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From Award Winning Editor Bill Pronzini Comes The Mammoth Book Of Short Spy Novels A Classic Book Updated For Spymasters Thirteen Outstanding Spy And Espionage Novellas, Complete And Unabridged, Are Gathered Here In One Terrific Volume They Represent A Specially Chosen Collection From The Most Accomplished Writers In The Field, Including W Somerset Maugham On Ashenden, His Operative In World War I And Ian Fleming OnIn The Caribbean, As Well As Leslie Charteris, Erle Stanley Gardner, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, And John Jakes, Among Others These Works Span Than Seventy Five Years Of Espionage Writing In The United States And England, And Feature Secret Agents, Counterspies, And Double Agents In Settings From Japan To The Former Eastern Bloc, And From World War I Onward

10 thoughts on “The Mammoth Book of Short Spy Novels

  1. says:

    The Mammoth Book of Short Spy Novels edited by Bill Pronzini Martin H GreenbergThis collection of twelve previously published spy and espionage novellas are set in a wide variety of settings and times Written over a 75 year period, you can see the development of the genre 3.5 out of 5 overall rating of this collection The Adventure of the Bruce Partington Plans by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Part of the Sherlock Holmes series Sherlock s brother, Mycroft Holmes, needs help with the mysterious death of a government employee who was in possession of important government documents, three essential pages of which are missing I ve always had a soft spot for Mycroft Holmes, a man brilliant than his younger brother, but a man who prefered to help direct the British government from his office or his club rather than running about London In this small tale, we can scent the approaching winds of war as everyone is scrambling to find the top secret submarine plans 3.5 out of 5 The Traitor by W Somerset Maugham When R put Ashenden in charge of their assets in Switzerland, he held up Gustav as an example of the type of intelligence reporting they wanted But it isn t long before R become suspicious and sends Ashenden to find out the truth That leads to another spy, this one a traitor to his own country I ve never read any Maugham before, so I wasn t certain of his style Oh, but this tale The author gives the characters such depth and dimension As Ashenden himself states, people are not just black and white, good or bad There are so many shades of gray Despite their actions, I felt sorry for the Caypors 4.5 out of 5 Tokyo 1941 by Cornell Woolrich John Lyons enjoyed his life in Japan, even if his wife Ruth didn t He drank too much, whored around, and did some spying The thread of the blue diamond and the bad luck of everyone who possessed it previously was an interesting touch, presumably based on the alleged history of the Hope Diamond Lyons was a despicable character throughout until the end The one I felt most sorry for was the wife, an innocent caught up in her husband s machinations and the Japanese police state 3.5 out of 5 The Sizzling Saboteur aka The Saint and the Sizzling Saboteur by Leslie Charteris Taking a back road while on his way to Galveston, Texas, Simon Templar comes across what he first thought was a burning log in the middle of the road It isn t soon before the Saint is hard at work to discover exactly who the victim was and who could have wanted him dead is such a horrible manner My father was a huge fan of the Saint books, but by the time I was old enough to read, they were mostly out of print All I could do was watch Roger Moore, the best Saint since George Sanders, on television This story is set during World War II, after Germany tried to invade Russia We re given the snarkiness, the smoothness, and the way Charteris had of inviting the audience in on the joke I do so wish the books were brought back in their entirety rather than just the same five that are constantly reprinted 4 out of 5 The Danger Zone by Erle Stanley Gardner Major Copely Brane, soldier of fortune, is forcibly hired to find kidnapped Jee Kit King Jee had been spying on Mah Bak Heng, looking for proof that he was delaying peace talks in China The author, better known for his Perry Mason books, has attempted a story in the style of James Bond or Simon Templar While an interesting look at Chinatown in San Francisco with surprisingly little derogative narration considering the time it was written in, Brane just doesn t have that debonair air about him Sadly something went horribly wrong with the editing and compilation in the middle of this story with another tale seemingly jammed in I don t think much was missing, but it still didn t help with the flow of the story