John le Carré, the most prominent spy novelist of the 20th century, wrote a letter to The Telegraph yesterday about the spy who inspired his character George Smiley. Le Carré has written 23 books, but his most famous novels feature the MI6 agent George Smiley (portrayed by Gary Oldman in the film version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.) Before he began writing full time, John le Carré worked as an intelligence officer himself for MI5 and MI6, where he became friends with John Bingham. The late Bingham was recently featured in a Telegraph article detailing his success at neutralizing British Nazi sympathizers during WWII. Bingham was a dedicated intelligence officer who was apparently burning with British nationalism. Someone wrote a response accusing Le Carré of “disrespecting” Bingham by writing him into books that portrayed the intelligence service as fallible and corrupt. So Le Carré — who is 82 years old and showing no sign of slowing down — penned his own reply to The Telegraph and said that friendship aside, he and Bingham were of two different minds on what it means to serve your country. “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 examined,” he wrote. “And that, without such vigilance, our Secret Services could in certain circumstances become as much of a peril to our democracy as their supposed enemies. John Bingham may indeed have detested this notion. I equally detest the notion that our spies are uniformly immaculate, omniscient and beyond the vulgar criticism of those who not only pay for their existence, but on occasion are taken to war on the strength of concocted intelligence.” Interesting thoughts when you consider our current situation with rampant and seemingly unrestricted NSA surveillance…
Tag: Mystery (1-5 of 5)
It’s been 38 long years since eccentric detective Hercule Poirot last starred in his very own page-turner — and 37 years since Poirot’s storied creator, Agatha Christie, died
under mysterious circumstances of natural causes. But that won’t stop HarperCollins imprint William Morrow from publishing a brand-new Poirot next fall — one that “will feature Hercule Poirot in a diabolically clever murder mystery sure to baffle and delight Christie’s fans, and those who have never read her work,” in the words of a press release.
Best-selling British author Sophie Hannah (The Carrier; Kind of Cruel) has stepped into Christie’s formidable shoes to pen the upcoming novel, which has been fully authorized by the Christie estate. “It is almost impossible to put into words how honored I am to have been entrusted with this amazing project — in fact, I still can’t quite believe that this is really happening! I hope to create a puzzle that will confound and frustrate the incomparable Hercule Poirot for at least a good few chapters,” she said in a statement.
The novel will be published worldwide in September 2014. In the meantime, let’s speculate about what to expect — and wonder whatever happened to Disney’s proposed Miss Marple movie, starring Jennifer Garner.
Barbara Mertz, a best-selling mystery writer who wrote dozens of novels under two pen names, has died. She was 85.
Mertz died Thursday morning at her home, in Frederick, Md., her daughter Elizabeth told her publisher HarperCollins.
Mertz wrote more than 35 mysteries under the name Elizabeth Peters, including her most popular series about a daring Victorian archaeologist named Amelia Peabody. She also wrote 29 suspense novels under the pen name Barbara Michaels, and under her own name, she wrote nonfiction books about ancient Egypt.
Born Barbara Louise Gross, Mertz grew up in small-town Illinois during the Depression and went to the University of Chicago on scholarship, where she wrote on her website, “I was supposed to be preparing myself to teach — a nice, sensible career for a woman.”
But her true love was archaeology, and she soon found herself drawn to the department of Egyptology. She received a Ph.D. at the age of 23.
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Beloved Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is no slacker. Less that a year after publishing her first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, she rushed out a mystery novel called The Cuckoo’s Calling. But unlike the much-hyped Vacancy, she published The Cuckoo’s Calling this spring under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith — a secret that has only just come to light this weekend.
In a statement to The Sunday Times of London, which followed up an anonymous tip with some literary sleuthing, Rowling fessed up that she is indeed Galbraith: “I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”
Despite some sterling reviews (Publisher’s Weekly declared it a “stellar debut”), the book has barely made a sales ripple either in the U.K. or the U.S. It was published stateside in late April by Muholland Books, a three-year-old imprint of Little, Brown (which released The Casual Vacancy). One expects sales to explode now that Rowling has been revealed as the true author.
The Cuckoo’s Calling introduces a London private investigator named Cormoran Strike, an Afghanistan war veteran with an artificial lower leg, and his inquisitive office temp, Robin Ellacott, as they look into the supposed suicide of a high-profile supermodel named Lula Landry. One thing is certain: Strikingly original character names continue to be a Rowling hallmark.
Little, Brown publisher Reagan Arthur said in a statement that the company is planning to reprint the book with a revised author biography that reads: “Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling.” In addition, she announced, “We are really looking forward to publishing the second book in the Strike series next summer.”
Follow Thom on Twitter: @Thom Geier
Last night, many of the country’s most famous mystery writers dressed to kill for the 2013 Edgar Awards, which honored the best writing in the crime genre of last year. Veteran Dennis Lehane and newcomer Chris Pavone won some of the biggest honors. Take a look at the full list of nominees and winners below: READ FULL STORY
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