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An Expensive Place to Die by [Deighton, Len]
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An Expensive Place to Die Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Description

Review

‘His most intriguing yet’
Daily Express

‘A first-rate storyteller who rarely if ever strikes a false note’
Daily Mail

‘Take this excellent thriller at a single gulp’
Sunday Times

‘The poet of the spy story’
Sunday Times

‘For sheer readability he has no peer’
The Standard

About the Author

Born in London, Len Deighton served in the RAF before graduating from the Royal College of Art (which recently elected him a Senior Fellow). While in New York City working as a magazine illustrator he began writing his first novel, The Ipcress File, which was published in 1962. He is now the author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction. At present living in Europe, he has, over the years, lived with his family in ten different countries from Austria to Portugal.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1155 KB
  • Print Length: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reissue edition (7 Jun. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006KWAINQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,908 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"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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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another of len Deighton's first person spy stories. Not as good as Funeral in Berlin but non the less an enjoyable outing from a very very good author. This one is set mainly in Paris and gets the atmosphere of the late 1960's. The one downside is that it does peter out rather at the end.
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