is a great nephew of the 19th-century author George Eliot. He served in the trenches during World War I, his fluency in French leading him to go undercover in Paris to investigate loose talk about Allied troop movements in the company of the regiment’s French liaison officer. Following the war, he became a civil servant, author, lecturer, and traveler. During World War II, Newman lectured for the Ministry of Information in North America. Newman authored over 125 books, spy stories, mysteries, travel books, and surveys of the new countries of Eastern Europe. His The Cavalry Went Through of 1930 was “a thoughtful study in fiction form” of dealing with the stalemate on the western front, which had led to such a great loss of life. The book was highly praised by Great Britain’s leading military thinker Basil Liddell Hart. Newman did something similar in his best seller Spy (1935), a work of fiction couched in the first-person form purporting to be the revelations of a First World War spy. Many readers and critics fell into the trap,



believing it to be a memoir, and it accounts for the lasting belief in some quarters that Newman had been a successful spy in the war, penetrating the German Intelligence Service. He went on to write many spy novels, sometimes using the first-person style, which had caused so much confusion. These include Secret Servant (1935), German Spy (1937, this time a supposed memoir of a German agent Ludwig Grein), Death to the Fifth Column (1941), Spy Catchers (1945), Moscow Murder (1950), and The Spy at No. 10 (1965). Some of his spy novels, such as Spies Left! (1950) and The Case of the Berlin Spy (1954), were published under the name of Don Betteridge. Newman became a recognized expert on espionage and published a number of authoritative studies, such as Soviet Atomic Spies (1952), Inquest on Mata Hari (1956), The World of Espionage (1963), and Spies in Britain (1964). There have been persistent claims that Newman had served in some form of official intelligence role. He was fond of taking long cycling tours of countries of particular political interest, and it was no doubt during one of these that he acquired the information about the secret Peenemünde rocket site in Germany in 1938, which he claims he forwarded to the British authorities but was ignored. Official published accounts give the later year of 1940 as the time that British Intelligence first learned of the rocket development site. He published his autobiography as Speaking from Memory in 1960 and received the French Chevalier in the Légion d’honneur in 1953. See also SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY; SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II. THE NIGHT OF WENCESLAS. Novel and motion picture. The Night of Wenceslas is the debut novel of Lionel Davidson, published to acclaim in 1960. The story is recounted from the restricted perspective of Nicolas Whistler, a young man with relationship issues and expensive tastes who, on the pretext of a family legacy, is tricked into borrowing money and then coerced into visiting Prague, Czechoslovakia, for what he believes to be a simple act of industrial espionage. He is soon drawn into a nightmare of trading in atomic secrets and finds himself on the run from the ruthless Czech Security Service. Nicolas has fallen into a relationship with the voluptuous Vlasta, a guide and translator; however, he eventually discovers she is an agent for the secret police and in a tense sequence on the nighttime streets of the hostile city ingeniously gains entry to the British embassy and safety. Returned to London, he makes up with his girlfriend and happily discovers that he has come into a substantial legacy after all. The story is slow to get to the business of espionage, and a reader would be forgiven for wondering early on if this is a spy novel or a juvenile romance. Nicolas Whistler is a somewhat unattractive character, initially indolent, whinging, and irritating, but this serves to establish the essentially unheroic nature of the character. The Night of Wenceslas is an early example of



the “reluctant spy” story, a modern twist on the established amateur secret agent narrative of the preceding generation in which a character undergoes a shift “from ennui to engagement,” “from boredom to involvement.” The Night of Wenceslas is critically well regarded and was chosen by the Crime Writers’ Association as the Best Crime Novel and awarded the Silver Quill by the Authors’ Club as the Most Promising First Novel. The Night of Wenceslas was filmed as Hot Enough for June in 1963, directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Dirk Bogarde. The picture emphasizes the comic aspects of the novel and this time has Nicolas Whistler intrigue to Prague at the behest of a bumbling British Secret Service. Romance is invested in Vlasta (Sylva Koscina), who, although the daughter of the chief of the secret police, helps Nicolas and joins him in London at the end of the adventure. The film immediately establishes its debt to James Bond through a pre-credit sequence in which an official is filing away the effects of 007, lost on his latest mission. The Secret Service is accordingly short of experienced agents and Nicholas Whistler (Bogarde), a young, unsuspecting Czech-speaking writer, is recruited through the Labour Exchange for a mission in Prague. Whistler believes he is involved in some minor industrial espionage, but it is brought home to him while on his mission that it is considerably more serious than that. Sought by the secret police, he spends some days evading capture before he reaches sanctuary at the British embassy. Many reviewers enjoyed the gentle humor of the picture and the playing of the supporting actors John Le Mesurier and Robert Morley as largely incompetent old-school professionals. Glamour was provided in the guise of Yugoslavian actress Sylva Koscina. However, Richard Roud at the Guardian stressed that “a good situation, funny dialogue and a talented cast are not enough to make a good film,” and that the picture “fails miserably in its attempt to cash in on the James Bond vogue.” Monthly Film Bulletin argued that Hot Enough for June fell headfirst into the first trap for the comedy thriller, “its adventures are neither funny enough for parody, nor exciting enough to stand on their own feet.” Most agreed that the location shooting in Padua, Italy, utterly failed to convince as Prague, that Bogarde, who would later feature in several spy films, was too old for the feckless adventurer, and that “Hot Enough for June is only lukewarm” and failed to rise above the level of a “mild, pleasant parody.” See also SPOOFS. NIGHT TRAIN TO MUNICH. Motion picture. Night Train to Munich is a World War II spy thriller directed by Carol Reed and made for 20th Century Fox in Great Britain. The story is set on the eve of Britain’s entry in the war. An important scientist, Professor Bomasch, and his daughter Anna (Margaret Lockwood), who have escaped Czechoslovakia to England, are tricked, snatched, and returned to Germany. Dickie Randall (Rex Harrison), the Secret Service man assigned to protect Bomasch, travels to Berlin and, posing



as a German army engineer, locates the Bomasches and improvises a plan for their escape. While journeying to Munich by train, the Germans discover the subterfuge and plan to have the party arrested on arrival in Bavaria. However, two Englishmen traveling on the train, Charters (Basil Radford) and Caldicot (Naughton Wayne), come to the rescue and, posing as Gestapo guards, get the Bomasches into a military car and head for neutral Switzerland. The party gets over the border on a high Alpine cable car, while Randall engages the pursuing Germans in a gun fight, before joining the others in the safety of Switzerland. Night Train to Munich owes a considerable debt to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes (1938): both are train-bound, light comedy thrillers, star Margaret Lockwood, feature the comic English gentlemen Charters and Caldicot, are written by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat, and have middleEuropean settings. Night Train to Munich was one of a number of films in the early stages of the war that dealt with resistance and the secret war with Nazi Germany, others being Freedom Radio and Pimpernel Smith (both 1941). Although the film observes a lighthearted tone typical of the wartime cinema before the onset of the Blitz, film historian Robert Murphy notes “an edge of urgency and anxiety,” which he sees as “an acknowledgement that the enemy being fought is ruthless and well organized.” The picture was a popular success in Britain and a rare success for a British film of the period in the United States, where the New York Times judged the picture “the year’s most perilous ride,” supportively adding, “but we wouldn’t exchange it for a season’s commutation ticket on most of the similar vehicles running out of Hollywood.” Carol Reed would go on to contribute superior thrillers and espionage films in collaboration with Graham Greene, such as The Third Man (1949) and Our Man in Havana (1959). See also SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II.

O ODETTE. Book and motion picture. Odette: The Story of a British Agent is the factual account of Odette Sansom, a Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent in France during World War II, written by the novelist Jerrard Tickell and first published in 1949. It covers the early life of Odette Brailly in France, her marriage to the Englishman Roy Sansom in 1931, and the move to England in 1933. In spring 1942, Odette, at the general request of the authorities, sent family photographs taken in France to the War Office where they might be useful for planning operations. Unexpectedly, she was called for an interview and approached to work for the French Section of the War Office. At first, she was reluctant as she was responsible for three young daughters; however, her patriotism prevailed, and she was sent for training with the SOE. Following several abortive attempts, Odette, with the code name Lise (S.23), was landed in southern France in late October 1942. She joined and immediately made herself indispensible to the network operating from Cannes, later Annecy, under the direction of Peter Churchill, and the book goes over in detail various tense and anxious missions supporting the French Resistance in the area. In early summer 1943, Odette and Peter, betrayed by a Frenchman, were captured by “Henri” Bleicher, a clever counterespionage agent of German Military Intelligence. Odette spent a year in the prison at Fresnes, near Paris, where she was horribly tortured by the Gestapo and sentenced to death; in May 1944 she was moved to Germany, where she entered Ravensbrück concentration camp for women on 18 July and held in appalling conditions for almost a year. When arrested, both Peter and Odette had claimed to be married, and the Germans were cleverly led to assume that their female captive was related to Winston Churchill, the prime minister of Great Britain. This curious deception kept the Germans from carrying out the death sentence, and at the very end of the war, Obersturmbannfüher Fritz Sürhren, the camp commandant, drove Odette to the advancing U.S. Army hoping to gain some favor and save his own skin.



O’DONNELL, PETER (1920–2010)

The book is a detailed and affecting account of Odette’s wartime experiences, written in the style of a novel with character interactions recorded in dialogue. John Gordon, writing in the Daily Express, confessed that “I could not lay it down. The story of what Odette endured makes the most moving narrative of all the war memories I have read.” The story was adapted into the popular film Odette in 1950, produced and directed by Herbert Wilcox and starring Anna Neagle as the heroine. There was concern that the picture should be accurate and was shot around the actual locations in south and southwest France, Neagle spent much time with Odette in preparing for the role, and the technical adviser was Maurice Buckmaster, head of the French section of SOE in the war and who played himself in the film. The book and the film are prefaced with some words of Odette, who expresses her “deep humility” and dedicates her story to her female comrades “who suffered far more profoundly, and are not here to speak.” Twenty-seven female agents of SOE were killed in action, many in Nazi concentration camps. Odette was made MBE in 1945; in August 1946, she was the first woman to be awarded the George Cross, the highest award bestowed on civilians and members of the armed forces in actions for which purely military honors would not normally be granted. Between 1947 and 1955 she was married to Peter Churchill. A recent biography of Odette has been published as Odette: World War Two’s Darling Spy (2009). It has also recently emerged following the release of classified documents that Odette was nearly denied her George Cross, as she could not prove she was tortured and that she did not reveal the identity of her colleagues. Under pressure from the War Office, Sir Colin Gubbins, the head of SOE, signed the citation and the medal was awarded. The author Jerrard Tickell later wrote the spy novels The Villa Mimosa (1960) and High Water at Four (1965). See also CARVE HER NAME WITH PRIDE; CHARLOTTE GRAY; SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II; WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. O’DONNELL, PETER (1920–2010). Writer of comic strips and novelist. O’Donnell was born in Lewisham, southeast London, the son of a crime reporter on the Empire News. As a schoolboy, he sold stories to juvenile papers and magazines, and at 17 he joined the Amalgamated Press, then the largest periodical publisher in the world, where he worked on children’s comics, writing scripts and captions for Butterfly, Comic Cuts, and Illustrated Chips. During World War II, O’Donnell served in the Royal Signals Corps and saw action in the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean. Following his demobilization, he returned to Fleet Street where he continued to write plots for comics, cartoons, and pulp thrillers. Beginning on Film Fun, he later wrote the Tug Transom and Eve cartoons for the Daily Sketch, from 1953 for the Daily Mirror’s cartoon Garth, the Better or Worse strip for the Daily Herald, and from 1957 the comic detective strip Romeo Brown for

O’DONNELL, PETER (1920–2010)


the Mirror, where he first met the illustrator Jim Holdaway. There are claims that O’Donnell also contributed to the Daily Express comic strip adaptation of the James Bond novel Dr. No. In 1962, O’Donnell was approached by the Daily Express for a new comic strip. O’Donnell had contributed to women’s magazines and long wondered about a heroine as a contrast to the mainly male characters he had been writing, and it took the writer many months to devise the essentials of an original figure. The Express refused the experiment and the new strip was offered to the Evening Standard, first appearing on 13 May 1963. Modesty Blaise was inspired by a young Balkan refugee girl O’Donnell had seen while serving with the army in Persia during the war, and the writer extrapolated forward from the feral child to the beautiful but deadly woman who assumed assignments from British Intelligence. O’Donnell commented on the problem for the graphic artist of the action scenes: “It is difficult to describe for your artist the variety of actions which occur in fights. To overcome this problem, we arranged a photo session with Cyd Child, European Judo Champion, and Brian Jacks, Olympic medalist. They went through a series of action shots which were then numbered and put together in a book. They also took the opportunity to throw me around a bit on the basis that I needed to know what it felt like. I kept one copy of the book and the other was sent to the artist. Whenever I wanted a particular action scene, I could simply refer to the number of the photograph.” The cartoon strip, initially drawn by Jim Holdaway, and later by Enrique Badia Romero, was hugely popular and lasted for four decades; the last of 10,104 daily strips appeared in the Standard on 11 April 2001. Each story of around 300 images ran for between 18 and 20 weeks. In 1965, O’Donnell wrote a film script, but Joseph Losey’s Modesty Blaise (1966) used little of his material and totally transformed the concept into a pop art satire of the modish 1960s scene. Undaunted, O’Donnell turned his ideas into a hugely popular novel and followed this with a further 12 books featuring his heroine. The sequence was brought to an end with the Cobra Trap collection of short stories in 1996. O’Donnell carefully researched the stories, once spending a day at the Amateur Fencing Association where two sword masters staged fights for him and, on another occasion, arranging to spend some time in a demolition crane so that he could accurately describe a certain scene. A disappointing modestly budgeted American film My Name Is Modesty was released in 2004. O’Donnell also wrote historical romantic fiction under the female pseudonym Madeleine Brent. He has requested that the popular character of Modesty Blaise be left in peace and that no other author should continue the series.



