Guilt-Edged, UK First Edition, 1975
Subject of the book
Merlin Minshall was a member of the special branch of the British Naval Intelligence during the war, and is quite a character. Minshall worked for Ian Fleming throughout the Second World War being involved in espionage and as a result of his exploits it is claimed by some that he was the inspiration for James Bond. Minshall was unwittingly sucked into the world of Nazi espionage during an innocent sailing trip, he was seduced by a lovely but lethal German agent and met Field Marshall Göring face to face.
He was the first man to cross the Sahara on a motorcycle and while travelling through the Congo, he accidentally discovered a secret German army! Romania set the scene for the height of espionage activity - when he single handedly pirated a ship from under Nazi eyes and blew up a vital link in German tanker communications. The book is full of such stories that initially sound unbelievable but, the more you about the man, eminently true.
Minshall had become a friend of Deighton's and regularly told him fantastic stories over dinner of his exploits - frequently unbvelievable, but nevertheless true. Deighton encouraged him to seek a publisher and gave him guidance and encouragement with the text. It is a short foreword, but what comes across is Deighton's admiration for his friend.
'Whatever this man does, is done with energy and determination. Merlin Minshall professional photographer has had his photos published in many newspapers and magazines. His most notorious sitter was Hermann Goering. Minshall's motor racing career culminated in him receiving the Foreign Challenge Trophy from the hands of Mussolini after winning it in what was, at that time, the longest motor race in the world. When recently I was talking to him about my journey in the Sahara desert, he told me that he was the first person to cross it on a motorcycle.'