|Posted by Vladimir Mortsgna on August 7, 2016 at 10:15 PM|
#9: The Spy who came in from the Cold by John Le Carre. As with a number of the other authors on my list, Le Carre's work might seem to traffic in cliches but they werent cliches before he invented them. Specifically I am thinking of the double-cross and the triple-cross. I have read novels where this is done to perfection (e.g., The Quiller Memorandum which won the Edgar shortly after The Spy who Came in from the Cold, with the superb and hilarious The Light of Day in-between (the basis of the movie Topkapi). More often, I have read novels where it is done ineptly. But there were so many crosses in The Spy who Came in from the Cold that I lost track of how many. It's a crackling read, a real page-turner, and unusually poignant for a crime novel. This is a litle bit of a spoiler alert, but basically this is a tale of a man who was the perfect man for a dirty and dangerous job because he has no life and nothing to lose. He agrees, and allows his spy agency employers to disgrace him and ruin his life to make it believable that he would want to defect - so he can become a useful spy again as a defector in East Germany. But the reader sees with a sick foreboding that disaster is inexorably approaching - in the form of what he was missing - someone to live for.
Richard Burton was in a movie version but the movie services don't seem to have it in stock - get some more copies, streaming services!
Categories: Vladimir's Top 20 Mysteries