The books

A comprehensive review of books Deighton's written or contributed to

Len Deighton is one of the UK's most prolific writers, and not just in the field of spy and thriller fiction for which he is best known. He is also an expert in number of fields outside literature, including philately, military history, graphic design and gourmet cooking

He has written and contributed to over 80 books. He has designed the front covers of 200 other books. He has published hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles under his own name, and revolutionised the previously staid world of cooking.

He is most well-known for his fiction writing. His first book, The Ipcress File, when it first appeared in 1962 did genuinely revolutionise thriller fiction, and its gritty hero and complex stories proved an enticing counterpoint to Fleming and Le Carré, and the rest of his 'unnamed spy' stories are still regarded as classics of the genre. In the eighties, the Game, Set and Match series captured the zeitgeist of a Cold War that was beginning to freeze.

Deighton is for many a pre-eminent fictional chronicler of the Cold War and its impact on the individuals - on both sides - who were caught up in its seemingly inevitable powerplay. The ending of the Cold War arguably deprived Deighton of his most effective 'character'.

Nevertheless, following the publicity around his 80th birthday stimulating a new appreciation of his life's work, the last chapter is still not written. Indeed, Harper Collins has introduced Deighton to a new audience by reissuing most of his top-rated novels.

If you want to know anything and everything about Len Deighton's written output, this is the place to start.


Only When I Larf, limited edition published for securing film rights

Harry Palmer

Though unnamed in the books, he is one of Deighton's most recognised characters. Read the stories behind the films of The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin and Billion Dollar Brain.

But, despite what some think, Spy Story and Yesterday's Spy are not 'Palmer' books.

Cooking up a storm

He may be famous for spy thrillers, but Len Deighton in the 'sixties was equally famous for his food writing. Beyond Action Cookbook and Ou est le Garlic?, read about his less well known books on cuisine such as ABC of French Food and Basic French Cooking.