THE ΩMEGA FACTOR. Television drama series. The Ωmega Factor was produced by the drama department at BBC Scotland; it was filmed partly on location in Edinburgh, Stirling, and Dumbartonshire and broadcast in 1979. It was an experimental and controversial series dealing with paranormal mysteries and sinister conspiracies. The show was partly inspired by The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man’s Changing Vision of the Universe (1959) by Arthur Koestler, an author and social philosopher who later contributed to the establishment of the Koestler Institute at the University of Edinburgh, which is dedicated to research into parapsychology. The technical consultant to the series was Professor Archie Roy, a founder member of the Scottish Society for Psychical Research and a believer in the paranormal. With his discipline, it was hoped that the series would “be impeccably authentic even if it bends one’s credulity.” The story, spread across 10 episodes, deals with journalist Tom Crane (James Hazeldine) who discovers he has remarkable psychic powers and is subsequently recruited into Department 7, a secret government research organization that has close links with the Security Service. In the first four episodes, Crane is pitted against the evil black magician Drexel, who, it is ultimately revealed, is involved in advanced techniques of brainwashing. Later episodes deal with demonic possession, a child with disturbing psychokinetic powers, research at a secret government establishment that is causing psychic trauma, and Tom’s unearthing of Department 7’s links with a conspiratorial organization Ωmega, a mysterious group aiming to take over the world using mind control. An immediate context for The Ωmega Factor were the revelations resulting from the Rockefeller Commission into abuses by the Central Intelligence Agency in the mid-1970s. These dealt with secret research supported by the Agency and the wider intelligence community into mind control, hypnosis, extra-sensory perception, telepathy, and other psychic phenomenon for use in operations and security. On the prospect of psychic phenomena for intelligence, a clearly enthusiastic Professor Roy commented: “A suitably programmed receiver might be able to pick up conversations from the Kremlin or the White House. And if so, what price satellites?” The Ωmega Factor caused controversy in Great Britain for its treatment of the occult and was attacked by the National Viewers’ and Listeners’ Association, a media watchdog. The Association’s notorious spokesperson, Mrs. Whitehouse, branded The Ωmega Factor “thoroughly evil.” The series with its secret research, offbeat science, shadowy government organizations, and complex conspiracies was an early example of the “secret state” thriller, which would come to prominence in the following decade. Reviews for a drama dealing with the paranormal were predictably muted; the Listener found it “ingenious rubbish,” and more than one critic reached for the tradi-



tional put-down: “What a load of old rope.” Following its initial broadcast, The Ωmega Factor quickly disappeared from view, after which it slowly began to acquire a cult reputation. The principal writer on The Ωmega Factor was Jack Gerson; he published a novel to accompany the series, which dealt mainly with the first episode and Tom’s hunt for Drexel. Gerson went on to script the spy thrillers Running Blind (1979), The Assassination Run (1980), and The Treachery Game (1981), all filmed by BBC television. Gerson also wrote a number of minor spy novels, including The Back of the Tiger (1984), The Whitehall Sanction (1984), and the historical thriller Death Squad, London (1989). OPPENHEIM, E. PHILLIPS (1866–1946). Novelist. Edward Phillips Oppenheim grew up in Leicester and worked for many years in the family leather business. Oppy, as he was commonly known, came to writing slowly, publishing his first novel, Expiation, in 1887 and writing at night after a long day in the office. He turned to writing full-time around 1906, by which time he had already published in the region of 30 novels. Oppenheim remained prolific, and his output would eventually total 118 novels (five initially under the pseudonym Anthony Partridge), 44 collections of short stories, four plays, a travel book, and the autobiography The Pool of Memory (1941). Oppenheim’s greatest strength was his readability, a “confidential, easy manner” imparting “plausibility” as a contemporary critic defined it. One of the most popular authors of his generation, he earned the title “The Prince of Storytellers.” Oppenheim was one of the originators and most popular exponents of the opulent style of detective and espionage fiction—effectively captured under the label “snobbery with violence”—which dominated in the period around World War I. These “diamond-studded fantasies” featured clubland heroes involved in escapades to retrieve stolen jewels or military plans, to redeem the honor of a lady or of England—all played out in action that flitted from Mayfair, the county estates of the titled, and the French Riviera. Travel was always first-class, and manservants were discreet and trustworthy and could be counted on in a tough spot. As one study judged, “It was Oppenheim who did the most to create early secret agent stereotypes such as the all-knowing spymaster, the muscle-bound, romantic, derring-do agent-hero, and the female seductress.” The style was unlikely to impress the critics, but it attracted a large and loyal readership. Oppenheim was particularly popular in the United States, where his stories sold at large sums for serialization in magazines and newspapers, and he was reputed to be the favorite author of Arthur Balfour, the Conservative prime minister from 1902 to 1905. Oppenheim, at a time of European tension and rivalries, claimed to be fascinated by the “shadowy and mysterious world of diplomacy,” and it is generally appreciated that he helped pioneer the novel of international in-



trigue. One of his earliest and best-remembered stories of this type was The Mysterious Mr. Sabin (1898). As Europe moved toward and into war, writers of suspense fiction began to mark the German as the potential and actual enemy, and Oppenheim became quite insistent on this in stories such as A Maker of History (1905), The Great Secret (1908), The Double Traitor (1915), and The Zeppelin’s Passenger (1918). The Kingdom of the Blind (1916), a thrilling story of submarine attacks, Zeppelin raids, and secret service know-how, has been claimed as Oppenheim’s preeminent espionage adventure by at least one critic. Oppenheim sometimes wrote stories that centered on other national Secret Services, such as The Wrath to Come (1925, United States) and Matorni’s Vineyard (1929, Italy). The author’s best-remembered novel, The Great Impersonation (1920), set in 1913, deals with the German attempt to gain access to the inner circles of British society through replacing a dissolute English gentleman with one of its own agents. Common to spy fiction of the age, the plots and stories rely on coincidences, accidents, and social and racial assumptions that readers are unlikely to tolerate today. Of his own casual working method, Oppenheim volunteered the following: “When I start a story I never know just how it is going to end. All I have to start with is an idea. As I go along the idea grows and develops. So do the characters. I sort of live with them through the story and work out their salvation as it goes along. It is like a game.” His final espionage thriller was The Spy Paramount (1935), although he continued to write crime and other mysteries for several more years. He is generally regarded to be a better writer and storyteller than his contemporary William Le Queux. Oppenheim novels were regularly adapted for the screen in both Hollywood and Great Britain. The British films included A Master of Men (1917), Anna the Adventuress (1920), The Amazing Quest of Mr. Ernest Bliss (1920), The Mystery of Mr. Bernard Brown (1921), and Strange Boarders (1938), although only the latter title was a spy story. Oppenheim’s short spy story The Secret of the Magnifique was dramatized in the British television series The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes in 1973, in which a mysterious Mr. Laxworthy is after the secrets of the French navy. Oppenheim was a colorful character who lived the lifestyle of the rich in the casinos and fleshpots of the Côte d’Azur. Long married, he enjoyed numerous infidelities on board his yacht Echo I, which “wags” (wives and girlfriends) referred to as “the floating double bed.” As with his fellow authors of adventure and mystery thrillers in the period, he charted the “unending battle between the hedonist and the Puritan,” providing the useful social function of “an escape for readers from their own drab lives into a dream world of adventure, wealth, and luxury.” The fertile Oppenheim was a craftsman rather than artist; one reviewer commented: “Of the men who supply the



staple product of the fiction market not one has more fully mastered the trick of turning out a perfectly regular and dependable article. Mr. Oppenheim is actually a manufacturer of a superior kind.” ORCZY, BARONESS (1865–1947). Novelist. Baroness Emma Magdalena Rosalia Maria Josefa Barbara Orczy was born into a wealthy landed family at Tarnaörs, near Jászberény, about 60 miles west of Budapest in the AustroHungarian Empire. Her father pursued a musical career, and this took the family eventually to London, when young Emma was 15. She spoke Hungarian, German, and French but no English at this time. She married the son of a curate in 1894, and the pair earned their living through writing, illustration, translation, and journalism. A visit to the Paris Exhibition in 1900 inspired the Baroness to write The Scarlet Pimpernel, the tale of a secret band of Englishmen led by Sir Percy Blakeney who daringly rescue French aristocrats from the terror of the French Revolution. First staged as a play in 1903, the novel appeared in 1905 after being rejected by several publishers. It was an immediate success and has since established itself as the most enduring story of historical spy fiction. Baroness Orczy published 11 more Scarlet Pimpernel adventures between 1908 and 1940, and these, sometimes featuring a descendant, included The Elusive Pimpernel (1908), The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1919), and Mam’zelle Guillotine: An Adventure of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1940). She also published much romantic historical fiction, and A Spy of Napoleon (1934), and the short story collections The Man in Grey (1918) and Castles in the Air (1921), bear resemblance to the Pimpernel stories in their treatment of spies and agents in France in the first part of the 19th century. Baroness Orczy also made a contribution to the Golden Age of detective fiction. This was with the characters of “The Old Man in the Corner,” who first appeared in short story form in 1901, and with “Lady Molly of Scotland Yard,” who made her appearance in 1910. The former was an early example of an “armchair detective” who solves crimes by pure ratiocination from his seat in a café; the latter is a rare instance from the period of a professional female detective. See also WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. THE OTHER SIDE OF SILENCE. Novel. The Other Side of Silence is an espionage story written by the prolific Ted Allbeury and first published in 1981. In an imaginative treatment of history, it deals with the British Secret Service’s response to a request by the traitor Kim Philby to return to Great Britain from his political exile in Moscow. We are told that MI6 had established the “Milord” Committee to monitor Philby continually and to assess his treachery. The agent John Powell is assigned to investigate if the request is genuine or a KGB plot. He painstakingly goes over the written record,



interviews the surviving principals in the Philby story (both in London and in Washington), and visits Moscow to assess the ingenuousness of the traitor himself. The “Milord” Committee also holds responsibility for the minding of the agent who recruited Philby for the Soviets, and when this character is assassinated, Powell realizes he is delving into the heart of a conspiracy. Powell confronts a wall of prejudice, obstruction, and deceit in his search for the “truth” about the traitor, but his dogged investigation finally reveals that Philby had initially been recruited at Cambridge in the early 1930s by the Secret Intelligence Service in an attempt to infiltrate the Soviet Secret Service and that during the wartime period he had probably acted as a double agent, serving both the British and the Russians; after the war, it became quite unclear where his loyalties lay. It is Powell’s recommendation that Philby should be allowed to return, sensing in the man a victim as much as a traitor. In a third visit to Moscow to make arrangements for Kim’s return, Powell has to confront finally the suspicions of the KGB, which equally is at a loss as to the ultimate loyalty of its star infiltration agent. Without warning, Powell is denied an interview with Philby and hurriedly sent home. On his arrival in Britain, he learns that Philby had suddenly died of a “heart attack.” The Other Side of Silence is an intelligent engagement with the myth of Philby, the British traitor who has most fascinated the public imagination. There have remained many unanswered questions about the spy and many contradictions in the long saga of his supposed perfidy. The part-factual, part-fictional approach of the novel attempts to impose some sense on the story. The narrational voice of the investigation is suspended from time to time when the reader is presented with moments of “biography” from the life of Philby. These are usually separated off in their own chapters and further distinguished through italicization. They address such matters as Kim’s boyhood, his recruitment at Cambridge, his youthful radicalism in Vienna in the mid-1930s, and his time in Washington, Beirut, and the early days in Moscow. Through such a device, the historical authenticity of the story is intensified, and the perplexing question of why some in MI6 continued to show loyalty to Philby after his severance from the Service in 1951 is imaginatively addressed. The review in The Times found the factual elements “interesting” and the fictional material “affecting,” while the Guardian found the story “wholly fascinating,” a pleasing solution to “the great unfinished spy story of the century.” See also THE CAMBRIDGE SPIES; HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY. OTLEY. Novel and motion picture. Otley is a comic spy thriller published in 1966 by Martin Waddell. Gerald Arthur Otley doesn’t like violence, paying taxes, working hard, or the general responsibilities of modern life endured by most people. He likes liquor, smoking, and girls; additionally, he



likes odd little antique knickknacks that people leave lying about the house, which he can easily pinch and sell to fund his lifestyle of modest leisure. It is following his theft of a small antique at a party that Otley is catapulted into a mad, confusing conspiracy, in which he is knocked out, pursued by unknown agents and the police, and kidnapped; dead bodies begin to pile up around him, he can no longer trust his friends, and he is lured into a fiendishly complex scenario involving national security and a sinister organization called the International Communications Syndicate (ICS). Throughout all of this madcap action, a beautiful spy known as Grace serves as Otley’s protector and fairy godmother. It eventually transpires that senior men in British security, Hendrikson and Hadrian, are in league with ICS and intend to serve up Otley as a scapegoat. Grace dispatches the villains and, in the process, pockets a substantial sum of money; however, Otley is seen to foil the plot and the opportunist emerges a hero. Otley is one of a cycle of “reluctant spy” stories that appeared during the 1960s and highlighted an emerging youth trend that wanted to distance itself from its parent culture and in the process offered a mild critique of officialdom and the Secret Service. Other such stories included The Night of Wenceslas (novel 1960, filmed as Hot Enough for June 1964), The Liquidator (novel 1964, film 1965), Passport to Oblivion (novel 1964, filmed as Where the Spies Are, 1966), Masquerade (film 1965), The Naked Runner (novel 1965, film 1967), Arabesque (film 1966), Fathom (film 1967), and Crossplot (film 1969). In Otley, the situation is played for comedy and the antiheroic status of the character is emphasized. A similar contemporary fictional character described as “the world’s most reluctant spy” was Eddie Brown, who featured in four novels by Joyce Porter between 1966 and 1971. Waddell published three further stories with his character: Otley Pursued (1967), Otley Forever (1968), and Otley Victorious (1969). Waddell would later become better known as a writer of children’s books, especially the Little Bear picture books illustrated by Barbara Firth and published since 1988. The Belfast-born author, who also wrote children’s ghost stories and mysteries as Catherine Sefton, won the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2004. A movie version of Otley was filmed in England by Dick Clement for release by Columbia Pictures in 1969. It starred Tom Courtenay as the eponymous antihero and closely followed the outline of the novel. The picture was a late submission to the cycle of “Swinging London” films that had been popular in the middle of the decade. Reviews were generally good, with praise for the writing, acting, originality of the story and characterization, and some surprisingly funny scenes. While Richard Davis, reviewing in Films and Filming, thought Otley tried too hard to be “with it,” and that the “few genuine comedy touches” became “swamped in trendy cliché,” film historian Robert Murphy thought the picture transcended the run-of-the-mill



spy spoof, managing a “mundane reality” and introducing us to a London “which has stopped swinging and settled down to become a shambling, easygoing, bohemian backwater.” The character of Gerald Otley can be compared to Harry Palmer, the rather smoother secret agent of the contemporary films The Ipcress File (1965), Funeral in Berlin (1966), and Billion Dollar Brain (1967). Both are northern working-class grammar school boys: Palmer is an insubordinate individualist who works painfully within, but is superior to, the system; whereas Otley tells us he has “dropped out” and therefore represents the kind of listless rebellion characteristic of the later 1960s. The film, which has some pleasingly idiosyncratic characters and witty lines of dialogue, was scripted by the comedy writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais who would later script the espionage dramas Catch Me a Spy (film 1971) and Spies of Warsaw (TV 2013). OUR MAN IN HAVANA. Novel and motion picture. Our Man in Havana is the best known of the comic novels of British spy fiction. Written by Graham Greene and first published in 1958, it tells the story of the unassuming Jim Wormold, an English vacuum cleaner salesman residing in Cuba. Recruited by British Intelligence to serve as “our man in Havana,” he claims the stipends and expenses of agents he has invented, elaborates on local news and official government statistics for his reports, and cunningly sends in drawings of secret military installations derived from the blueprints of his vacuum cleaners, such as the new “Atomic Pile.” London is so impressed, and concerned about the installations, that Wormold is forced to accept an assistant and a radio operator, whom he must strive to deceive. Unfortunately, his reports are intercepted by rival agencies that become interested in his “intelligence,” threaten innocent individuals mistaken for dangerous foreign agents, and, most alarmingly of all, attempt to poison Wormold at a business luncheon, who, it is assumed, is a master spy. In a desperate action, the humble Wormold confronts and shoots the assassin sent to kill him and, exposed, returns to England to face the music. As a wartime intelligence officer, Greene was aware of the agents “Ostro” and “Garbo,” based in the Iberian Peninsula, who filed false reports to the Germans. The author initially developed the idea in the late 1940s in a film sketch “Nobody to Blame,” which remained unproduced, and the scheme later surfaced more substantially in Our Man in Havana. Somerset Maugham had previously used the idea of an agent making up fictitious reports in his short story “The Traitor” (1928). Greene also drew on some of his more unlikely experiences as an intelligence officer during World War II, a period that taught the writer how seriously agent reports could be taken at home office, however improbable they might be. The author assigns his own for-



