London Match by Len Deighton

London Match cover

London Match by Len Deighton was first published in 1985 and it’s the third book featuring Bernard Samson and the various other ‘civil servants’ who were engaged in spying or spy spotting in London and West Berlin during the Cold War era.

As you would expect, nothing can be taken at face value, leaks in the department mean that just about everybody is under suspicion of being a double agent. At the same time there’s a lot going on in the way of office politics and back stabbing and Bernard believes his children are in danger of being snatched.

At 405 pages you would think that this wouldn’t be a quick read but it didn’t take me long (mind you the bad weather might have had a hand in that!) and I find Deighton’s writing to be really good and surprisingly descriptive, something that I appreciate. I’ll definitely be reading the next one in this series which is Spy Hook.

Len Deighton seems to be one of those talented people who have successes in many different arts, that’s always impressive, and slightly annoying of course!

London Match was one of my 20 Books of Summer.

The Mask of Glass by Holly Roth

The Mask of Glass cover

Holly Roth was an American writer and The Mask of Glass was first published by Penguin in 1957. It’s very much a product of the times but a great read all the same.

Young Jimmy Kennemore is working in the US Army’s Counter- Intelligence Corps. It’s his dream job. His work hours are flexible, he gets a great allowance for clothes and living expenses and each week he is given an assignment in a briefing session in Manhattan.

When he’s given the task of tracking down a deserter from the US Army, Sergeant John Antonio Viola, he begins by visiting Viola’s old school in the hope of being able to interview some of Viola’s old schoolfriends.

This leads to Kennemore stumbling into a situation which even he can’t quite believe, involving high flying military leaders and politicians.

This is a thriller rather than a murder mystery and it reflects what was going on at the time in McCarthy’s America. There was a lot of paranoia although to be fair it was fuelled by a few spies such as Alger Hiss, Klaus Fuchs and the Rosenbergs who had been caught passing on information to the USSR. I do enjoy a blast back to the Cold War era now and again. It makes me feel quite nostalgic!

Sadly, in 1964 Holly Roth fell off a small yacht when she was sailing in the Mediterranean and her body was never found. This is the second book by Holly Roth which I’ve read, the first one being The Content Assignment which I liked but I think I preferred this one.