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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best books of the spy master
Welcome to the dark realm of betrayals, double cross and intrigue. Nobody is who they seem to be. Epigraphs to each part are simplest chess rules - at the first chapter, for instance, it states that in chess players go one after another. Closer to the middle of the book one feels the urge to go back and check with previous rules, 'cos suddenly they are important! The...
Published on 25 May 2001 by alex kovzhun

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not finished
Became lost having read about 50 % of the book so I am hoping to get on track soon and be rewarded with a good read.
Published 21 months ago by Clive Pegler


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best books of the spy master, 25 May 2001
This review is from: Funeral in Berlin (Paperback)
Welcome to the dark realm of betrayals, double cross and intrigue. Nobody is who they seem to be. Epigraphs to each part are simplest chess rules - at the first chapter, for instance, it states that in chess players go one after another. Closer to the middle of the book one feels the urge to go back and check with previous rules, 'cos suddenly they are important! The period and topic is thoroughly researched - even from my post-"Empire of Evil" background. Pity there are only 5 stars - I would give more to this book! If you do not like spy novels - try this one. I know - I hooked my girlfriend via this novel (she used to consider spy novels as an inferior sub-literature before :)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vintage Deighton, 19 Oct 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Funeral in Berlin (Paperback)
This is one of Deighton's best; the plot is superb and full of the usual twists that are his trademark. This book is thoroughly researched and a tremendous read. I thoroughly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and deep, 29 Jan 2014
This review is from: Funeral in Berlin (Paperback)
This is Len Deighton’s second of four spy novels with a nameless hero from Burnley, Lancashire, who in the film versions is called Harry Palmer (HP). It was published 50 years ago, has 51 brief chapters and was last reprinted in 2011. It takes place between 5 October and 10 November 1963. [JFK was killed 12 days later.] The Berlin Wall had been built a little over two years before. There are Berlin-related newspaper headlines on the first and last pages of the book. The Six Day War was some 3 ½ years off, but some early stirrings appear in this book…
Tense times in Europe and busy days for its guilds of spies. HP’s travails take him to France, East & West Berlin and Czechoslovakia. He meets with people with an often active WW II past: old and new spies and double agents, a Treblinka survivor, a former German general, etc., some of whom will return in other HP adventures. The tone is set from page 1 with HP, working for the civilian spy agency WOOC(P), visiting the eccentric Home Office official Hallam in his cramped living quarters.

Some reviewers on Amazon argue whether the HP novels are Deighton’s best or not. My view is that the later spy books are more even, slower, with more plausible plots and less fun. His early preoccupation with WW II, science and technology gave way to epic searches for traitors and moles (cf. the three Bernard Samson trilogies plus its historical intermezzo “Winter”). The charm of his early books is that they are fast-paced, iconoclastic, with plausible and wildly improbable parts and uneven re quality of dialogue.

Re this book one cannot deny that some of the characters and atmosphere are brilliantly drawn. It was prophetic in letting a character long for a color TV with remote control, or HP’s weird boss Dawlish pondering about how normalizing the legal status of gays would ease his job. [ Such reforms followed from 1967 onward, too late for hapless, blackmailed Hallam]. It is, at times, very funny too: brands LD hates like Nescafé and Omo are trashed time and again. My best advice to readers is to list the song titles KGB Col. Stok quotes, and the ones played in the Dispatch Section on Charlotte Street. Next, go to Google, then YouTube and enjoy! When finished laughing, google “The Len Deighton Dossier”, a blog, for more background about the man and his books..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cynical Spy, 17 Mar 2013
By 
P. Webster "Phil W." (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Funeral in Berlin (Paperback)
"Stok waited while the grey-haired one closed the door behind her. Then he said, 'Let's stop quarrelling, shall we?'
'You mean personally?' I said. 'Or are you speaking on behalf of the Soviet Union?'"

When Len Deighton's Cold War spy stories appeared in the first half of the 1960s they were welcomed as painting a more realistic picture of the world of espionage than did the fantasy world of James Bond. Whether it is actually a true picture or not, Deighton certainly makes you FEEL as if you are getting a glimpse of the real spy world.

In my view, Deighton's first four spy novels are by far his best. These are: "The Ipcress File"; "Horse Under Water"; "Funeral in Berlin"; and "Billion Dollar Brain". I feel that after this period Deighton went downhill, losing the lightness of touch and sharpness that characterise these four books.

Three of these four were also transferred to the big screen: "The Ipcress File" and "Funeral in Berlin" are quite good films; the film version of "Billion Dollar Brain" is best forgotten.

It has been rightly pointed out that the nameless narrator (who becomes Michael Caine's "Harry Palmer" in the films) is reminiscent of Raymond Chandler's private detective, Philip Marlowe, but transferred from the world of crime to the world of espionage. The two characters certainly both have the same mixture of wise-cracking humour, cynicism, sharpness of mind, and integrity. (Though with Deighton's character there is less emphasis on the last of these - his job involves more deviousness than Marlowe's.)