during one of the intense parts 3.5 out of 5 Betrayed by John D MacDonald After the death of her Army soldier husband, Francie Aintrell fled the memories of Washington D C to take a top secret job in rural New York She makes new friends, but that might not turn out well at all Loved this one A strong female lead who, despite there being a potential love interest present, stood up for herself and didn t really need him to rescue her Intrigue, romance, exciting plot, all in one fascinating story 4 out of 5 Deep Sleep by Bruce Cassiday Mario Rimini is kidnapped as leverage to force his twin sister Paula to turn over a top secret knockout formula It is up to Peter Baron and his friends to retrieve the formula once Mario and Paula are safe Kind of a low rent Simon Templar, but still a decent read The villain of the piece was like those in James Bond or Doc Savage cranked up No, like in Batman or Dick Tracy 3.5 out of 5 The People of the Peacock by Edward D Hoch Small town police captain Leopold is visited by CIA representative Jim Saunter after the apparent suicide death of Walter Moon, another of the CIA s investigators Moon had been in town searching for a retired enemy spy Very interesting in that the author doesn t go for the simple black and white with his characters and their actions A few too many red herrings could have the reader going quietly nuts, but does mess up the suspect pool quite a bit 3.5 out of 5 Dr Sweetkill by John Jakes Freelance agent Nick Lamont was not currently in favor with British Intelligence after Arthur Tenderly s death in Gibraltar But a suicide mission with his name on it soon has Nick and an associate trying to destroy Dr Sweetkill s laboratory Once again we have a low budget James Bond like story with spies, girls, and strange villains There are some good scenes, but also some blatant caricatures I did find interesting Nick s anger issues, particularly when he drinks It was okay, but nothing great 3 out of 5 The Giggle Wrecker by Peter O Donnell Minister of Defense Waverly has ordered Sir Geral Tarrant to get a defecting scientist out of East Germany, even if he must activate their sleeper cell When Tarrant refuses, Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin step in to save the day as well as Tarrant s job I adore the Modesty Blaise books They are funny and inventive, but still raw and violent at times What particularly attracted me from the first was the relationship between Willie and his Princess It is not sexual in anyway They are best friends and partners, a closer relationship than that of lovers This shorter tale shows all the best of a Blaise and Garvin adventure 4.5 out of 5 The Spoilers by Michael Gilbert Mr Behrens and Mr Calder are brought in to investigate the increasing number of government officials who have suddenly resigned and who died by suicide I ve long heard of Behrens and Calder, but had never read any of the stories before Quite interesting, the strong characterization as well as the glimpse into how the two men work and live made me want to read A super strong female with the ability to rescue herself was icing on the fictional cake 4 out of 5 Octopussy by Ian Fleming Crimes from the end of World War II have come back to demand justice from retired Major Dexter Smythe, courtesy of James Bond Smythe has just one task to complete before he must decide whether to take the gentleman s exit Very little Bond in this one Definitely no sexy women or super villains, just one sad and lonely man already facing death due to a bad heart 4 out of 5.

  2. says:

    The Bruce Partington plans by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 3.5 5The traitor by W Somerset Maugham 4.5 5Tokyo,1941 by Cornell Woolrich 3.5 5The Sizzling Saboteur Lee Charteris 3.5 5The danger zone by Erle Stanley Gardner 4 5Betrayed by John D Mcdonald 5 5Deep Sleep by Bruce Cassidy 3.5 5The People of the peacock by Edward D Hoch 4.5 5Dr Sweetkill by John Jakes 3 5The Giggle Wrecker by Peter O Donell 3 5The spoilers by Michael Gilbert 3.5 5Octopussy by Ian Fleming 3 5 Although i my opinion Octopussy doesn t really falls in the category of spy novels There was as such no espionage done here.I would definitely be looking forward to reading other works by these authors.

  3. says:

    13 short novels spanning than 500 pages Most are OLD Like pre Cold War old, so if that is the type of espionage reading that keeps you awake on the beach then this is not the collection for you Age is the only common factor however The stories span about 100 years and take us to Japan, East Germany, Russia, France, England and America and include such icons as Sherlock Holmes and James Bond.

  4. says:

    Good mysteries and spy stories Thoroughly enjoyed it.