mer agent number of 59200 to Wormold. Greene had visited Cuba on several occasions during the early 1950s and found in “fantastic Havana,” “among the absurdities of the Cold War,” the ideal setting for his satire. Some Greene scholars have dismissed the novel as simply one of the author’s “entertainments”; however, the story contains much of the writer’s celebrated Catholic concerns, mainly through witty observations of the character of Wormold’s daughter Milly, and, additionally, allows him to satirize espionage and to cast his jaundiced eye on the British Secret Intelligence Service. The novel, in having the protagonist use his imagination to create his network of subagents, is highly self-conscious on the nature of fiction making and the intersection of art and life. Wormold’s deception provides what Grahame Smith called “perhaps the most brilliantly extended embodiment of Greene’s fictional preoccupation with the nature of fiction.” One of the most interesting aspects of the novel is the invocation of E. M. Forster’s notorious claim that betrayal of one’s country was a lesser crime than the betrayal of one’s friends. When he is wondering whether to accept the offer of becoming “our man in Havana,” Wormold is advised by his friend Dr. Hasselbacher to “lie and keep his freedom”; after all, “They don’t deserve the truth.” Later, Wormold kills the enemy agent Carter not for his country, but because he killed his friend Hasselbacher, and with such material the novel descends into black comedy. All of Wormold’s actions are determined by loyalty to his daughter, rather than his country. Later in the 1960s, Greene would write a controversial introduction to Kim Philby’s autobiography, in which he offered an apology for the traitor spy, accepting that he betrayed his country, but adding: “but who among us has not committed treason to something or someone more important than a country.” In the story, Greene has much fun at the expense of a bureaucratic Secret Service back in London; as, for example, when the blueprints of Wormold’s vacuum cleaners prompt the Chief to muse that they might be onto something “so big that the H-bomb will become a conventional weapon.” Unable to reprimand Wormold for fear of exposing its own incompetence, the Service recommends the award of an OBE and a staff job at the Service training school. Our Man in Havana is placed fourth on John G. Cawelti and Bruce A. Rosenberg’s list of “The Greatest Spy Stories.” Alfred Hitchcock had originally bid for the screen rights to Our Man in Havana. In the event, the movie released in 1959 was directed by Carol Reed, as with this arrangement Greene could provide a script that stayed close to the novel. The film boasted an impressive cast list of Alec Guinness, Noel Coward, Maureen O’Hara, and Ralph Richardson. It was filmed on location in Havana—shortly after the Castro revolution—and at Shepperton Studios in England, and the film was financed by Columbia Pictures. Reed and Greene had previously collaborated on The Fallen Idol (1948) and The Third Man (1949), both classics of British cinema, but Our Man in Havana



was not so well received and only a modest commercial success. Some critics felt that the film is less deft than the novel in reconciling the shift from “light-fingered spoof” to melodramatic tragedy. Despite this unwieldy “clash of moods,” critic Robert F. Moss believes Our Man in Havana “remains an enjoyable film and even where it goes awry it errs in the direction of thematic complexity and challenging ideas.” Our Man in Havana is a clear influence on John le Carré’s The Tailor of Panama, a novel first published in 1996 and later filmed by John Boorman in 2001.

P PAGE EIGHT. See THE WORRICKER TRILOGY. PASCALI’S ISLAND. Novel and motion picture. Pascali’s Island is a literary spy novel written by Barry Unsworth and published in 1980. The story, set in 1908 at the time of the insurgency of the Young Turks on a small Turkish-administered island in the Greek Aegean Sea, is narrated by the shabby Basil Pascali, a 45-year-old Levanter descended from an English mother, who for the last 20 years has diligently forwarded insignificant intelligence reports to the sultan in Istanbul. He is poor and a scrounger, but regards himself as intellectually and emotionally suited to the work of an informer, declaring it his “métier,” and approaches his writing with a sense of minor literary accomplishment, aware of the inescapable fictions of reportage. One day, he senses that the local Greeks have begun to show him hostility, and this is coincidental with the unheralded arrival on the island of a mysterious English gentleman, Anthony Bowles, who claims to be an amateur archeologist. Pascali is engaged to act as interpreter for Bowles, who seeks a lease to survey a classical site on land under the protection of the local Pasha. The watchful Pascali comes to suspect a conspiracy and that Bowles is seeking to swindle the authorities over false claims for riches in the earth. When Bowles actually makes an amazing find, the Englishman attempts to remove the treasure secretly with the help of an American skipper of a boat who is in league with local Greek rebels. Pascali, fearing his own position with the local authorities, betrays Bowles, and the Englishman and his confederates are killed while excavating and before they can escape. Pascali’s Island is an unusual novel of historical spy fiction, narrated in the restricted form of Pascali’s embroidered reports to Istanbul, a literary device that serves the unfolding mystery well. The story of intrigues weaves together the themes of the fading of the old order in face of insurgent nationalists and the imperial assertions of the new European powers, stultifying bureaucracy and its corruption, and the jaded loyalty of forgotten subjects. Dark ironies of trust and loyalty, of deceit and betrayal, of honor and friendship, of sham pose turning into bright reality, and dramatic conflicts played 299



out in an exotic setting, bring to mind Joseph Conrad. The novel points up the parallels between the narrator and the Englishman—“kindred spirits” is how Pascali describes it, both actors in their way; and it is with painful irony that the loyal islander ultimately betrays Bowles while the fraudulent Englishman remains true to his word and intended to do the decent thing by Basil and reward him. The motion picture Pascali’s Island, released in 1988, was the feature debut of writer-director James Dearden and starred Ben Kingsley as Pascali and Charles Dance as Bowles. The picture out of necessity for the popular market has to move away from a style of reported dialogue and opt for a more traditional objective narration. Accordingly, time spent with Pascali writing and narrating his reports is kept to a minimum. The movie was shot on the Greek islands of Rhodes and Simi by the talented Roger Deakins, where the locals were still sensitive about having characters moving about dressed as Turks, and the picture manages to conjure up a strong pictorial sense of time and place. Interviewed at the Cannes Film Festival where the film was in competition, Dearden commented: “The story Philip French reviewing in the Observer found Pascali’s Island a ‘quietly ironic costume piece,’ and judged Pascali and Bowles as ‘Ambler characters trapped in Edwardian amber.’” A more critical view tended to prevail elsewhere, with Tim Pulleine at Monthly Film Bulletin finding the telling of the story for the cinema “muffled,” the narrative “gratuitously padded out” with “unnecessary amplification of the material,” and Derek Malcolm at the Guardian bemoaning a lack of narrative drive to match the accomplished playing and dismissing the picture as “a lethargic exercise in emotional atmospherics.” See also GEOPOLITICS OF SPY FICTION. PASSPORT TO OBLIVION. Novel and motion picture. Passport to Oblivion, written by James Leasor, introduced the series character Dr. Jason Love, a country doctor with a passion for the Cord, a classic American car, and was first published in 1964. Love is a veteran of British Army Intelligence and something of an expert in judo. A British agent has gone missing in Iran, and a hard-pressed Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) recruits Dr. Love to look into the matter under the cover of a medical conference in the capital Tehran. What promised to be a simple stopover turns into a deadly situation, a conspiracy to assassinate the shah and the engineering of a coup to initiate a change of government favorable to Russia to bring valuable oil concessions under Soviet control. Love is opposed by the sadistic and perverted Simmias, another medical man and agent of the Soviets. At great risk to himself, Love prevents the public assassination of the shah but is captured by Simmias and passed onto the Russians, who fly him out of the country drugged and hidden in a jet airliner ostensibly making a world peace tour. Activating a secret radio transmitter, Love is able to alert London to his



predicament, and the plane is requested to land in a snow-bound Canada where Love is released. The action unfolds over several days in an unspecified March. Passport to Oblivion perpetuates the tradition of the amateur in British spy fiction, and as the third-person narrator informs the reader, “Only in England was the amateur in these matters still highly regarded.” However, the author self-reflexively has the spy chief ruminate on the action of recruiting Dr. Love as “unprofessional,” “a leftover from John Buchan”; and in turn, the able Love critically reflects on the “well-meaning amateurism” and old school tie attitudes he finds in the Service. The villain Simmias is ruthlessly professional, and it is not insignificant that in the final outcome he is bested by the British amateur Dr. Love. As was common to spy stories of the period, the novel makes reference to actual historical characters and events, such as the Profumo Affair, the Soviet Colonel Zabotin who organized the spy network in Canada in World War II; Mansfield Cumming, the first head of SIS; and the treacherous Klaus Fuchs, John Vassall, Guy Burgess, and Donald Maclean. The traitorous actions of George Blake are blamed for the predicament in which SIS now finds itself. In a further act of self-consciousness, the story refers to other authors, narratives, and characters of British spy fiction, such as Somerset Maugham, The Spy in Black, and James Bond. The publisher Heinemann was enthusiastic about the commercial prospects of the novel and its protagonist Dr. Jason Love; it commissioned five further titles, and the hunt was clearly on for a series character to rival James Bond. Val Guest directed the movie version Where the Spies Are in 1966. Within 10 weeks of reading the novel in proof, Guest had put together a deal with MGM, completed a script with Wolf Mankowitz, and had begun shooting the picture, then known as One Spy Too Many, on location in the Lebanon. The director immediately optioned other Jason Love stories. The movie’s tagline—“From Russia, Beirut, London, Rome and Byblos with LOVE!”— predictably, yet wittily, referenced a recent James Bond smash hit. David Niven starred as Love, and the action is switched to Beirut and a Soviet plot to assassinate the president, equally imperiling Great Britain’s valuable oil concessions. An expert in judo and equipped with a variety of lethal gadgets, Love is able to disrupt the murder attempt but is captured by the assassins and spirited aboard a Russian airliner engaged in a worldwide goodwill tour. There, he is surprised to find Vikki (Françoise Dorléac), a British agent and the film’s romantic interest, who has been doubled and reveals she is essentially out for herself. Love is able to bring down the airliner in northern Canada with one of his devices and escapes with the help of Vikki, but she does the decent thing and dies in the shootout.



Guest claimed that the picture was made “absolutely factually,” guaranteed by a technical adviser “who not so very long ago was one of the head men at MI6.” This, of course, was nonsense, and Kine Weekly is nearer the truth in marking the picture as a “compelling, exciting adventure,” with some witty dialogue and comic asides. Monthly Film Bulletin noted the most recent addition to “the current tidal wave of post-Bondian spy spoofs” and was surprised by the film’s “streak of viciousness.” Many reviews, in fact, made reference to the torture of Love on-board the Aeroflot plane, ironically situated under a sign reading “Good Will to All Men,” and the film, like the novel, turns increasingly dark as the plot unfolds. While subsequent Jason Love adventures did appear in print, there was no future attempt to feature the character on screen. PEARCE, ROGER. Novelist and Special Branch officer. Roger Pearce was formerly a professional policeman who rose to become commander of Special Branch at New Scotland Yard. He has studied theology at Durham University and law at London University. At the Branch, Pearce was responsible for surveillance and undercover operations against terrorists and extremists, the close protection of government ministers and visiting VIPs, and for liaison with MI5 and MI6. As director of Intelligence he was charged with heading covert operations against serious and organized criminals. After leaving the Branch, he was appointed Counter-Terrorism Adviser to the Foreign Office, where he worked with government and intelligence experts worldwide in the campaign against Al Qaeda and, more recently, served as European security director of a leading international company. Pearce commented on his shift to popular fiction: “The more I did in SB, the more interesting work I was involved in, the situations and characters I was exposed to, the more I realised it would lend itself to great fiction.” He has written two novels that draw on his experience in police and intelligence work. Agent of the State (2012) and The Extremist (2013) feature the character of Detective Chief Inspector John Kerr, a work-hard, play-hard character, who struggles against domestic security threats and corruption in the intelligence services and the establishment. “Having worked in every rank in the job, I can see through the eyes of all my characters,” he brimmed, “whether it is the commander politicking or the constable or sergeant on the frontline doing the operational side.” Pearce’s style has been called “fastpaced, codeword-heavy fun”; however, there have been reservations about the quality of characterization and even the believability of the stories. A television option has been signed for his first two books. See also SPY AS NOVELIST, SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY.



