September 18th, 2017


Spook Street, Mick Herron

I’ve already written about the first two Jackson Lamb mysteries, which manage to be both exciting and funny. I’d been planning to save up Real Tigers but then NetGalley offered me Spook Street so I had to read the two one after the other. You do need to read this series in order, so that you can keep up with the changes at Slough House and in the higher regions of the Service.

This fourth Jackson Lamb mystery opens with a terrorist massacre in a shopping mall. In tracking down the suicide bomber River Cartwright and the other slow horses discover that the outrage has its origins in France and that there are more fanatics on the loose. Everything is complicated by the obvious involvement of River’s grandfather, David; a legend once but now succumbing to dementia. Yet again we find that with friends like MI5, Britain hardly needs external enemies. I could hardly put this book down and am looking forward to the next instalment, if there is one.

After this spy-fest, I went back to the granddaddy of this type of fiction: John le Carré’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. It’s years since I first read it and I found it old-fashioned, by which I mean that it reminded me of books written earlier, in the 1950s. The hero, Alec, seems to inhabit Greeneland. It remains everything that is claimed for it on this cover.

It’s the seventh impression, January 1964 and I see that it cost me 50p. Don’t you love the accurate use of ‘terrible’ and ‘actuality’?