3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Vintage Deighton - smart, sharp and complicated,
This review is from: An Expensive Place to Die (Paperback)Plot: a British agent is keeping tabs on a blackmailing operation in a Paris clinic - involving sex perversions and torture. Files and films document all this, and foreign governments are interested, as powerful people have been filmed there. Possibly the French government is interested too - or are they involved in running the clinic? Loyalties shift and interact, betrayals on both personal and professional level seem imminent. The Americans are leaking secrets to the Chinese; deals are struck, but as all involved runn at several levels of interest, solutions seem difficult...
The title comes from Oliver Wilde, who said "dying in Paris is a terribly expensive business for a foreigner." He should know: he died there.
My opinion: possibly this 1967 novel is the fifth in the series of the un-named WOOC (P) agent of Ipcress File to Billion Dollar Brain - but I think not. This is greyer, more grim, and with fewer insights into international espionage facts. It is more like Deighton's later books, the Bernard Samson ones and the three 'Spy' titles.
But it is vintage Deighton, cynical, very observant, atmospheric. Not as good as the first four, I reckon; but there are scenes in this book, very filmic ones, that remain with you for a long time. And the interaction between the various personages is, again, both realistic and emotional; and very sharply observed. 'The poet of the spy story'? Maybe - but a very good writer, anyway.