A PERFECT SPY. Novel and television drama serial. A Perfect Spy is John le Carré’s 11th novel, first published in 1986. The story deals with the complex life of Magnus Pym, a brilliant Secret Intelligence Service officer, latterly head of Station for Czechoslovakia and based in Vienna, Austria. The British Secret Service is thrown into turmoil when he goes to ground, hiding himself away in a seaside boarding house he has long prepared for his sanctuary. There, he ostensibly writes his memoirs, addressed mainly to his young son and to Jack Brotherhood, a mentor figure and the man who recruited Pym to the Service. It is his account of an extraordinary upbringing, one that had prepared him as a “perfect spy,” and for a lifetime of betrayals. The story cuts back and forth between Pym’s reminiscences and the frantic search for the missing intelligence officer by the British, the Czechs, and the Americans. The reader discovers the background to Pym, partly from the act of writing the memoirs, and partly from Brotherhood’s attempt to discover the secrets of the missing agent: Pym’s unusual childhood; the unexplained absences of his trickster father, Rick; time spent at boarding school and university; and his introduction to intelligence work, first unofficially in Switzerland and later during his military service in the British Zone in Austria. It is during his time with the British Army of Occupation that Pym is recruited to serve the Czech Secret Service by Herr Axel, a refugee he had earlier befriended while temporarily stranded in Berne, Switzerland, on an abortive mission for his father who, as usual, was involved in a scam to obtain money. Axel coaxes Pym into an arrangement whereby Axel receives British secrets and thereby safeguards his own position within the repressive Czech regime, and Pym can advance his career through establishing a seemingly important agent network in Czechoslovakia, which is, in fact, controlled by the communists. Pym rises effortlessly in the Service, serving in Berlin, Stockholm, and, the greatest prize, Washington. Throughout his life, Pym betrays those around him: his father, his two wives, Axel, Brotherhood, his service, and his country. Eventually, the Americans begin to suspect Pym and his deception, but the British defend him and claim that, if anything, the Czechs are trying to frame a loyal British officer who has long been a thorn in their side. Pym’s sudden disappearance thus rocks British Intelligence. Despite the excellence of his tradecraft, Pym is eventually traced to his “safe house” by Brotherhood. However, his manuscript completed, the disgraced agent takes his own life. A Perfect Spy is an epic novel of personal and professional betrayal. It has been judged le Carré’s most ambitious and autobiographical novel, incorporating as it does a complex series of stories and flashbacks. The West Country childhood, non-conformism, absent mother, public school, Oxford University, Army Intelligence, and MI6 belong to the biography of Pym and le Carré. The author claimed that writing the story was a cathartic experience, allowing him to come to terms with his own unconventional upbringing in



which his remarkable father, Ronnie, a swindler and fantasist, played such an important role. Significantly, in creating the story, le Carré was insistent that the son Magnus Pym should be an even bigger confidence man than his father; one, according to Frank Conroy writing in the New York Times, “intimately aware of the dynamics of love and loyalty as tools to be used in the covert manipulation of men, knowledgeable in the uses of the lie, cognizant of the fragility and vulnerability of those whom life, in one way or another, has badly hurt.” As Pym writes his memoirs, he is constantly reflecting on how early experience taught him “stealth, subterfuge, dissimulation and tradecraft,” as Eric Homberger expressed it, and in the process creating a “perfect spy.” The story was described as “an autobiography of the soul of a spy.” For some critics, A Perfect Spy is an uncharacteristically humorous novel for the author, albeit a darkly comic story. This dimension is largely attributable to the larger-than-life portrait of Rick Pym, who is painted as a kind of endearing monster. In addition, le Carré artfully constructs an insistent framework of doubling and repetition in his story, which, at its most obvious, includes Pym’s two wives, two agent runners (and father figures), and two rival services. These have been taken to stand as metaphors for “a world divided against itself; a world in which men must constantly struggle to discriminate among conflicting loyalties and shifting identities.” A Perfect Spy is also concerned with the division within the self, and this accounts for the chameleon-like qualities of Pym, who redefines himself depending on to whom is he relating or trying to impress. A Perfect Spy was produced as a seven-part BBC television serial in 1987, starring Peter Egan as the adult Magnus Pym and Ray McAnally as Rick Pym. The dramatization was by Arthur Hopcraft who had previously adapted le Carré for television in 1979 with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The complex achronological narration of the novel, involving the juxtaposition of Pym writing his memoirs, Brotherhood’s pursuit of the errant spy, and the wife’s attempt to discern the personal and professional treachery of her husband, is dispensed with in favor of a linear narrative commencing with childhood and progressing through to the suicide as more suitable for a broad television audience. There was wide praise for the outstanding performances in the series, and the usual gripes about the convolution of the story; the Telegraph complained that the drama seemed to “revel in complexity for complexity’s sake.” For the New York Times, A Perfect Spy was “another very impressive addition to the television record of Le Carré explorations. Gloomy and disturbing, to be sure, but singularly absorbing.” See also ESPIONAGE STORY; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS.



PHILBY, BURGESS & MACLEAN. Television drama. Philby, Burgess & Maclean was written by Ian Curteis, produced at the commercial television company Granada, and first broadcast in May 1977. The single-play drama addresses the dramatic period during which the realization emerged within the British Secret Service that senior officers and diplomats were spying for the communists. Suspicion first falls on Donald Maclean and then by association on Guy Burgess and Kim Philby. The drama covers the decade beginning with the Volkov incident in 1945, the erstwhile Soviet defector in Istanbul who offers to name spies in the Foreign Office and in the Secret Intelligence Service, the VENONA decrypts of Soviet radio traffic that implicate Maclean and lead to the defection of Burgess and Maclean to Moscow in 1951, and ends with Philby’s public denial in 1955 that he was the “Third Man” in the spy ring. Anthony Bate plays Philby as a resolute character under increasing strain, Derek Jacobi essays a camp and twitching Burgess, and Michael Culver portrays an unnerved Maclean coming apart at the seams. Philby, Burgess & Maclean was Granada’s entry into the 1978 Monte Carlo Festival and was a British Academy of Film and Television Awards Best Play nominee. It was subsequently broadcast in 48 countries, with an estimated audience in excess of 100 million. Reviews in Great Britain were largely positive, noting Granada’s impressive progress with the drama-documentary format and praising the quality of the play’s writing, acting, and staging. James Murray in the Daily Express noted, “We could do with a lot more spy thrillers based on this kind of reality in place of most of the fictionalized rubbish television usually serves.” Explaining his drama, Curteis points to its exploration of whether we “owe a loyalty stronger and deeper than to our own country.” The play makes it clear that the Soviets regarded Maclean as their most important source, having provided atomic secrets of incalculable value from his post in Washington toward the end of World War II. The drama suggests that it was the grave implications of atomic weaponry that provided the self-justification for the men in their treachery against the Allies at this time. Curteis scripted a number of historical television dramas in the 1970s and 1980s, including The Atom Spies in 1979, dramatizing the case of the physicist Klaus Fuchs who passed atomic research secrets to the Soviet Union during the 1940s. The historical consultant for Philby, Burgess & Maclean was Phillip Knightley, a journalist who had coauthored Philby: The Spy Who Betrayed a Generation back in 1968. The teleplay was marginally premature to the revelations in 1979 that led to the public exposure of Anthony Blunt, a fourth member of the Cambridge Spies. The four-part series Cambridge Spies (2003) provides a more complete dramatization of the treachery of the notorious Philby, Burgess, Maclean, and Blunt. See also BLUNT; HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS.


PINCHER, CHAPMAN (1914–2014)

PINCHER, CHAPMAN (1914–2014). Journalist, writer, and novelist. Henry Chapman Pincher was born in Ambala, India, where coincidently Kim Philby had been born two years previously. He was educated at Darlington grammar school and in the natural sciences at King’s College, London. When war broke out, he served initially in the Royal Armoured Corps but was soon ensconced in the Rocket Division of the Ministry Supply involved in secret weapons research from where he fed tidbits to the Daily Express from time to time. Pincher’s first journalistic scoop was to cover the story of the atom bomb for the Daily Express at a time when nobody knew anything about the new science. In the 1950s, he became a leading investigative journalist on the Express, specializing in defense and politics, where he was part of the dogged team that pursued the government on the scandal of the “missing diplomats” Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean. Pincher was nominated for Reporter of the Year in 1964 for his intelligence coup detailing the exchange of the KGB spy Gordon Lonsdale (Konon Trofimovich Molody) for the British businessman Greville Wynne; he received the Reporter of the Decade accolade following his triumph over the Labour government in the political and security scandal known as the “D-Notice Affair.” In the 1970s and 1980s, Pincher retained his public profile with a series of “documentary” accounts exposing government and intelligence secrets, blunders, and cover-ups. These included Inside Story (1978), The Secret Offensive (1985), and The Truth about Dirty Tricks (1991). Their Trade Is Treachery (1981) and Too Secret Too Long (1984) controversially suggested long-term penetration of the Security Service by the Soviets and, in what caused a storm, that Roger Hollis, former director general of MI5, was a communist agent. Furthermore, Chapman was implicated in the most notorious security scandal of the 1980s and recounts the tale in A Web of Deception: The Spycatcher Affair (1987). As a critic of executive secrecy, Pincher is unusual as his political position is conservative rather than radical. He justified his activities in the suggestion that he seeks to strengthen rather than weaken the Security Service, something he believes would accrue from an honest confession about failures of approach and recruitment in the past. Pincher saw himself as “an anti-communist patriot determined to expose the Soviet Union’s corruption of British life.” Some on the left were suspicious that Pincher was an unofficial conduit for politicians and government officials, enabling them to air their views and generally doing their bidding. The radical historian E. P. Thompson famously remarked that the journalist was a “kind of official urinal” into which senior members of government and intelligence agencies stood “patiently leaking in the public interest.” The admiring political scholar Christopher Moran alternatively sees Pincher as a “trailblazer,” “Fleet Street’s greatest scoop-merchant,” “the secret state’s biggest irritant,” and “nobody’s poodle”—in fact, a British counterpart of the legendary American investigative journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.



Pincher published a handful of spy thrillers—The Penthouse Conspirators (1970), The Skeleton at the Villa Wolkonsky (1975), and The Eye of the Tornado (1976)—allegedly “based on information he was unable to use fully while in Fleet Street.” Shortly before his death, a newspaper referred to the grand old journalist as an “emblem of the Cold War.” The venerable “scoop hunter” published his autobiography as Chapman Pincher: Dangerous to Know (2014) in his 100th year. See also SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY. PORTLAND SPY RING. See RING OF SPIES. PRICE, ANTHONY (1928– ). Novelist. Price, born in Hertfordshire, was a pupil of King’s School, Canterbury; he completed his national service in the army between 1947 and 1949, reaching the rank of captain, and then studied history at Merton College, Oxford University, where he gained a master’s degree. He served for a long period as a journalist, reviewing historical and crime books, and later became deputy editor, then editor, of the Oxford Times. Price published 19 well-received espionage novels in a series with the principal figure of the donnish Dr. David Audley serving a nameless counterintelligence organization within the Ministry of Defence that is sometimes simply referred to by characters as “the department.” The series began with The Labyrinth Makers in 1970 and concluded with The Memory Trap in 1988. The majority of the stories have contemporary settings and recurring characters, the British counterespionage agents Colonel Butler, Hugh Roskill, Peter Richardson, the senior KGB agent Nikolai Panin, the friendly Israeli agent Colonel Jake Shapiro, the scholarly German resident in London Theodore Freisler, and Audley’s wife Faith. These unconventional stories generally deal with common security matters of spy fiction, such as student unrest, defectors, assassination, KGB operations, and terrorism, but often the plot features a historical puzzle, where the investigation or mystery is located in a past event of great significance. In The Labyrinth Makers, it is the crash of a Royal Air Force plane at the end of the war; in Other Paths to Glory (1974), it is an old tunnel system under a World War I battlefield; and in Our Man in Camelot (1975), it is a fabled battlefield of King Arthur. The stories The ’44 Vintage (1978), The Hour of the Donkey (1980), Soldier No More (1981), and A New Kind of War (1987) are historical spy fiction, set in the recent past of World War II and the early Cold War. Price makes considerable demands on the reader’s intelligence and knowledge; the stories contain many literary allusions and quotations and digress into detailed discussions of such historical subjects as Schliemann’s archeological excavation for Troy (The Labyrinth Makers), Romano-British history



(Colonel Butler’s Wolf, 1972), and Arthurian Britain (Our Man in Camelot). It is for their intellectual quality that spy novels of Anthony Price count as espionage stories, rather than more simplistic spy thrillers. However, unlike the “cynical” spy fiction of John le Carré, the stories are traditional in that the agents serve the state loyally in a manner that is presented as morally right. While the senior figures of British Intelligence are somewhat shadowy and devious, their manipulation and keeping of the agents in the dark is offered less in terms of a critique than in the interest of a good mystery in which nothing should be revealed to the reader too soon. Despite the pronounced Oxbridge and Whitehall settings, there is little sense of class antagonism or abused privilege in these stories. Maurice Richardson, reviewing Colonel Butler’s Wolf (1972) in the Guardian, judged that “Mr. Price was more than holding his own in the upper IQ spy story bracket.” The Labyrinth Makers won Price the Silver Dagger Award, and Other Paths to Glory won the Gold Dagger Award of the British Crime Writers’ Association. THE PRISONER. Television fantasy series. The Prisoner, starring and created by Patrick McGoohan, is the outstanding cult television spy-fi thriller. The single season of 17 episodes was first broadcast on Independent Television in Great Britain between September 1967 and February 1968, and the surreal story line immediately attracted and fascinated audiences. An unnamed secret agent resigns, is abducted, and finds himself captive in a mysterious and isolated seaside “village,” where he is pressured to reveal the reasons for his resignation and for the knowledge he gained while serving as a secret agent. Inmates are deindividualized and assigned numbers; the protagonist is allocated “Number Six,” but he defies his captors and interrogators, stating: “I will make no deals with you. I’ve RESIGNED. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.” Viewers were intrigued by the series, yearning to discover the identity of the mysterious and unseen “Number One,” who commands the Village, and the fate of “The Prisoner” who strives from episode to episode to free himself. Patrick McGoohan, bored of his role in the popular spy series Danger Man (1960–61, 1964–66), used his star power to convince Lew Grade and the ITC Company to back a new, unconventional series for television. For the episode “View from the Villa” (1960) in the Danger Man series, scenes were shot at the Italianate seaside resort at Portmeirion, North Wales, and this fantastical space became the inspiration and “village” setting for the new show. McGoohan as writer, producer, codirector, and star, was given unprecedented freedom for The Prisoner, and there have been claims of megalomania for the difficult and temperamental star. George Markstein, the experienced script editor, and in some versions of the history of the series the



cocreator of The Prisoner, resigned in exasperation after 13 episodes, claiming that “McGoohan would like to be God,” while director Robert Tronson’s experience on the drama led him to dismiss McGoohan as a “psychopath.” The Prisoner was lavished with a large budget, and some huge James Bond–type sets were constructed at the MGM Studios, Borehamwood. Executives, bewildered by the story lines and the antics of McGoohan, brought the series to a premature end, and the hastily conceived, some say improvised, final episode number 17 has gone down in history “as the most controversial television denouement ever.” Audiences, eager to discover the identity of Number One and the ultimate fate of the prisoner, were confused and then felt cheated when in a final confrontation Number Six rips off the mask of his captor to reveal his own face staring back at him. Arguably the biggest anticlimax in television history, switchboards were jammed by angry viewers, and McGoohan was allegedly forced into hiding. The peculiarities and unresolved production, narrative, and textual issues of the series have meant that The Prisoner has developed an enduring fascination for fans, cultists, and television scholars. There has been lasting debate whether it is John Drake from Danger Man who has entered the Village. Internal textual evidence from the series and production continuity certainly provides credibility for such a view. It is also unclear whether the facility of the Village is under Western or Eastern Bloc control. The show’s obsession with captivity, surveillance, and espionage marks it out as an intriguing drama series of the Cold War; “a brilliant mix of Orwell, Kafka and Ian Fleming” is how Robert Sellers describes it, and the series has been appreciated as in the tradition of dystopian fiction and British classics such as A Brave New World (1932) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). A major theme of The Prisoner is individualism versus collectivism, and George Markstein claimed he planned the series as a response to “brainwashing and social control in the postwar era.” Cultural historian David Seed notes the self-consciousness of the series, the discourse of “therapy” that runs through the episodes, the configuring of Number Six as an “experimental subject,” and, in a chilling observation, judges The Prisoner “one of the most surreal applications of a controlled environment for experimentation.” An updated American-British miniseries of six episodes was aired as The Prisoner in 2009, but the adaptation lacked an espionage angle and attracted mixed reviews. Magic Number Six by Paul Gosling, a one-act play portraying the behind-the-scenes relationship between Patrick McGoohan and Lew Grade during the making of The Prisoner, debuted in Leicester, UK, in 2012. There have been rumors that The Prisoner could be made into a movie, following on from other Hollywood makeovers of 1960s British adventure series such as The Saint (U.S. film, 1997) and The Avengers (U.S. film, 1998).




