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A ferociously cool Cold War thriller from the author of The Ipcress Deighton’s third novel has become a classic, as compelling and suspenseful now . (Editor’s note: This is the ninth installment in our ongoing Friday blog series highlighting great but forgotten books. Today’s selection comes. Funeral in Berlin, UK first edition now – see photo) on the first editions has a photo of Len Deighton and Michael Caine from The Ipcress File movie shoot.

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Showing of 57 reviews. Damp leaves shone underfoot like a million newly struck pennies. Funeral in Berlin [Region 2].

The most sympathetic character, as far as Palmer is concerned, is a Russian KGB colonel; for him, the distinction in the espionage business is between professionals llen amateurs, rather than between friends and enemies.

The Narrator promptly packs him into the coffin in time for the Israeli agents to arrive and collect it at ih. The movie is very different, and is in some ways beriln than the book. There is a lot of money changing hands tonight. But when Vulkan and the Narrator open the coffin as delivered to them in a West Berlin garage, they find no scientist, just a load of propaganda pamphlets.

Then there is the femme fatale, Samantha Steel, and the playboy fixer Johnnie Vulkan, who is brokering the deal.

The basic premise is that the main character, Harry Salzman, a British operative, is in Berlin trying to arrange for the smuggling of a British scientist from the East through the Berlin wall back to the West. Funegal thing this book has, which always pleases me as a reader, is multi dimensional characters who act intelligently and, in this case, with the sly cunning a reader wants from professional intelligence agency operatives.

A game in which deightln blood-stained legacy of Nazi Germany is enmeshed in the intricate moves of cold war espionage. We follow a senior detective at Scotland Yard, Douglas Archer, living in defeated dingy London, coping with his new Nazi superiors, and solving a murder mystery which unravels to reveal not one but several enormous conspiracies.

In addition he has to contend with an Israeli agent called Samantha Steel and a Home Office man back in London who may berlim compromised because of his homosexuality.


The Rap Sheet: The Book You Have to Read: “Funeral in Berlin,” by Len Deighton

Those works may inspire comments on this page. Australian doctor and ex-Vietnam War veteran Ralph Lucas finds himself caught up with Marxist guerrillas fighting the ruling government in the fictional South American country of Spanish Guiana and, after various violent escapades, inveigled into joining the long, gruelling and futile trek through the nightmareish jungle which dominates the second half of the novel.

Some events strain credulity at times, but overall a fun read from someone who would later be known as one of the masters of his trade.

A lot of us at the Home Office are very much against it, I can tell you, but the interests we are working against are In the book the plot is based on smuggling an East German scientist to the west.

The climactic scenes are the best Deighton has yet written, action-packed, laugh-out-loud funny and sad all at once. Hard to explain the tremendous pleasure I get reading a great master of the spy story when there is so much drivel around.

Occured to me that this is one of the important existential novels of the sixities. This team is led by his brief one-time lover Sam Steele, also known as Hannah Stahl, who explains to the Narrator that they need Semitsa because his innocent-sounding work on enzymes is in fact into nerve gases, and this information will be vital when the next Arab-Israeli War breaks out. Colonel Stok and Hallam are great fun.

In FIB interesting to wonder whether this acronym is purposeful Deighton sets out his short, quick witted chapters as chess moves which make both funny metaphors and add a dimension of cool to the scenes — ironically so cool they made me take up chess again I’m too easily influenced. Multiple points of view In a technical development over the previous two novels, some of the chapters take the perspective of characters other than the main narrator.

Overall, the plot has twists and turns and surprises that keep you guessing how it all fits together. The plot is sinuous, and much is left to implication – many of the key plot points aren’t explicit, and personally I like this, with the onus on the reader to join the dots.


You have to read Funeral in Berlin. Return to Book Page. Deighton’s book, well written as usual, takes place more in London than Berlin, with brief sections in the coast of Spain next to the French border, Bordeaux and Prague. I was never any good at chess. Though the original publication date of this book is listed asand the Michael Caine film of “The Ipcress File” is listed as release, the unnamed protagonist in this work is certainly recognizable berlun Caine’s ‘Harry Palmer’, right down to the eyeglasses.

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. It’s a clever read that will keep you thinking throughout. Now the powdery skin [of his face], sun-lamped to a pale nicotine colour, was supported only by his cheek-bones, like a tent when the guy ropes are slackened. Jan 25, Sairam Krishnan rated it really liked it.

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The dialogue, however, is sparkling, and contrasts the weary cynicism of the leading character with the uncertainty and intrigue of a divided Berlin. Oct 19, Cindy rated it liked it Shelves: The reader is forced in every chapter to ask: It must have still been in a warehouse when the lawsuit was decided, and was made sellable by manually removing the company name.

Twists and turns with the pre-Bernard Samson, already demonstrating the trademark style of the sassy British agent who is not in awe of either his superiors or anyone else for that matter. Representing Men in Popular Genres,p. His father was a chauffeur and mechanic, and his mother was a part-time cook. I leave for Germany, including five nights in Berlin, day after tomorrow.

Only towards the end does it become clearer, that Johnnie Vulkan has taken British money to facilitate the smuggling of the Russian scientist Semitsa, across the Berlin Wall hidden in a coffin — hence the title — but double crosses the Narrator and the British by selling Semitsa on to Sam and Israeli Intelligence.