The marketing campaign for the Billion Dollar Brain film

In 1966, Jonathan Cape's marketing manager came up with the wheeze of sending out to booksellers and distributors in advance of publication of Deighton's new novel Billion Dollar Brain a 'letter purporting to be from Len Deighton', in order to generate interest.

The letters - clearly in facsimile, but nevertheless believable - were posted out to booksellers across the UK on Jonathan Cape's mailing list from Helsinki (they bear a Helsingfors briefmark) .The set contained a letter from Len Deighton written in the Helsinki Hotel on hotel letterhead, an Aeroflot luggage tag, a ticket for a ferry and one for 'Otello' at the Helsinki Opera.

Also included was a facsimile of pages from the notebook Deighton used to make notes when writing the book. This notebook is similar to the sort of notebook Len carries with him everywhere, in which he makes notes and sketches of things around him that interest him or could be referenced in a novel.

The latter gives a fascinating insight into the detail with which Deighton approaches all his writing and is designed clearly to communicate to sellers the quality of the next book and the fact that Deighton this time reaches deep into the Soviet bloc for inspiration for his story.

The letter from Deighton says: 'The tiny notebook is the key to the whole operation as far as I am concerned. I have marked the pages that contain items that were finally used in my new book just in case you find it fun to check the notes against the results.' The elements together were intended to generate publicity and interest in the book and, naturally, to boost advance sales to the shops.


The notebook contains Deighton's notes about Soviet uniforms and weaponry, Finnish police cars, common Finnish names, popular radio programmes and current tie fashions, all of which would find their way into the book.