Q Q PLANES. Motion picture. Q Planes was produced from an original story at London Films and released in March 1939, shortly before the outbreak of World War II. Major Hammond (Ralph Richardson) of the Secret Service is investigating a series of disappearances of experimental airplanes and teams up with test pilot Tony McVane (Laurence Olivier) and his own sister, news reporter Kay Lawrence (Valerie Hobson). They discover that a clerk at the factory is trading information to the enemy, but he is murdered by foreign agents before he can talk. Hammond investigates the suspicious movements of the ship Viking and is able to place it in proximity to all the recent disappearances of aircraft; he further discovers that it is due at Merlin Bay on the Welsh coast where the next test flight will take place. McVane, in ignorance, pilots the flight and is brought down and placed in captivity. The plucky air crews held on the Viking escape from their confinement and engage the ship’s crew. Hammond arrives on a Royal Navy destroyer, and the Viking is subdued. Q Planes is a comedy spy thriller produced at one of the leading film companies in Great Britain in the 1930s and featuring three of its most respected stars. In particular, Richardson gives a splendidly eccentric performance as the absentminded Secret Serviceman, an umbrella-wielding, homburg-hatted archetype who would appear in many future screen dramas and who was a model for the character of John Steed in The Avengers (1961–69). A running joke through the film has Hammond perpetually having to put off a date with his girlfriend as he energetically pursues the missing planes. In the final scene, having actually arrived on time for a dinner date, he discovers that his girl, in his absence, has married someone else. The short review in the Listener praised the “pace and punch” of the film, believing the acting “could hardly be better,” while The Times praised Q Planes as an “unabashed ‘thriller,’” with “plenty of excitement, heroism, and villainy, and with an admirable climax.” Film historian James Chapman points to the similarities in plot between Q Planes and the later James Bond picture The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).




The espionage film of the later 1930s came to address threats to national security and the need for military preparedness as Europe was increasingly drawn toward war. Q Planes makes explicit reference to the need for rearmament but also marks the widespread feeling of complacency and resistance that existed at a time of appeasement of European aggressors. Film historian Marcia Landy points to the general atmosphere of uncertainty and physical and verbal belligerence in the film, the frustrating way that Hammond is “thwarted at every turn by the stupidity of the industrialist manufacturing the planes, the resistance of the government to assisting in the discovery of espionage, the treacherous activity of British employees, and the impatience and notoriety of the press.” As such, “the film dramatizes men’s need to acknowledge a danger to national security and to act appropriately.” The enemy attempting to steal the military secrets, in the fashion of British cinema of the time, is not identified, but as their leader speaks with a middle European accent and wears a monocle, audiences would have been left in little doubt that the essential danger lay with Germany. A QUESTION OF ATTRIBUTION. See SINGLE SPIES. QUILLER. Television adventure series. Agent Quiller is the series character in the popular spy novels of Adam Hall and had first appeared in The Berlin Memorandum (1965), filmed as The Quiller Memorandum in 1966. The television Quiller starred the respected actor Michael Jayston; it was produced at the BBC and broadcast over a single 13-episode season in 1975. The action-oriented series was an obvious response to the continuing popularity of James Bond as well as the recent success on the commercial television network of the secret agent series Callan (1967–72). Quiller was constructed as the enigmatic, classic loner; he is described in the publicity as “The Man Who Does Not Officially Exist,” “a mystery . . . obdurate, nihilistic, extremely dangerous.” In contrast to other archetypal secret agents, “He does not drink or smoke, never carries a gun, rarely smiles.” Quiller works for a covert intelligence organization known as “The Bureau” and maintains an antagonistic relationship with the manipulative Controller, Angus (Moray Watson); female interest is occasionally provided by Roz (Sinéad Cusack), a human rights lawyer. Quiller undertakes a variety of dangerous and complex operations in which he is required to be quick witted, resourceful, and ruthless. In “The Price of Violence,” he is assigned to protect an important international visitor from assassination, before discovering the target is himself; in “Political Jungle,” he must rescue a political prisoner; and in “Mark the File Expendable,” Quiller is sent to the Mediterranean after secret rocket technology is stolen from a British base. The episode “Tango Briefing” was scripted by



Adam Hall from his own novel, and in the thrilling story, Quiller has to locate an aircraft crashed in the Sahara and destroy the secret, deadly, and politically sensitive contents on board. The series is in parts stylish and fitted with a dynamic credit sequence over which pulsates a now cult synthesizerrock theme tune by Richard Denton and Martin Cook. Reportedly, audience viewing figures started flagging toward the end of the run, and the producers decided not to recommission the series. Reviews were generally poor; Joseph Hone in the Listener found the series “light and entirely mindless,” observing an “absolute conviction in its clichés.” In a damning piece in the Observer, respected critic Clive James rejected Quiller as “detestably silly,” wondered at the “ineptitude” of its creators, and found the show “derivative to the last frame of footage and word of dialogue.” Contributing writer Brian Clemens has complained of budgetary cutbacks as harming the production, claiming that one story he wrote set in South America, “Any Last Request,” was actually filmed in Hastings on the south coast of England. Quiller is now a long-forgotten spy series and a missed opportunity by the BBC. THE QUILLER MEMORANDUM. See THE BERLIN MEMORANDUM.

R REILLY—ACE OF SPIES. Book and television adventure serial. Sidney Reilly is a legendary British spy of the early 20th century, and his extraordinary adventures are recounted in Ace of Spies by Robin Bruce Lockhart, published in 1967. Lockhart is the son of Robert Bruce Lockhart, a colleague of Reilly’s and an important diplomat and secret agent in Russia around the time of World War I, and Robin claims to write with first-hand knowledge. The account, however, is often hagiographical, embellishing the legend as much as revealing the man and secret agent, boldly claiming Reilly as “surely not only the master spy of this century but of all time.” Robin Bruce Lockhart served in Naval Intelligence during World War II where he knew Ian Fleming, and it has been suggested that Reilly was a possible model for the superagent James Bond. The tale told includes Reilly’s remarkable exploits for the British Secret Service; his attempts to discover Russian intentions in Persia in 1897; his securing of oil concessions for the British in Persia in 1904; his acquisition of secret German weapons plans in 1909; his joining in disguise of the counsels of the German High Command at a point in World War I, which led to his meeting with the kaiser; and finally his various intrigues in Europe and Russia to lead the counterrevolution against the Red Terror after 1917 and depose the Soviets. The latter adventures, which lasted between 1918 and 1925, are the best known of Reilly’s colorful activities. Interspersed with the espionage is a larger-than-life appetite for womanizing and the making and losing of fortunes. Ace of Spies meditates at some length on the complex and perplexing matter of Riley’s death as it appeared in the late 1960s. Reilly—Ace of Spies is a period drama serial of 12 loosely connected episodes based on the legendary exploits of Sidney Reilly as recounted by Robin Bruce Lockhart, starring Sam Neill, written by Troy Kennedy-Martin, produced for television at Euston Films, and broadcast in 1983. The featurelength pilot episode, “An Affair with a Married Woman,” is set in 1901 in Baku, Russia, where Reilly (named Rosenblum at this time) is engaged by the British Secret Service on a mission to discover details of the Russian oil survey. Further episodes of 50-minute duration deal with the adventures of 315



Reilly between 1904 and 1925: “Prelude to War” is set in Port Arthur in 1904 during the Russo-Japanese War and has the spy aiding the Japanese; “Dreadnoughts and Crosses” and “Dreadnoughts and Doublecrosses” are set in 1910 and have Reilly intriguing in the rivalry between Germany and Russia; “Gambit,” “Endgame,” and “After Moscow” have the agent intriguing in Moscow during the aftermath of the Russian Revolution in 1918 and culminates in a retreat back to Great Britain; and “Shutdown” is set in 1925 and sees Reilly back in Moscow where he is arrested and later shot. Reilly—Ace of Spies was a lavish production and shot on film with a budget of £4.5 million with the ambition of achieving a cinematic quality. Location shooting took place in London and Paris, while Malta stood in quite convincingly for Russia, Persia, and Manchuria. There had been intentions to dramatize Ace of Spies for many years, but the project floundered at both London Weekend Television and the BBC, before it eventually settled at Euston Films. The serial was a popular and critical success attracting over eight million viewers each week. Subsequent critical interest in the serial centers mainly on the writer Troy Kennedy-Martin, who claims to have written a million words involving 80 script revisions over a four-year period in creating the drama. With Reilly—Ace of Spies, he aimed to create “something that would bear comparison with Somerset Maugham’s Ashenden stories or with Graham Greene of ‘Stamboul Train,’” and would therefore have been gladdened by the comments in the Guardian, which found a “Somerset Maugham-ish sense of sex and cynicism about the story.” Television scholar Lez Cooke claims that Reilly—Ace of Spies “attempted a serious approach to history” and was not simply a nostalgic costume drama about the romantic exploits of a British spy; instead it strove “to achieve a balance between the serious dramatization of real historical events, action-adventure and romance” sufficient to attract a popular audience. In stylistic terms, Cooke sees the “matter-of-fact” narrational voice-over as confirming “the historical authenticity of the serial,” and as “ensuring Reilly’s activities are seen within a wider political context.” The problem with this view, of course, is that Robin Bruce Lockhart is hardly a credible historical source. The drama, like the book, fails on many occasions in terms of historical accuracy. It makes elementary mistakes such as having Mansfield Cumming (Norman Rodway) involved in the British Secret Service in 1901 when, in fact, he was appointed to what was a wholly new service in 1909; it also fabricates much new material such as a murderous vendetta Reilly pursues against the powerful Basil Zaharov (Leo McKern) following the death of a girlfriend. It is instructive that the recent official history of the Secret Intelligence Service, which describes Reilly as “brilliant, audacious and uncontrollable,” ascribes the agent’s role for British Intelligence as more modest, marking his first contact with the Service only in 1917 on the eve of his mission to Russia, and noting the gradual distancing of the home office from a potentially trouble-



some representative. The dramatization Reilly—Ace of Spies has to deal with the difficult issue of the death of Sidney Reilly and opts to have him shot in 1925 on the specific orders of Stalin, something which, in fact, was only seemingly confirmed following the release of official British documents in 2002. Sidney Reilly remains a mythic and mysterious figure in espionage. Other accounts of his enigmatic life have been more critical, claiming that the agent—referred to by some colleagues in British Intelligence as “Reckless Reilly”—was no more than a con man, an adventurer, and a rogue; and even more damning, he might have been a double agent. Recent studies include Richard Spence’s Trust No One: The Secret World of Sidney Reilly (2002) and Andrew Cook’s Ace of Spies: The True Story of Sidney Reilly (2004). Robin Bruce Lockhart later published the sensationalist Reilly: The First Man (1987), which claims that Reilly did not die in Russia in 1925, but went on to mastermind other amazing espionage coups. Master spy Reilly has recently been the subject of the imaginative fictions The Spy Who Had No Faith in the World: A Semi-documentary Account of the Exploits 1900–1904 of Sidney Reilly AKA “the Ace of Spies” and Ian Fleming’s Role Model for James Bond (2011) by Ronald Fairfax and The Private War of Sidney Reilly: A Tale of Revolutionary Russia (2014) by the American Allan Torrey. Of historical interest is Adventures of a British Master Spy: The Memoirs of Sidney Reilly, published in 1932 (and reissued in 1986 and 2014), which repute to be the actual written memoirs of Reilly with additional material from his last wife, Pepita. See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION. RESTLESS. Novel and television drama serial. Restless, a novel by the acclaimed William Boyd and published in 2006, is an important recent example of historical spy fiction. The story is structured in two time frames: the “present” is the long, hot summer of 1976, which is narrated by Ruth Gilmartin, a young single mother and postgraduate student at Oxford University; the “past” is the period encompassing 1939–42, a third-person account of Eva Delectorskaya, a young exiled Russian woman recruited to British Intelligence in prewar Paris. Ruth is shocked to learn that Eva’s real identity is that of her widowed mother Sally, who has presented her daughter with a “memoir” of her wartime experiences. The narrative cross-cuts between Ruth reading the manuscript (and coming to terms with her mother’s mounting paranoia) and the story of Eva—her training in Scotland in signals, combat, and survival techniques; her wartime service in espionage and propaganda in Belgium, London, and the United States; and most important, her relationship with the enigmatic, yet attractive and self-assured, Lucas Romer, head of a small intelligence unit attached to the Government Code and Cypher School. On a supposedly simple courier’s job in New Mexico, Eva narrowly escapes being murdered, and when a colleague is found dead, she goes to



ground in Canada, later London, and disappears under the new identity of Sally Gilmartin. Eva has long suspected Lucas Romer and enlists the help of Ruth in locating and confronting him. An old, respectable, and ennobled man, Romer is finally exposed and chooses death to disgrace; his death is made to appear to the world as a heart attack. William Boyd stated that with Restless he aimed to “explore the human consequences of what it is to be a spy. What price do you pay when you have to live in a world where nobody can be trusted, even those people you love?” Trust is a major theme of the story, a point ironically made by Romer when he knowingly advises Eva: “Don’t trust anyone, ever.” For the secret agent, it is “the one and only rule”: “Always suspect. Always mistrust.” The human consequence of this fact is the eternally vigilant, suspicious, and even paranoid Sally Gilmartin, who notes down the details of new cars that come into the district and surveys with binoculars the woods opposite her house where she feels threat lurks, forced to live in a world without trust. A state of “restless watchfulness of someone living a totally secret, underground existence” is how Boyd later expressed it. Eva’s story unfolds against a backdrop of real historical incidents, organizations, and characters, such as the catastrophic Venlo Incident (1939, renamed Prenslo in the novel), in which two British Secret Intelligence Service officers were lured to German captivity in Holland; the British Security Coordination in New York; the Soviet defector Walter Krivitsky (renamed Aleksandr Nekich in the story); and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. Romer’s treachery, of course, is analogous to that of Cambridge Spy Kim Philby. The story also points up some parallels between mother and daughter, wartime spy against fascism, and 1970s radicals against capitalism and state dictatorships. The critical response to Restless was largely favorable, with reviewers praising Boyd’s attempt to use the spy novel to treat such serious themes as the relation between past and present, shifting identities, illusion versus reality, and the generation gap. Some critics have suggested that a source for a story about a quiet, elderly woman suddenly being revealed as a spy would be the exposure of Melita Norwood in 1999, the so-called Spy Who Came in from the Co-op. Restless was adapted by Boyd into a three-hour, two-part television drama and broadcast on the BBC in 2012, starring Hayley Atwell as Eva Delectorskaya, Charlotte Rampling as Sally Gilmartin, and Rufus Sewell and Michael Gambon as the younger and older Lucas Romer. The historical location scenes were shot in South Africa, and filming also took place at sites in Oxfordshire, Cambridge, and London. The reviewer at the Guardian wondered at “so many inconsistencies in the storyline” but found the drama “well-acted, well-written, well-paced and well-filmed.” The New York Times critic felt that “unimaginative direction and the show’s lulling, pedestrian rhythms forestall any danger of being truly engaged with either plot,” yet



