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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun snappy thriller - but not Deighton's best
"An expensive place to die" has all the elements of a classic Deighton thriller: a British anonymous hero (who may or may not be Harry Palmer, played by Michael Caine in films like Funeral in Berlin"); a cast of fun characters (a psychiatrist running a brothel, a Frencch secret service agent modelled on someone Deighton knew, a flaky playboy); lots of snappy dialogue; and...
Published on 6 Oct 2012 by Niel Black

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
This was one Len Deighton book I hadn't read so I was looking forward to it and bought the Kindle edition. It is well written but I kept asking myself what it was all about and I also found it difficult to get a mental picture of the characters. I persisted for a while and actually re-read a couple of the chapters but I'm slightly ashamed to say that I eventually gave up...
Published on 30 Aug 2012 by Old Den


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun snappy thriller - but not Deighton's best, 6 Oct 2012
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This review is from: An Expensive Place to Die (Kindle Edition)
"An expensive place to die" has all the elements of a classic Deighton thriller: a British anonymous hero (who may or may not be Harry Palmer, played by Michael Caine in films like Funeral in Berlin"); a cast of fun characters (a psychiatrist running a brothel, a Frencch secret service agent modelled on someone Deighton knew, a flaky playboy); lots of snappy dialogue; and a brief case full of nuclear secrets. As in many Deighton books, much of the fun is trying to work out who is on whose side, with plenty of twists and doublecrossing.

The title comes from Oscar Wilde's quote "dying in Paris is a terribly expensive business for a foreigner". As Deighton says in his new introduction (a big bonus in these new Kindle editions), Paris itself became one of the film's main characters - there is lots of 60s atmosphere, from art parties to local cafes.

I loved the style and liked the characters - but the central plot, revolving around a high class brothel where spies and diplomats compromise themselves, seemed a bit Hollywood to me (perhaps I move in the wrong circles). So I would recommend other Len Deightons - Horse Under Water, Funeral in Berlin etc. But if you like them, Expensive Place will give you a fun read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, 30 Aug 2012
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Old Den (Bedford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This was one Len Deighton book I hadn't read so I was looking forward to it and bought the Kindle edition. It is well written but I kept asking myself what it was all about and I also found it difficult to get a mental picture of the characters. I persisted for a while and actually re-read a couple of the chapters but I'm slightly ashamed to say that I eventually gave up before I got half way through. Too easy to go to sleep over.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Death in Paris, 4 Jun 2012
Deighton remains chiefly known for his first 4 books (The Ipcress File through to Billion Dollar Brain) featuring the grammar school educated WOOC(P) agent, named Harry Palmer in the Michael Caine films. Less well known are his next four spy novels: An Expensive Place To Die (1967), Spy Story (1972), Yesterday's Spy (1975) & Twinkle Twinkle Little Spy (1976).

Probably overshadowed by the 1980s Bernard Samson novels and some excellent World War 2 fiction and non-fiction, they seem chiefly unmemorable because of the mystery of the unnamed protagonist. While some argue they feature the 'Harry Palmer" character of the first 4 books, others contend they are 4 completely different people! Even the new covers teasingly suggest they could be all the same, but it's ultimately up to you.

Although originally touted as an alternative to 007, Deighton's novels had drifted increasingly into supervillain tackling globetrottery. Nothing wrong with that, but you sense that the WOOC(P) team had become a little too cosy for Deighton's liking and he wanted to return to the murky uncertain world he'd depicted early on. It's an exciting and refreshing move.

Story: (No spoilers!) The plot concerns a high class Paris brothel that runs a valuable, but very risky, sideline in gathering highly classified intelligence. It's clientele includes spies and politicians from either side of the Berlin Wall. When some agencies start to realise, it becomes both a prize and a target. With multiple agendas racking up the stakes, the city becomes a death trap.

It's a bit like jumping into the middle of Funeral in Berlin (1964) as our 'hero' is already in the city, juggling loyalties in typically Deighton fashion. It's also rather more meditative, almost melancholy: the title derives from Oscar Wilde's pithy "dying in Paris is a terribly expensive business for a foreigner". This tone does slow the narrative down at times, but when it's by a writer as good as Deighton you don't mind lingering. Not a classic, but high calibre.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another classic!, 29 Sep 2012
This review is from: An Expensive Place to Die (Kindle Edition)
Re- reading after 20 years, and still as good as ever! Even better as I've since spent time in Paris, which brings more reality.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Spy or not?, 19 Aug 2012
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N. R. Sutton "Nigel" (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This was disappointing, I have read almost all Len Deighton's novels but for some reason not this one, it was not up to his usual high standard
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3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book, 2 Nov 2014
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This review is from: An Expensive Place to Die (Kindle Edition)
The usual quality Len Deighton quality with interest and excitement. I enjoyed this book
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4.0 out of 5 stars a good read., 29 Nov 2014
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This review is from: An Expensive Place to Die (Kindle Edition)
Well researched,typical Deighton, a good read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 22 Dec 2014
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This review is from: An Expensive Place to Die (Kindle Edition)
Great book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 13 Oct 2014
very happy.
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