Crime Time issue 38

Crime Time issue no. 38, 2004 - feature article


Crime Time was a printed magazine which ran for 54 edition before reverting solely to being an online magazine devoted to crime fiction novels and the genre more widely, featuring reviews and author interviews. Issue 38 (which came out in 2004) puts Len Deighton on the front cover, in the illustrious company of John Le Carré, and writer Steve Holland provides an eight-page review of his career and books.

Why it's interesting

Crime Time describes itself as the journal of crime fiction and it's clear from the magazine that it's a publication written by and targeted at readers and fans of this genre which covers a huge range of books and authors. Steve Holland writes his profile of "an unjustly neglected master" and he does a pretty good job of covering the key stages of Len's career and the scope of his fiction output. He looks at Len's work through the eye of the crime fiction genre, considering stories like Horse Under Water and Billion Dollar Brain as having clear elements of crime fiction running throughout them.

This is very much a 'cut and paste' view of Len and his works - plenty of oft-repeated stories and quotes are used by Steve Holland, such as the story of Len meeting future agent Jonathan Clowes leading to The Ipcress File being published. Other tropes are covered: the unnamed spy as 'working class' agent; the design of the cover; the elaborate nature of Deighton's plots. Interesting, the article really only covers his early output, when in fact stories like Close-Up and Violent Ward would arguably be of interest to a crime fiction audience. A curiosity; nothing particularly new but an interesting overview of the author's work. Rare, however.

Sample text

'Raymond Chandler once claimed that the hardboiled school of writers gave murder back to those who committed it. Len Deighton, along with Le Carré and others who followed, gave the shadowy spy world a new breed of protagonists; the clean-cut 'for King and country' attitudes of earlier spy novels were blurred, loyalties were ambiguous, ideals were less tangible and Deighton, his writing oblique yet full of vivid images, revelled in this grey new world.'

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