conceded that the traditional strengths of British drama, an “understated script free of hackneyed dialogue or florid emotion,” and “niceties of language” should be enough for “devout fans of the British espionage thriller or the British cozy mystery.” See also SPY FICTION AND WORLD WAR II; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS; WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS. Novel and motion picture. The Riddle of the Sands is arguably the first classic of modern British spy fiction; the only novel written by Erskine Childers, it was published in 1903. The story is narrated by Carruthers, a young gentleman and civil servant at the Foreign Office, who is unexpectedly invited to join an acquaintance, Arthur Davies, in a yachting expedition on the Dulcibella around the desolate northern coast of Holland and Germany. Carruthers is surprised to find a small boat and few comforts when he joins Davies at Flushing but comes to delight in the hardy life at sea. He is then told an astonishing story by Davies, of a German yachtsman Dollman, sailing with his daughter Clara (a character added to the story at the insistence of the publisher) on the monstrously named Medusa, who seemingly tried to kill the Englishman by drawing the Dulcibella into a dangerous channel in rough seas and deserting him there. It is Daviesʼs view that Dollman is an Englishman in the service of Germany and that military secrets are hidden in the coastal waters of the region. The two patriotic Englishmen decide to investigate, set off to navigate the treacherous waterways and mudflats of the Frisian Islands, and solve “the riddle of the sands.” The two men come to suspect a salvage operation that claims to be looking for sunken gold, in which Dollman and, more curiously, an officer of the German Imperial Navy are intimately involved. Feigning to return to England, but soon doubling back through northern Holland and Germany, Carruthers is able to assess the lay of the land and discerns in the intricate waterways of rivers and canals the German intentions. The plan is not defensive but offensive; using shallow draft boats, Imperial Germany will float an army to the undefended east coast of England and mount an invasion. Carruthers and Davies confront Dollman, convince him to return to England, and confirm the despicable plan. Sailing for home shores, Dollman does the decent thing and disappears overboard, while the innocent Clara, freed of the burden of treachery, is left to assume married life with Davies. Erskine Childers, in a conceit, presents The Riddle of the Sands as an adventure and urgent warning notified to him by his “friend” Carruthers. In a preface to the novel, the author states how he was invited to “edit” the incredible story of Carruthers, drawing on a diary, verbal accounts of the two amateur sailors, and the maps and charts of Davies, with some of the “actual” maps, diagrams, and diary extracts reproduced in the book. In view of the “pitiful inadequacy” of the Secret Service, which remained indifferent to the



threat, Childers felt duty bound to publicize the narrative so as to “avert a national danger.” In a postscript, Childers refers to measures taken by the government while the manuscript was in press to address the weaknesses of British defense alluded to in the story, such as the establishment of a North Sea Fleet and a North Sea naval base, welcome if tardy decisions. The book was banned in Germany at the insistence of the kaiser; allegedly, twhen Childers next went sailing in the Baltic, his movements were observed by German spies. In a famous example of life imitating art, two British naval officers, ostensibly on a yachting holiday in 1910, were arrested, imprisoned, and later pardoned in 1913 by the kaiser while surveying the German naval fortifications at Borkum, the largest and westernmost of the East Frisian Islands in the North Sea. One of the accused, Lieutenant Brandon, revealed in evidence that he was an avid reader of The Riddle of the Sands. Literary historian Robert Giddings notes that The Riddle of the Sands “has held a special place in the affections of thriller aficionados and sailing enthusiasts alike.” He marks the novel’s enduring appeal in the “hauntingly atmospheric backdrop of the fogbound seas and treacherous sands of the Frisian Islands,” wrapped up in a “tense and gripping story.” For some critics, The Riddle of the Sands is the first spy thriller that can be considered literature. A continuation of the story of The Riddle of the Sands is provided in Sam Llewellyn’s The Shadow in the Sands (1998), subtitled “Being an account of the cruise of the yacht Gloria in the Frisian Islands in April 1903 and the conclusion of the events described by Erskine Childers.” There had been several plans over the years to film The Riddle of the Sands; the great filmmaker Michael Powell failed on two attempts to get the picture off the ground. Eventually, a film version scripted and directed by Tony Maylam was released in 1979, starring Michael York as Carruthers, Simon MacCorkindale as Davies, and Jenny Agutter as Clara, and proclaiming: “The Classic Spy Thriller of the 20th Century . . . Now a Major Motion Picture.” Appearing seven decades after the novel, the pressing and contemporary story of 1903 is now reconfigured as historical spy fiction, one of a number of period pieces that began to appear in the cinema during the late 1970s, which included The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978) and The Lady Vanishes (1979). After a long search, an old motor cruiser was found; converted from a lifeboat, it was similar to what Childers had sailed at the time of the novel. An all-location picture, shooting took place at Entehuizen, Holland, an unspoiled harbor town that also furnished a period railway, and the boat’s cabin, the setting for many scenes, was mocked up in a local barn. Additional scenes were captured in Greetsiel in Germany and at Frensham Ponds in Surrey. Inclement weather made for a difficult shoot, and the picture, distinguished by the cinematography of Christopher Challis, found little support at the distributor Rank and was allowed to slip by. Reviewers were largely supportive of an old-fashioned adventure that served as suitable family enter-



tainment, and particularly praised the photography and authentic settings. John Pym at Monthly Film Bulletin, although finding the actors playing the English heroes doing their “well-bred best,” warned that “because nobody has taken the trouble to recreate the essential tensions of the period, the whole exercise gives off a musty air which smart production values alone are insufficient to conceal.” Curiously, there was a faithful television serial produced in Germany in 1987 (Das Rätsel der Sandbank), which is surprising as the Germans are unequivocally the enemy in the story. See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. RIMINGTON, DAME STELLA (1935– ). Novelist and former director general of MI5. Rimington was born in south London, studied at Edinburgh and Liverpool Universities, and initially worked as an archivist. Accompanying her diplomat husband to a posting to India in 1967, she gained her first experience in espionage, assisting, as a clerk-typist, one of the first secretaries at the High Commission who was, in fact, the representative in India of the British Security Service (MI5). Returning to London in 1969, Rimington applied for a permanent position at MI5, commencing as a lowly junior assistant officer, later serving in various posts throughout the 1970s as desk officer and agent runner, as assistant director counter-subversion throughout the early 1980s, as director counterespionage from 1986, as director counterterrorism from 1988, as deputy director general in 1991, and finally as director general (DG) between 1992 and 1996. She served during a period of immense change at the Security Service, in the event becoming the first senior MI5 officer openly to visit Moscow (to advise on how to run a Security Service in a democracy), the first DG whose name was publicized on appointment, and, in 1993, the first DG of MI5 to pose openly for cameras at the launch of a brochure outlining the organization’s activities, and the first to present a television lecture, titled “Security and Democracy: Is There a Conflict?” As the first woman DG (indeed, the first female head of any of the world’s leading intelligence or security agencies, and the first female financial controller of a British government department), Rimington had to contend with the inevitable “Housewife Superspy” and “Mother of Two Gets Tough with Terrorists” headlines. After her retirement from MI5 in 1996, Rimington turned to writing her memoirs; only the second DG of the Service to do so after Percy Sillitoe controversially published his Cloak without Dagger in 1955. The autobiography Open Secret (2001) was eagerly awaited, not least for its potential revelations about a woman in a man’s world; however, due to official weeding and the author’s reluctance to confront some touchy issues, the result was found by many to be oblique and frustrating. The noted writer on espionage and intelligence Phillip Knightley claimed, “The importance of this book lies in its publication, not in what it has to say.” Of the process, Rimington has



confessed: “I knew that whatever I wrote, I was going to have to submit for clearance, because those are the rules. And that if I wrote anything too extreme, then it obviously wasn’t going to get cleared. So in a way, all the time I was self-censoring myself; and that made it more difficult perhaps than it would have been for anybody else.” Rimington, an avid reader of detective and espionage fiction, claims to have grown up on Graham Greene and John Buchan; she followed the memoir with a series of high-profile spy thrillers featuring the series agent Liz Carlyle: At Risk (2004), Secret Asset (2006), Illegal Action (2007), Dead Line (2008), Present Danger (2009), Rip Tide (2011), Geneva Trap (2012), and Close Call (2014). These have been appreciated as high points of “21stcentury insider spy fiction,” a form promising a higher proportion of authenticity within the invented story, which includes such American author-spies as Gene Coyle, Thomas F. Murphy, Mike Ramsdell, and T. H. E. Hill. Rimington has also been valued as having made the “decisive breakthrough” for women in the contemporary espionage thriller, alongside such American authors as Gayle Lynds and Francine Mathews. Rimington commented on the difficulties facing women in the Service, the balancing of emotional needs with professional requirements that can involve life and death situations. “All this makes it hard for a person in the covert world to have relaxed social relationships,” Rimington says. “And I think that’s reflected in the descriptions in the book about Liz’s private life: how none of her relationships ever really seem to work out quite well.” As literature, critics, grasping the obvious pun, have tended to regard the novels as “sturdy” rather than “stellar.” Rimington was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath in the New Year Honours List in 1996. She made a fitting appearance in the opening episode of the action series Spooks (2000), where she can be seen briefly in the lobby of Thames House, the headquarters of MI5, and she has recently been seen on television discussing espionage on screen, where she declares a preference for the “realistic” British spy film. A second female DG of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, served between 2002 and 2007. See also SPY AS NOVELIST; SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY; WOMEN AND SPY FICTION. RING OF SPIES. Motion picture. The smashing of the Portland Spy Ring was a sensational news story in 1961 and a welcome success in a period of humiliation and public concern for the security and intelligence services. The Ring was headed by a KGB agent (Konon Trofimovich Molody, the first postwar Soviet “illegal resident” in Britain) posing as Canadian businessman Gordon Lonsdale; a photographic and communications center was established in a house in Ruislip by the American traitors Morris and Lona Cohen posing as antiquarian booksellers Peter and Helen Kroger; and vital naval



secrets were supplied by the Britons Harry Houghton and Ethel Gee who worked at the Admiralty Underwater Weapons Research Establishment at Portland in the south of England. The Russians eagerly sought Western secrets regarding the tracking of Soviet submarines, antisubmarine warfare, and nuclear submarines, and the espionage cell had been operating in Great Britain for five years before its discovery. A contemporary account of the saga described the Portland Spy Ring as “the most successful and extraordinary spy network ever known in Britain.” It was believed by the Admiralty, only much later made public, that the intelligence passed to Moscow provided the Soviet navy with a new and more silent generation of submarines. The story was recounted in the modest film Ring of Spies; released in 1963, it was initially distributed on a double bill with the aging thriller State Secret (1950). The producers had access to unprecedented detail of an actual spy case as the trial at the Old Bailey had unusually been public and plentiful factual material was available in the journalistic accounts Soviet Spy Ring (1961) and Spy Ring: The Full Story of the Naval Secret Case (1961); additionally, the producers claimed to have shot scenes at some of the actual places featured in the events. In the dramatization, Houghton (Bernard Lee) is returned home in disgrace from the British embassy in Warsaw and is reemployed at the Admiralty’s secret establishment at Portland. He is soon contacted by the Polish Secret Service, which blackmails him into providing secrets. Houghton, with the encouragement of Gordon Lonsdale (William Sylvester), secures these through flattering Miss Gee (Margaret Tyzack), who has access to the safe in the Record’s Office. Documents are secured for Lonsdale, who passes them onto the Krogers for transmission to Moscow. Spending freely of his ill-gotten gains, Houghton comes to the attention of the Security Service and is put under surveillance. An intricate police operation unearths the activities of the spy ring, and the principals are arrested and convicted. The picture was released with the tagline “Step by step, the story of the Spy Ring that surprised the world!” The reviewer at Monthly Film Bulletin felt that the picture in its conscientious documentary approach had “the effect of a newspaper serialization, in which facts and times are carefully recorded, but no one has gone very far with speculation about how the people concerned might actually talk and feel”; a view echoed at the Daily Herald moaned that “after Bond, the spies who rocked Britain seem DULL.” The film historian Robert Murphy was more impressed, finding the picture “a splendid apotheosis of the Cold War melodrama,” Houghton and Gee “fascinating, almost tragic figures,” and “the story of how they rationalize away their scruples, overcome their fear, exult in getting the better of their patronizing superiors and then drift into greed and discontent and carelessness, comes to seem like a warning less of the corrupting power of Communism than of the dangers awaiting those who



shed the bonds of conventional morality and assume the amoral attitudes of the classless, materialistic affluent society.” The reviewer at the Guardian, in the wake of a series of spy scandals and failures in British Intelligence, assumed a more cynical stance, judging Ring of Spies “a very romanticized picture of British counter-spying,” and wondered if the British “really were as nimble as this?” The public informational style of the film manifested in the short sequences that bookended the movie. The first provides a potted history of espionage, while the latter calls for vigilance, where the viewer is warned of the continuing threat of Soviet espionage. The main false historical note is the imposition of George Blake into the story. The Soviet mole in MI6, also exposed in 1961, is seen here attempting to warn a Soviet embassy official about the imminent arrests, but he was not involved in the Portland operation. As might be expected, the film fails to be critical regarding the obvious failures in security pertaining to the case, which were raised in the official Romer Report. It had, in fact, not been police diligence that had secured Houghton, but the revelations of the Soviet defector Michal Goleniewski. Houghton later claimed that he was not overly liberal in his spending, and it is possible that his treachery only came to light through the revelations of a Soviet defector—overall, a very poor indictment of British security. Houghton and Gee were sentenced to 15 years in prison and were married on their release in 1970. Lonsdale and the Krogers also received long jail sentences but were later exchanged for British subjects—businessman Greville Wynne and university lecturer Gerald Brooke—held on espionage charges in the Soviet Union. Acting on their notoriety, Harry Houghton later published Operation Portland, the Autobiography of a Spy (1972), and Gordon Lonsdale published Spy, Memoirs of Gordon Lonsdale (1965, actually ghostwritten by Kim Philby under KGB supervision). The immediate neighbors of the Krogers in Ruislip were the subject of Hugh Whitemore’s stage play Pack of Lies (1983), which was adapted for U.S. television in 1987 starring Alan Bates and Ellen Burstyn. The television documentary Strange Neighbours (1991) told the story of the Krogers and included an interview with them in Moscow. See also SPY FICTION AND SPY REALITY; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. ROGUE MALE. Novel and television drama. Rogue Male is a classic adventure story written by Geoffrey Household and first published in 1939. A first-person narrative presented in the form of a “journal,” the story deals with a nameless English gentleman who, for sport, “stalks” an unspecified leader of a totalitarian European power to see if he can evade the tight security and, for professional satisfaction, get the dictator in his sights. Captured, tortured, and cast over a cliff and left for dead, the sportsman manages to crawl away and painfully make his way back to England. Knowing the



chase will not abate, he makes plans to retreat into the English countryside but is forced to kill a foreign agent in the London Underground (London’s underground rapid transit system), adding the police to his list of pursuers. He goes to ground in the remote and quiet county of Dorset but, after some months, is identified in a local post office, and the foreign agents and British police are once again on his trail. Although the hero elaborately lays a false trail, the determined and resourceful foreign agent Major Quive-Smith, equally a huntsman, tracks him to his subterranean lair and imprisons him there, demanding a signed false confession of an attempted act of assassination undertaken with the complicity of the British government. The Rogue Male bides his time, fashions a crude weapon based on a Roman ballista, and kills Quive-Smith. Destroying all evidence of what took place, he then disappears, now planning a genuine assassination of the dictator. Rogue Male is in the tradition of the “hunted man” adventure established with John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), and like the earlier classic, features the “double pursuit” of the hero by the police and by a dangerous foreign agency, and much recourse to field craft and survival. The writing of a journal as the means of narrating the story is the mechanism used for the protagonist’s self-reflection and self-discovery. Under the extreme pressure of entrapment at the hands of Quive-Smith, the narrator is forced to confess that the “sporting stalk” was self-delusion; to accept his true feelings regarding his one real romance, which occurred in the very corner of Dorset to which he has returned; to reveal to the reader the death of this woman at the hands of the repressive regime that pursues him and his desire for revenge; and to confirm his intention to shoot the dictator. The story encompasses strong imagery: of the hero seeking refuge in small, confined spaces, wombs from which he will be reborn (the hold of a ship, the London Underground, a hole in the ground); his reduction to primitive savagery before reemerging with a sense of civilized purpose; of the two distinct worlds of over- and below-ground, representing the protagonist’s reaching into his submerged consciousness for his authentic self; and his bond with a fierce and independent tomcat that is needlessly killed by Quive-Smith. Rogue Male, published shortly before the outbreak of World War II, could also be taken as an allegory for the uncertainties of the international situation of the time; indeed, bringing the conflict expressed at a personal level into the very heart of the English countryside. As the Rogue Male emerges from the ground with a sense of his true nature and purpose he declares he is now “at war.” This could stand effectively for Great Britain in the 1930s and the movement from appeasement to aggression. Rogue Male was filmed in Hollywood as Manhunt (U.S., 1944), directed by Fritz Lang, but this departed significantly from the original story. A more faithful adaptation was produced as a television feature-length drama by the BBC in association with Fox Television in 1976, scripted by the celebrated