The other "realistic" spy story writer who came along at about the same time as Deighton was John Le Carre. But I've always preferred Deighton (at least the early Deighton), as I find Le Carre's books rather humourless and bleak. (Though the TV version of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" with Alec Guinness is brilliant.)

Although Deighton's leading character (like Deighton himself, presumably) is on the side of the West, "Funeral in Berlin" is cynical about both sides in the Cold War. On the one hand, the Russian Colonel Stok makes telling criticisms of Western capitalism. But on the other, there are sideswipes against "communism", too, as when a character comes out with the joke: "Capitalism is the exploitation of man by man. Yes? Well socialism is exactly the reverse."

If you substitute the word "Stalinism" for "socialism" in that joke, I would certainly agree that BOTH systems are based on exploitation. The so-called "communist" states of Russia, China, Eastern Europe etc were/are actually forms of bureaucratic state capitalism, not socialism. Genuine socialism would be democratic, and it would not build a Berlin Wall to stop people escaping! As someone once said, "The Free World is not really free, and the Communist World is not really communist."

"Funeral in Berlin" is excellent entertainment, but we also need to remember that the real world of secret services is a nasty one. They do not just spy on each other. They spy on (and often persecute) dissenting voices within their own countries, and they conduct dirty tricks such as the toppling of elected governments (as the CIA did in Chile). There are no heroes or "good guys" in the real secret world: just villains on both sides.

Phil Webster.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cynical, knowledgeable and cool, 16 Jan 2010
By 
Henk Beentje "Henk Beentje" (Kew, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Funeral in Berlin (Paperback)
Synopsis: a complicated book about the possible defection of a Soviet scientist, with the hand-over by sub-contracted secret agents taking place in Berlin. Competing agencies are interested; loyalties are divided, or shared, and betrayal comes easy to those practised in deceit.

Volume three in the series that starts with Ipcress file, continues with Horse under water, and ends in Billion dollar brain. Still cool, after all those years - this was written in 1964. Dated, but completely readable, and still achingly cool and very atmospheric. Berlin comes across as a personality of its own, but my favourite protagonist is the Russian Colonel Stok. This is an understated book, with much inferred rather than spelled out; an intelligent book, a cynical book, and a book that I re-read with pleasure once every ten years or so. Deighton is a great writer. This is not quite as good as 'Horse under water' as it gets a tad over-complicated at times, but still 4-and-a-half stars.

Note that in post-1972 editions of this book a small section was deleted from one of the final chapters - there was a lawsuit about what a firework company thought was a nasty reference to it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spy Novel, 21 Feb 2013
By 
Mike Alexander (LEEDS, West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Funeral in Berlin (Kindle Edition)
Espionage is about relationships and how to develop trust and this now somewhat elderly story comes out with top marks. Particularly enjoyable is the relationship between the lead character (Harry Palmer in the movies) and the Soviet Army officer Colonel Stok. The story has credibility and could be the basis of a more contemporary situation where secrets need smuggling across borders, a good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ah! English..., 28 July 2012
By 
Martin Swift (Scotland. U. K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Funeral in Berlin (Kindle Edition)
Another Len Deighton novel that I read until the book developed 'dog-ears'...now on my Kindle and what a wonderful re-read I have had.
Once again the hero narrates the storyline...once agin in the book he has no name...
This is a wonderful book, I enjoyed it the first time around and i must have read it now more times than I have fingers and toes, could have needed to be 'Jake the Peg'.
From seeing the film of the same name and seeing and hearing the voices of the actors playing the characters, it's no doubt that Sir Michael Caine was perfect for the role that became Harry Palmer in the films, whilst reading I hear his voice everytime the narrator retorts to someone and I know that Len deighton originally had no one in mind as the person to be the main character and allows you to feel that the book is being narrated by Len Deighton himself. Now not many people know that!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Amazon bargain!, 9 April 2011
By 
J. Helliwell - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Funeral in Berlin (Paperback)
I'm a long-standing Len Deighton reader so I was really pleased to find this particular novel on the Amazon web site at very low cost. it arrived in no time at all, in excellent condition - what a bargain!

John
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not finished, 6 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Funeral in Berlin (Kindle Edition)
Became lost having read about 50 % of the book so I am hoping to get on track soon and be rewarded with a good read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than le Carre, 17 April 2012
By 
Blyth (Northumberland, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Funeral in Berlin (Paperback)
Enjoyable. Different. Interesting for me. I was around in the 50s and sixties. It is strange to read of some products being considered as something of a luxury when they are considered pretty naff now.

I found the story more engaging than some of the le Carre books I've read.
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Funeral in Berlin
Funeral in Berlin by Len Deighton (Unbound - Jan 1964)
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