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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 28 February 2011
The second of the Game, Set and Match trilogy which introduced Deighton's substitute for the unsubstitutable Harry Palmer, Bernard Sampson. Most of the narrative takes place in Berlin rather than Mexico but nevertheless the novel finally gives the lie to the idea that spy fiction couldn't outlive the collapse of communism, the end of the cold war and the Berlin wall.
Most of the characters first appeared in Berlin Game, the first of the trilogy which really should be read first, and as in all good fiction they appear to live and breathe in the room with us. Intelligent hokum of the first order. Highly recommended.
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on 4 April 2016
Book two of Deighton's triple trilogy concerning the life and career of MI6 field agent Bernard Samson. I'm not going to outline the plot here, but will say that I have read these 9 books at least 4 times. Richly textured and nuanced characters and densely plotted, but never opaque or abstruse. A real treat and not only for fans of the genre.
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on 30 September 2016
If you were a high-level traitor working for the Russians at the heart of the British intelligence community, and you had to flee to Moscow when your cover was blown, would you come back to London to snatch a glimpse of your children and catch up with your ex-husband, who's a spy, by kidnapping him in a car via the deadly offices of a KGB-trained Jamaican nurse with a syringe full of something nasty? Probably not. But this incident is just one dollop of hokum in a cauldron so full of the stuff that it would feed the Royal Society of Hokum for a year. LD claimed he was deepening his characters' lives in this follow-up to Berlin Game but that mostly means there's more rumpy-pumpy, with hero Bernard Sansom picking up a woman half his age. Less lecturing and more narrative might have given LD the stature of John le Carre or Eric Ambler but I'm not complaining... yet. Bring on London Match.
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on 26 June 2014
I'd never read any Len Deighton books until I accidentally downloaded one onto my kindle, 'Berlin Game'. I started it not really looking forward to it but reading it cos I'd paid for it! However, I loved it and couldn't wait to get the second book in the trilogy. Mexico Set was definitely up to expectation. I like the understated way in which it is told and the characters are so believable. I can't wait now to get the third book, London Match and look forward to another good read. If you are into spy fiction try these!
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Mexico Set, the second in Len Deighton's Game, Set and Match espionage trilogy featuring British spy Bernard Samson is, like the other books in the trilogy (and indeed like the books in the other two Sansom trilogies which succeed it), also meant to work as a stand alone novel. Although that's mostly true for Mexico Set (and far more so than for some of the later books), the continuity not only in characters but plotting makes it well worth reading the books in sequence. So if you're not yet read Berlin Game, pause and read that first before going on to Mexico Set.

That does, however, mean that Mexico Set will suffer slightly by comparison, for it isn't as tightly plotted and tense as its predecessor, taking often a much more gentle - if still very good - amble through the characters and the Mexico backdrop for much of the book.

What Deighton excels at all in this book as in others in the series is plotting that is like scratching away at an itch. Len Deighton keeps on having his characters coming back to ponder over the same events again and again, with the perspectives about who was telling the truth and who was being a traitor often changing as new evidence brings up new doubts over where the truth really lies.

He does that well in this volume - especially over whether or not Erich Stinnes is really a would-be KGB defector or is a plant. He also sets up more of the itches that the characters come back to scratch again and again in later volumes - and some of the subsequent twists are all the more satisfying for the reader - and key characters - having first been led up the garden path on key facts in the earlier books.

So enjoy reading this Sansom volume - but keep reading too in order to get the most enjoyment out of the plot (and if you've not got a great memory for the details of novels, read them in quick succession so you can really appreciate that itch scratching).

If you're looking for a printed version of the book, I rather prefer the 1980s paperback versions with their fruit-based covers for the Game / Set / Match trilogy to the cover artwork of the 21st century reissues. If you like audio books, then once again James Lailey does a cracking job which makes the audio version really enjoyable.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 September 2016
The second in the trilogy builds so well on the events of BERLIN GAME - the novel weaves through international locations and to tell you any more would spoil the plot - all I can say is that the characters grow and get stronger - the narrative expands and the book is really best read after reading the first (hence 4 stars) - these really are classics and need to be re-discovered by film makers and TV Producers.
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on 17 June 2014
The tales are told simply in this series, but you are never quite sure where you stand as the story meanders along, sometimes curving gently one way and at others sharply veering the opposite way.

As you begin to understand the destination you know that you will eventually arrive there, but not from which direction. Such is the art of a good storyteller.
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on 17 June 2016
Still reading this but so far every bit as good if not better than Berlin Game, how has it taken me this long to find Bernard Samson?
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on 19 May 2012
Excellent audio book about the cold war. Very well written and read perfectly. Len Deighton is a master of his craft.
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on 30 April 2013
Once again Deighton shows he is the master of the genre. Lots of twists & turns in the narrative, with wonderful attention to detail. The familiar characters are even more "fleshed out" and we feel we are really getting to know them. Excellent & highly recommended
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