Frederic Raphael, directed by the experienced Clive Donner, and starring Peter O’Toole as the hero (here named Sir Robert Hunter) and John Standing as Major Quive-Smith. The largely shot-on-location drama is unequivocal about having Adolf Hitler as the target of the “sporting” stalk (with Raphael framing a subtle accusation against the British for their complacency at the time of the Munich appeasement and their indifference to Nazi Germany) and introduces the revenge aspect early on, presented as fleeting memories and referencing a specifically Jewish fiancée as the motive for Sir Robert’s actions. The director Clive Donner was drawn to the gentleman hero, seeing him as “standing for values much more worthwhile than the brutal, politically and materialistically motivated values of contemporary heroes like James Bond.” The reviewer in The Times felt O’Toole, Raphael, and Donner had perfectly “captured the disciplined extravagance of the original with affection and skill”; the Telegraph stated that they had taken “the essential period flavour of the piece and nurtured it with a love and distinction”; and the Daily Express praised an “elegant adventure yarn.” RUNNING BLIND. Novel and television drama serial. Running Blind is a spy thriller by Desmond Bagley first published in 1970. Former British agent Alan Stewart is coerced into a final operation by Slade, a senior member of the Secret Intelligence Service. A simple courier job delivering a package in Iceland turns into a nightmare adventure as Stewart is doublecrossed and chased by both British and Russian Intelligence across the rugged landscape of the inhospitable far northern island. Stewart soon begins to suspect the manipulative and obnoxious Slade and also finds himself up against the ruthless Russian Kennikin, a former adversary who has a grudge against the Briton. Stewart, in the company of his capable Icelandic girlfriend Elin Ragnarsdottir, is pursued along dangerous mountain tracks; he fords swollen rivers and descends into volcanic craters as he tries to piece together the complex mystery. As he expresses it in the story, it is a case of “Running Blind.” Eventually, Stewart is able to turn the tables and traps Slade in a hotel room where he forces him to confess he is a double agent, only to be captured in turn by Kennikin who has already abducted Elin. The British agent and his girl shoot their way out, killing Kennikin and wounding Slade, but are injured during the escape. It is explained to Stewart in hospital that the package he was to deliver, a complex electronic circuit board, was part of an elaborate deception plan hatched by the Americans in collusion with the British aimed at fooling the Russians into thinking the Western allies had developed remarkable new radar capabilities. Slade, ignorant of the deception, had set up Stewart as the fall guy, planning to acquire the gadget for the Soviets without compromising himself.



The story is told in the first person by Stewart, and this intensifies the mystery and suspense as the reader only learns what is going on from the restricted viewpoint of the hard-pressed British agent. Bagley draws on the recent history of treachery in Great Britain in the 1950s and 1960s and consciously places Slade in the line of traitors listed in the story as “Maclean, Burgess, Philby, Blake, the Krogers, and Lonsdale.” The method adopted by the Soviets in Running Blind of obtaining papers in Finland of a deceased expatriot British youth and thereby acquiring a British identity for Slade is modeled on the “dead double” technique used for the real spy Gordon Lonsdale (Konon Trofimovich Molody). The character of Slade reappeared in Bagley’s following novel The Freedom Trap (1971). Running Blind was faithfully adapted into a three-part television serial produced at BBC Scotland in 1979 and filmed extensively on location in Iceland; it starred Stuart Wilson as Alan Stewart, George Sewell as Slade. and Ragnheiður Steindórsdóttir as Elin Ragnarsdottir. Iceland is an unusual setting for a spy story, and Bagley uses its imposing landscape as a traditional rugged element of a thrilling adventure; glaciers, deep fjords, surging waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes, black sand beaches, and otherworldly steaming lava fields also provide a compelling visual interest for the screen drama. Peter Fiddick, writing in the Guardian, was pleased the serial was made on location but found the story and approach full of clichés, a view echoed at other papers. Running Blind was scripted by Jack Gerson, author of The Ωmega Factor (1979), and he immediately wrote two further espionage serials for BBC Scotland. The Assassination Run (1980) deals with Mark Fraser (Malcolm Stoddard), a retired British agent whose wife Jill (Mary Tamm) is abducted and taken to Spain, where Fraser is confronted by a complex plot involving the KGB and a German terrorist group; surprisingly, Peter Fiddick at the Guardian found this routine series more to his taste. Fraser and his wife returned in The Treachery Game (1981) set in the Dordogne in France, which involves the death of a British scientist and the holidaying Frasers having to go on the run while trying to solve the mystery. Nancy BanksSmith, reviewing in the Guardian and not taken with spy dramas, noted that BBC Scotland was “renowned for its codswallop,” and warned viewers that here “was a particularly fine wallop of cod.” See also TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS.

S SABOTAGE. See THE SECRET AGENT. SALTING THE BATTLEFIELD. See THE WORRICKER TRILOGY. THE SANDBAGGERS. Television drama series. The Sandbaggers, the creation of former career naval officer Ian Mackintosh, was produced at the commercial Yorkshire Television and ran for three successful seasons totaling 20 episodes between 1978 and 1980. The series is centered on a small covert team of troubleshooters within MI6, the Sandbaggers, the “dirty tricks” brigade that undertakes the tougher and more unsavory jobs in the world of secret intelligence. The unit is headed by the austere, uncompromising, and sometimes ruthless Neil Burnside (Roy Marsden), the director of operations of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). With the premise of a special operations section within SIS, one would expect an action-oriented spy show. Against such expectation, The Sandbaggers is at pains to show the routine of the department, the burden of paperwork, office politics, staffing problems, and careerism. Typically, only a short sequence of any episode is devoted to physical deeds and violence; the bulk of the drama takes place behind the scenes in the operations room, in offices, and at meetings where characters have intelligent conversations and arguments. Much of the energy and time of Burnside is spent dealing with inter-service rivalry, the acceptance or rejection of his operations according to party political imperatives, and what he sees as the inertia of an “old boy network” (alumni of a boys’ school). Often, the director of operations has to liaise with Sir Geoffrey Wellingham (Alan MacNaughton), the permanent undersecretary at the Foreign Office, who operates his own personal political and social agenda, and, to make matters more sensitive, is Burnside’s former father-in-law. In contrast with many other dramas and novels, The Sandbaggers shows a very productive partnership between the British and the Americans in terms of intelligence. A cordial and supportive rapport holds between Burnside and Jeff Ross (Bob Sherman) of the Central Intelligence Agency London Station, and the under-resourced British often call on the “special relationship” 329


“SAPPER” (1888–1937)

to help mount operations, acquire information, and extract themselves from mission failures. Relations with other European or North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners are more fraught or hostile, such as with the French (in the episode “Special Relationship,” 1978) and the Norwegians (in the episode “First Principles,” 1978). Something of a cult has grown around The Sandbaggers. At the time of its release on DVD, the New York Times referred to it as simply “the best spy series in television history.” There is also an ongoing mystique attached to the show, relating to the still unexplained disappearance of writer Mackintosh in a plane crash in fair weather in Alaska in July 1979 while scouting locations for The Sandbaggers. Various oddities pertain to the flight, the crash, and subsequent inquiries, and there is speculatation that Mackintosh had served as an intelligence agent and might have been on a covert mission. This possibility has been used to explain the seeming authenticity of the series in which there is much intensity but few thrills, and which some believe could only have been written by an “insider.” Some of the “quirks” of The Sandbaggers include a director of operations who prefers Coca-Cola to liquor, a lead sandbagger who deplores violence, and a complete absence of flashy cars and gadgets. Ian Mackintosh wrote a handful of thriller novels, but A Slaying in September (1967), Count Not the Cost (1967), A Drug Called Power (1968), The Man from Destiny (1969), and The Brave Cannot Yield (1970) are now with some justification forgotten. “SAPPER” (1888–1937). Novelist. “Sapper” was the pseudonym for Herman Cyril McNeile, born in Bodmin, Cornwall, the son of a naval officer, and educated at Cheltenham College and at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He joined the Royal Engineers in 1907 and was awarded a Military Cross during the fighting of World War I. “Sapper” is a term associated with the Royal Engineers and was adopted by McNeile as a pen name as serving British officers were not permitted to publish under their own names. As “Sapper,” McNeile published short war stories in the Daily Mail, and these were issued in successful collections such as The Lieutenant and Others (1915), Sergeant Michael Cassidy, R.E. (1915), Men, Women, and Guns (1916), and No Man’s Land (1917). After the war, “Sapper” retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel onto the reserve officer list and turned to writing thrillers. An unsuccessful novel of 1919, Mufti, introduced the concept of “the Breed,” a class of Englishman who was patriotic, loyal, and “physically and morally intrepid.” The writer retained the concept for his most enduring creation, Captain Hugh “Bulldog” Drummond, DSO, MC—“a fictional extension” of the author himself, some say—a bored, demobilized officer looking for excitement and adventure. “Bulldog” Drummond, who first appeared in a short detective story in The



Strand Magazine, went on to appear in ten full-length novels by McNeile: Bulldog Drummond (1920), The Black Gang (1922), The Third Round (1924), The Final Count (1926), The Female of the Species (1928), Temple Tower (1929), The Return of Bulldog Drummond (1932), KnockOut (1933), Bulldog Drummond at Bay (1935), and Challenge (1937). In these stories, “Bulldog” Drummond and his allies were initially pitted against the evil master villain Carl Peterson and, later, against Irma Peterson, the erstwhile daughter of Carl. Drummond became the archetype of the patriotic gentleman hero of the period but has been much criticized for his xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and vigilante methods. A recent critic judged the stories “violent,” “ultranationalist,” and “absurdly plotted.” However, the figure was popular and enduring, a leading character of British commercial fiction of the middle century, featuring on the stage, radio, and in several Hollywood and British films, and was a major influence on such contemporary popular heroes as W. E. Johns’s Biggles, Sydney Horler’s “Tiger” Standish, and later Ian Fleming’s James Bond. “Sapper” wrote other thrillers and detective stories featuring similar clubland heroes like Jim Maitland and Ronald Standish, although these never found the same favor as “Bulldog” Drummond. McNeile died in 1937, probably from the effects of gassing during the war. He passed on the mantle of writing the Drummond stories to his friend and collaborator Gerald Fairlie, a former soldier and sportsman who maintained some involvement in the secret war of 1939–45, and was possibly a model for Drummond. Fairlie published a further seven titles in the series between 1938 and 1954, with the hero taking on the Nazis in Bulldog Drummond at War (1940) and the Soviets in Hands Off Bulldog Drummond (1949). SCANDAL. Motion picture. The Profumo Affair was a sensational sex and espionage scandal that rocked British society of the early 1960s. The Affair involved a leading Harley Street doctor, Stephen Ward, who had a roving eye for the ladies; a beautiful young exotic dancer, Christine Keeler, and her friend Mandy Rice-Davies; Captain Evgeni Ivanov, a naval attaché at the Russian embassy (and a Soviet Military Intelligence [GRU] agent); and the Right Honourable John Profumo, the minister for war in the Conservative government. Ward introduced Keeler to both Ivanov and Profumo at Cliveden, the ancestral home of Lord Astor, and she entered into affairs with both men. Eventually, the press got onto the story and the scandal broke in spring 1963. The Affair followed in the wake of a series of humiliating revelations concerning national security: the exposure of George Blake (the Soviet spy in MI6) and the Portland Spy Ring both in 1961; the discovery of the navy spy John Vassall in 1962; and the defection of Kim Philby to Russia early in 1963: all of which had been damaging for the government and the Secret Service. Profumo denied in Parliament any impropriety with Keeler and was



eventually caught in a lie. The press made much of the possibility of Profumo being indiscreet in his pillow talk with Keeler, who in turn might pass on secrets to Ivanov. In the words of a contemporary television news report, the Affair brought the British government “to the brink of shabby disaster”; and the social commentator Christopher Booker wrote of “the boundless fantasy . . . in which not only every member of the Government but the entire upper class of England seemed to have been caught up in an orgy of model girls, perversions and fancy dress sexual frolics.” There was some (unfounded) suspicion that the Soviet Intelligence Service had engineered the Profumo Affair to discredit Her Majesty’s government. The film Scandal was produced by Palace Pictures and released in 1989, with crucial funding coming from the American independent Miramax Company. It concentrates on the figure of Stephen Ward (John Hurt), who first notices Keeler (Joanne Whalley-Kilmer) in an exotic revue in Soho, London, in 1959. Keeler moves into Ward’s mews house, and he introduces her to the high life of swimming parties at Cliveden, as well as the seedier side of the social scene such as sex parties and dope smoking. In Ward’s home, she sleeps with Ivanov (Jeroen Krabbe) from time to time, as she does with Profumo (Ian McKellan), with whom she starts a more serious affair. Trouble between Keeler and a West Indian boyfriend culminates in a shooting incident outside of the mews house. Alarmed by her increasingly wayward behavior, Ward drops Keeler, and she responds by telling her story to the press. Ivanov returns to Russia, Profumo is eventually forced to resign, and Ward is abandoned by his influential social circle. Needing a scapegoat, the Conservative Party elite, British Intelligence and the police serve up Ward as the sacrificial lamb, and he is prosecuted for living off immoral earnings. The disgraced doctor takes a fatal overdose of barbiturates on the eve of the court’s expected verdict of guilty. One of the taglines for the film read, “In 1960 Christine Keeler met Mandy Rice-Davies. Three years later they brought down the British Government.” Scandal was one of a series of retro-inspired films of the time that took as their subject the hypocrisies of British justice, upper-class sexual profligacy, and the seedier side of the underworld; other examples are Dance with a Stranger (1985), White Mischief and Personal Services (both 1987), The Krays (1990), and Let Him Have It (1992). Scandal had originally been proposed as a television drama, but both the BBC and Channel 4 declined such an incendiary subject. The film was immediately appreciated as providing a historical message relevant to its own time, one characterized by the “new Puritanism” and yuppie hedonism of the late 1980s. Thatcherism had also witnessed its own spy scandal with the “Spycatcher Affair” and its own share of sleaze and corruption. The respected critic Alexander Walker found the film “intriguing and instructive for the bizarrely close parallel it draws between 1963 and 1989.” “Both eras,” he observed, “had a Tory government



