Thursday, October 8, 2015


The second book in the "Karla" trilogy and this must be the 5th or 6th time I've read it and even though I know the story back to front there's still something new every time.

The "Circus" is in turmoil after Bill Haydon was discovered to be a Soviet agent in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy", Smiley is the temporary head and sets out to uncover a sleeper agent in Hong Kong.

To assist he activates part time agent ,The Honourable Gerald 'Jerry' Westerby.

From here we have a story set in South East Asia  during the last days of the Vietnam War and the back rooms of London.

This story is often over looked as a real Smiley novel with many jumping to Smileys People, but I think its one of the best, certainly the saddest.  You don't have to have had read the previous book  as this stands alone but you should.

In fact if you are over 12 years of age you should have read the series. Brilliant 11/10.

DON'T TELL ALFRED - Nancy Mitford

This is the third book in the Fanny Logan "series" following "Love in a Cold Climate" and "The Pursuit of Love" and its one book too far.

Where the first two were full of quirky characters and poked fun at the UK upper classes this one has none of this.

Fanny is still married and her husband out of the blue is posted to Paris as the British Ambassador. The book revolves around events during this ambassadorship.  There's smiles but no belly laughs, characters appear from the previous books but it is all a bit lame.

This was very hard work and not recommended especially if you loved the first two novels like I did.

MR CALDER & MR BEHRENS - Michael Gilbert

Another re-read featuring the two retired MI 6 spies who now work for a shadowy intelligence section which involves them disposing of enemies of the state.

This collection of short stories is brilliant. Gilbert only wrote the two collections which is a shame. They are much better than the Ashenden stories and have lots of humour.

I've never seen them in book form in New Zealand, I got the books on Kindle but they are available on Amazon.

Money well spent.  They deserve the re-read every few years

GAME WITHOUT RULES - Michael Gilbert

A re-read featuring the retired spies Calder & Behrens.

The kill and solve problems with much humour.  These will get read again and again.