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The Wrong Side of the Sky Paperback – 1 Mar 1966


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Books; New edition edition (1 Mar. 1966)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330104888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330104883
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.9 x 0.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 542,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

'For style without affection, ruthlessness without the usual mindlessness, Lyall is likely to be your man' - The Guardian. When Gavin Lyall's first book, THE WRONG SIDE OF THE SKY, was published in 1961, P.G. Woodhouse wrote: 'Terrific! When better novels of suspense than this are written, lead me to them.' After six more adventure novels including MIDNIGHT PLUS ONE, winner of the Crime Writers' Association Silver Dagger, Lyall created Major Harry Maxim, Whitehall trouble-shooter (played on TV by Charles Dance). Gavin Lyall lives in London and is married to Katharine Whitehorn --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By PatB on 22 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
...in 1965 at the age of 18. It was one of a bundle of thrillers that kept me entertained over a whole winter while I was holed up in a remote farmhouse supposedly studying for exams. The local village had two tiny pubs, mostly patronised by old men who sucked pipes in the corner and grunted when you asked them a question, and there was a TV set that showed a blizzard of black and white dots with a few shadows moving in the background. If it wasn't for those books I'd have topped myself.

I read them all about six times each. A lot of them, such as the James Bond books, have lost some of their lustre over the intervening decades. They don't excite as they once did. But Len Deighton holds up well to re-reading, and so does Gavin Lyall. The Wrong Side of the Sky is one I didn't read again until a few days ago. It belongs to that category that used to be called "the solid British thriller", which means well-crafted, literate without being self-consciously stylish, and packed with hardware, mechanical stuff, boys' toys. In this case it's aircraft. Lyall was a former RAF pilot.

The story, set around the Mediterranean, is neither here nor there - stolen jewels, a fat man slumped over his desk with a pistol nearby, leggy girls who aren't nearly as innocent as they look, a blow to the back of the head, a race to find the hidden treasure - you've read it before. What matters is how it's done. Like Deighton, Lyall inherited the wisecracking style of Raymond Chandler, which is fine as long as you have the wit. Lyall certainly has it. "He was dressed like the inside of a millionaire's wallet", "Mikklos was a small, tubby character with thick spectacles and a bristly moustache, pushing fifty but not moving it much". There's some sparkling dialogue.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 May 2011
Format: Paperback
The book: Jack Clay flies a Dakota - an old one - for a living. He takes cargoes around the Med; on this particular trip, cargoes vary from counterfeit weapons to small boxes of treasure, in Greece and Libya. But nothing is straightforward - not his employers and their motives, not the murder of his agent, not even old friends... The only costants seem to be insecurity, disillusionment, lack of money - and danger.

The writer: Gavin Lyall has written a lot of thrillers and, later, spy novels; amazingly this 1961 book was his first.

My opinion: P.G. Wodehouse thought this was an excellent novel of suspense - and so do I! Bright crosstalk between pilots, a sequence of flying through a storm that makes your hair stand on end, realistic people, solid background. Cynical, wisecracking, and all round very good; and in the end, it is more than 'just a thriller', it makes you think about choices in life, too. Good stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 29 April 2012
Format: Paperback
Like most of the other reviewers, I first read Gavin Lyall when I was a kid - I guess some forty odd years ago. I have read and re-read Gavin Lyall ever since. The Wrong Side of the Sky was the first one I read but P.G. Woodhouse puts it better than I ever could, `Terrific! When better novels of suspense than this are written, lead me to them.' I simply say `read Gavin Lyall - you won't regret it'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ephemeral on 11 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback
Gavin Lyall wrote a series of excellent action books in theh 1960s which have stood the test of time - I read it first about 20 years ago - and have bought several copies since because I keep on lending them. Its not a blockbuster just a neat taut action story that makes you care about what happens. His other 1960s one, 'the Most Dangerous Game' is even better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Graham R. Hill VINE VOICE on 26 Jun. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's only noirish rather than full on noir, because Lyall explains everything at the end. Given that the explanations don't make any sense he would have been a lot better of leaving the reader in confusion. The kindle version is riddled with annoying transcription errors and has clearly never been proof-read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Hill on 24 Jan. 2013
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"The Wrong Side of the Sky" is Lyall's first book. Written in 1961 it is showing its age a bit now, but this story of stolen Indian treasure is still a cracking read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great to read this once again. It feels dated now with the absence of mobile phones or laptops and the novel should be viewed more as historical fiction than a modern thriller. Gavin Lyall was definitely underated. Can't wait for my next holiday to download another excellent poolside read.
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By Cluffie on 27 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had read this thriller before. Gavin Lyall when he was on song was always a good witty read. Was delighted to find that Amazon still has his books on offer. I opted for the Kindle version and will buy more..
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