fast losing popularity and showing the strain of long office. . . . Scandal won’t take anyone’s breath away nowadays. But it will take many of us revealingly back to the way we were and, for all purposes of political and moral expediency, the way we still are.” Scandal was also significant in its sympathy for Stephen Ward and its critique of the establishment, following an emerging historiographical trend as witnessed by An Affair of State: The Profumo Case and the Framing of Stephen Ward (1987). The Profumo scandal was also the subject of the low-budget exploitation film The Keeler Affair (Den, 1963). This was quickly, cheaply, and safely produced in Denmark to take advantage of the intense interest in the recent events and briefly involved the two women at the heart of the scandal: Keeler provided a filmed introduction to the picture, while Mandy Rice-Davies appeared as a showgirl in a clubroom scene. The narrative is organized as the guilt-induced dream of Keeler (Yvonne Buckingham) in which she is examined by an overbearing judge, and this allows for a quite stylized treatment in certain scenes. In classic exploitation fashion, The Keeler Affair salaciously runs through the notorious activities that had so enthralled the British public: wild drinking, dope-smoking in low dives, impromptu stripteases, daring towel parties, and shootings involving jealous boyfriends—all the while hypocritically maintaining a cautionary morality. The film was rejected by the British Board of Film Censors and therefore denied legitimate screenings in Great Britain. The censorship was briefly challenged in 1971 when the New Cinema Club in London programmed the picture in its “Forbidden Film Festival.” The organizer, Derek Hill, acknowledged The Keeler Affair “as undoubtedly the worst film they have ever shown,” but forged ahead anyhow to confront a blatant act of political censorship. The political and moral corruption of the early 1960s is the setting for the novel A Little White Death (1998) by John Lawton, and aspects of the Profumo Affair have featured in the stage drama A Letter of Resignation (1997) by Hugh Whitemore and the musical Stephen Ward (2013) by Andrew Lloyd Webber. See also HISTORICAL SPY FICTION; TREASON, TREACHERY, AND SCANDALS. THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. Novels, motion pictures, and television drama series. The Scarlet Pimpernel is the most enduring character of historical spy fiction. A creation of Baroness Emma Orczy, he appeared in a play first performed in 1903 and in a novel published in 1905. There were 10 further novels between 1906 and 1940, collections of short stories in 1919 and 1929, and various related novels featuring relatives of the Pimpernel or purporting to be biographical works. There were numerous movie and television adaptations, commencing with an American silent film of 1917 and including a prestigious British television series broadcast in 1999 and 2000, and numerous parodic allusions to the character appeared in other works,



most notably perhaps the character of The Black Fingernail in the British spoof Don’t Lose Your Head (1966), one of the long-running series of Carry On comedy films. The basic story of the Pimpernel adventures involves the seemingly foppish Sir Percy Blakeney secretly leading a band of English aristocrats as the Scarlet Pimpernel in the rescue of their French counterparts in the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. Pitted against the Pimpernel is Citizen Chauvelin, a ruthless protector of the Revolution. A number of historical individuals appear in the stories, such as Robespierre, Danton, Marat, and Saint-Just. The Scarlet Pimpernel, a “device drawn in red—a little starshaped flower,” is used in the stories as the sign of the secret organization formed to save the lives of French aristocrats. The Pimpernel has been played on screen in Great Britain by Leslie Howard in the classic film The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934), by Barry K. Barnes in the film Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1937), by David Niven in the film The Elusive Pimpernel (1950), by Marius Goring in the television series The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1956), by Anthony Andrews in the television movie The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982), and by Richard E. Grant in the television series The Scarlet Pimpernel (1999–2000). Pimpernel Smith (1941) was an updating of the essential story to World War II, and here Smith, played appropriately by Leslie Howard, is a British professor who, with help from his students, spirits anti-Nazis out of Germany. Sir Percy Blakeney/The Scarlet Pimpernel is the original hero with a secret identity and has been followed by such characters of popular fiction as Don Diego de la Vega/Zorro, Bruce Wayne/Batman, Clark Kent/Superman, and Peter Parker/Spiderman. The idea of an upper-class masculine hero leading a band of brothers in virtuous action was later emulated in the characterizations of “Bulldog” Drummond and the Brotherhood. SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS. Novel and television drama serial. Scotch on the Rocks is a political thriller dealing with a revolt in Scotland seeking home rule away from England. It was written by Douglas Hurd and Andrew Osmond, the third novel in a loose trilogy that began with Send Him Victorious (1968), set against the political rumpus caused by the declaration of independence in Rhodesia, and The Smile on the Face of the Tiger (1969), which deals with a Chinese plot to reclaim Hong Kong. The story is set in the near future: Great Britain is ruled by a king, and in a recent general election, the leading party, the Conservatives, has no overall majority and must seek a coalition. The Scottish National Party has won the largest number of seats in Scotland but also has no overall majority. MI5 are in Glasgow and working in tandem with the local Special Branch to unearth the conspiracy. MacNair, a mercenary and explosives specialist, has been infiltrated into the Scottish Liberation Army (SLA) in an attempt to discover the intentions of the plot-



ters. The leaders of the Conservative and Scottish Nationalist parties agree to a formula for peace and a degree of autonomy for Scotland; however, extremists in the movement promote direct action and terrorism in furtherance of complete independence, and an armed insurrection is mounted around Fort William in the Highlands, which attracts many supporters to its banner. Politicians at Westminster are prepared to pull out of Scotland, but the prime minister holds steady and is eventually able to act on secret information supplied by MacNair that French communists are providing the SLA with arms and money, and popular support for the rebellion is withdrawn. The novel ends on the unexpected note of seeming Dominion status for Scotland and the swearing in of a Scottish prime minister. The novel was written in the late 1960s, but, a controversial subject, it didn’t make it into print until 1971. Scotch on the Rocks was adapted for television as a five-part serial by James MacTaggart at BBC Scotland and broadcast in 1973. With a background of nationalist “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, the screening caused a stir, and the broadcaster promised at the time never to screen the drama again. It was believed for a long period that the serial had been wiped, but it was revealed in 2012 that the master tapes are held in the archives of BBC Scotland. The story had enraged the Scottish National Party (SNP), which objected to the notion that the SNP would associate itself with a violent Scottish Liberation Army, and the Scottish National Party made a formal complaint to the BBC. Interviewed in 1973, Douglas Hurd admitted that “I was a bit afraid that the book might have caused some alarm, but in fact it didn’t.” He was wrong in adding: “I very much doubt if the television play will prove disturbing.” The two Englishmen Douglas Hurd and Andrew Osmond met at the Foreign Office in the 1960s. Hurd went onto a distinguished service in the Conservative Party, serving as both home and foreign secretary. Osmond was associated in a variety of ways with the satirical magazine Private Eye and pursued a career as a journalist and novelist. Hurd and Osmond collaborated again on the political novel War without Frontiers (1982). Scotch on the Rocks is an early indication of fears surfacing regarding subversion, which would dominate national security concerns in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s, and its theme is once again pertinent considering recent political history in Scotland and the rapid rise of nationalism. The Scottish diplomat Michael Shea, writing as Michael Sinclair, also published two thrillers in the early 1970s that dealt with Scottish nationalism, Folio Forty One (1972) and The Dollar Covenant (1973). SEBASTIAN. Motion picture. Sebastian, released in 1968, was one of a rash of modish spy films produced within the British film industry in the late 1960s. Like many of its contemporaries, it was financed by a Hollywood studio, in this case Paramount Pictures. The film, directed by David Greene,



stars Dirk Bogarde as the titular cryptologist who serves as head of the decoding center of British Intelligence. The center is staffed by brilliant young women with agile minds, and the latest recruit is Becky Howard (Susannah York), who commences a love-hate affair with the fascinating Sebastian. Meanwhile, the center’s senior decoder, Elsa Shahn (Lilli Palmer) a peace monger, is caught betraying secrets to a left-wing politician and is dismissed. The increasingly jaded Sebastian quits, drops Miss Howard, and returns to the tranquility of academia at Oxford University. Sebastian returns temporarily to the center as he is needed to decipher a series of confounding communications signals transmitted from a new Soviet satellite, and the worried communists lay a trap for him. Fed LSD and led to the edge of a high building, Sebastian is saved at the last minute by British security. He belatedly visits Becky and discovers she has given birth to his son. It is while playing with the infant’s rattle and listening to its particular beat that the solution to the Soviet code comes to him. Becky is both infuriated and delighted at the mathematician’s idiosyncratic behavior and return. The film was based on an idea by Leo Marks who had been a wartime cryptographer, heading the codes section supporting resistance agents in occupied Europe for the secretive Special Operations Executive. In this role, he had observed the labors of numerous women in the task of dealing with large quantities of agent code. The experience stuck with him and reemerged two decades later in the idea for Sebastian. The film was released with the teasing, very 1960s tagline “Nobody knows what he does . . . just that he has 100 girls to do it with!” Part of the fascination of the film is its blend of modern and traditional. The U.S. Army jeep-driving, discotheque-dancing, fashionable Becky represents youth, fun, and progressiveness, while dark suit–clad, old school tie–wearing, umbrella-carrying Sebastian stands for maturity and respectability. The contrasts are maintained through distinctions in music styles. Becky is associated with the twangy and fuzzy sounds of contemporary pop, while Sebastian listens to the elegant and structured compositions of the classical baroque. Similarly, architecture is configured to heighten modernity through depicting a London of skyscrapers, concrete, and glass—a world of fashionable youth and high-tech intelligence. Alternatively, Sebastian is coupled with the dreamy spires of Oxford and lives in a faded Edwardian villa. The union of these two poles, the modern and the traditional, was a problem that Great Britain worked through in the 1960s, a decade that sought to embrace the “White Heat of Technology.” Sebastian—with its trendy young women, computers, modern electronic sounds, stuffy British Intelligence, ancient university, and venerable gentleman’s club—proposed an imaginative integration of the seemingly irreconcilable. A mark of the film’s up-to-dateness is the reference to the recent break out from prison by the traitor George Blake: the Soviet signals traffic relating to the escape is the first task we see the decoders take on.



Critics tended to find the picture undecided: “Not quite a comedy, not exactly a human drama, not a spoof or a send-up,” however, “Entertaining— now that it certainly is.” Monthly Film Bulletin, more certain, found the film visually interesting but stated that the original promise was lost to “a string of anti-heroic platitudes and a scrappily engineered conclusion.” The reviewer continued in a critical vein, disappointed that “ideas which begin to look interestingly enigmatic soon resolve themselves into spy thriller conventions.” Film historian Robert Murphy is more generous and suggests that Sebastian, despite the 1960s trappings, shares “thematic concerns with the films of the Le Carré school.” As he argues, “Sebastian himself is patriotic but weary and disillusioned”; just like le Carré’s Leamas, Avery, and Dobbs, he is “acutely conscious of the emotional damage caused by a lifetime’s devotion to espionage.” These opposing views simply confirm that Sebastian is a film of two styles, the hip and the traditional, and therefore intriguingly straddles the two dominant schools of spy fiction in the period, that of the spy thriller and the espionage story. Director David Greene later made the fanciful Madame Sin (1972) with the legendary Bette Davis as the Fu Manchu–like supervillainess who plots to steal a Polaris submarine. THE SECRET AGENT. Novel, motion pictures, and television drama serial. The Secret Agent, subtitled A Simple Tale, is a landmark story by the great novelist Joseph Conrad. The story is set in 1886 and centers on the indolent Adolf Verloc, an agent provocateur for a European power and associate of a group of anarchists and terrorists. Verloc, who owns a seedy shop selling pornography, is ordered to carry out a terrorist outrage by his political employer, which is intended to lead to suppression of émigré radicals by the British authorities. A bombing is arranged, and it is later revealed that Stevie, the beloved young brother of Winnie Verloc (Adolf Verloc’s wife), was killed at the accident, Adolf having exploited the childlike simplicity of the half-witted Stevie. In despair, Winnie stabs Adolf to death, and when her savings are stolen by the manipulative seducer Comrade Ossipon, she drowns herself in the English Channel. The narrative is constructed in a broken chronology, and the reader is allowed to comprehend the tragedy of the bombing before the characters do. In 1894, the French anarchist Martial Bourdin died gruesomely when he blew himself up in Greenwich Park with explosives possibly intended for the Greenwich Observatory. Discussing this incident, Conrad was struck by the observations of Ford Madox Ford: “Oh, that fellow was half an idiot. His sister committed suicide afterwards,” and the germ of the idea for The Secret Agent was born. The major themes of the novel are terrorism and extremist politics, and there had been numerous dynamite outrages on mainland Britain in years leading up to the setting of the story: attacks on local government offices in Whitehall, on The Times offices, and on the London Underground



(London’s underground rapid transit system) near Charing Cross in 1883; on the original Scotland Yard, on the Nelson Monument, on London Bridge, and on the Underground again at Victoria in 1884; and on the Houses of Parliament, on Westminster Hall, on the Tower of London, and yet again on the unfortunate Underground near Gower Street in 1885. The novel did not sell particularly well but attracted generally favorable reviews; although, for some conservative tastes, the story was “indecent.” Master spy novelist Eric Ambler later referred to The Secret Agent as “the first attempt by a major novelist to deal realistically with the secret war, with the sub-world of conspiracy, sabotage, double-dealing and betrayal, the existence of which had for so long been denied.” Over time, The Secret Agent has come to be seen as one of Conrad’s masterpieces, an artistic achievement of the first rank, and one of the very greatest novels of terrorism. According to two admiring Conrad scholars, “In its irony and symbolism, its realism, its conjunction of the mainstream novel and the detective story, The Secret Agent may well be the modern novel, where every word counts and reverberates not only through the entire novel but in our very consciousness.” Hugh Herbert, writing in the Guardian in 1983, caught some of the novel’s special qualities: “Conrad’s concern is not espionage itself but an ironic examination of the use of violence and of criminality generally for political purposes, of means and ends. Verloc is a secret agent at several levels. He is a back street pornographer, a spy for a foreign embassy, a familiar of revolutionaries and not above giving Chief Inspector Heat useful hints in re