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#secretread – Espionage and spies

October 8, 2014

Emigma – Robert Harris –  Code breaking to win a war – the highest of stakes.  The real life staff of Bletchley Park keep their secret work a secret for decades.   Later a personal secret & maybe the Secret Service’s fear that he would disclose the Enigma secret led to the dead of Alan Turing.

Enigma - photograph taken by Sue Applegate


Espionage and spies

In a post war macho world James Bond is the classic Secret agent – slaying SMERSH, triumphing over megalomaniacs  despite the vast number of women  falling at his feet.  Long after Ian Fleming’s death, other authors keep the Bond character alive.

Single Spies – Alan Bennett –  two plays which take a sideways looks at the lives of 2 Cambridge Spies after their spying was over.   The short comings of the Comrades in dentistry and tailoring contrast with the surveyor of the queen’s pictures’ discussing fakes.

The real world out did fiction – who knew what was true, who the 4th & 5th man were, as – Peter Wright’s Spy Catcher is outlawed.  The Cambridge Spies have fascinated novelists and biographers ever since.

The Profumo Affair was a big secret in 1963.  An English affair : sex, class and power in the age of Profumo  – national secrets at risk due to private secrets?

John Le Carre – the Circus ring master of tradecraft, Moles and lamplighters in a Cold War

George Smiley – the old Spy who unravels the the trail of the Mole in Tinker tailor soldier spy

The man from Uncle – a Russian and an American work together to battle the forces of THRUSH a series whose pedigree included ideas from Ian Fleming and  a nod to Sherlock Holmes.

For kids Secret Squirrel – was the master of 1960s spying gadgetry

Books are full of secrets: almost every novel – from the lightest romance to the Book Prize nominee contains a secret. Your #secretread task is to find that secret along with the main character.

The secret lover – William Trevor – Love and summer

The secret that society makes you hide – John Irving – In one person

The family secret – Secrets and Lies – Mike Leigh

A secret that affect later generations – Barbara Vine – the Blood doctor

Concealing a secret has a comic fallout – Tom Sharpe – Wilt

Donna Tartt explored a group who share a secret – in Secret History  and a single person’s secret in The Goldfinch.

Last word to the Crime and thrillers. The killer has one BIG secret. The suspects are just like the rest of us, but find their personal secrets uncovered from St Mary Mead to Nordic Noir

Sue Applegate – Surrey Library Service @SurreyLibraries

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