Espionage

At the Tropicana nightclub: Dr Hasselbacher and Wormald celebrate with Milly on her 17th birthday. A scene from Carol Reed’s film of Our Man in Havana with Burl Ives, Alec Guinness and Jo Morrow

‘Where every vice was permissible’: Graham Greene’s Cuba

6 April 2019 9:00 am

Cuba meant a lot to Graham Greene. Behind his writing desk in his flat in Antibes he had a painting…

US Attorney General William Barr

Is Barr really helping Trump by slowing the release of the Mueller report?

5 April 2019 3:09 am

Poor Donald Trump. Even Mar-a-Lago may not provide much of a refuge from his cares now that it has been…

Secrets and lies: Berta Isla, by Javier Marías, reviewed

13 October 2018 9:00 am

A novel by Javier Marías, as his millions of readers know, is never what it purports to be. Spain’s most…

The body count piles up in Mick Herron’s London Rules

24 February 2018 9:00 am

The well-written spy novel is not a hotly contested field. Le Carré, Fleming, Deighton, a few Greenes, and that’s largely…

A blast from the past

9 September 2017 9:00 am

If you had to choose one book that both typified spy fiction and celebrated what the genre was capable of…

Yes, let our spies spy – but not our bureaucrats

5 March 2016 9:00 am

One of the marks of a good Home Secretary is a healthy wariness of those in authority who come begging…

If you read one spy novel this year, read Real Tigers

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Most spy novels have a comfortable air of familiarity. We readers can take moles in our stride. We have grown…

Sins of the past haunt the latest crime fiction

9 January 2016 9:00 am

It’s often the case that present-day crimes have their roots in the past. Ian Rankin’s Even Dogs in the Wild…

Guy Burgess

James Klugmann and Guy Burgess: the wasted lives of spies

5 December 2015 9:00 am

Geoff Andrews’s ‘Shadow Man’, James Klugmann, was the talent-spotter, recruiter and mentor of the Cambridge spy ring. From 1962, aged…

Spies in the spotlight

7 November 2015 9:00 am

Spying is a branch of philosophy, although you would never guess it from that expression on Daniel Craig’s face. Its…

Rabdentse, near Pelling, the ruined former capital of Sikkim, with Mount Kanchenjunga in the distance

The story of Sikkim’s last king and queen reads like a fairy tale gone wrong

1 August 2015 9:00 am

Sikkim was a Himalayan kingdom a third of the size of Wales squeezed between China, India, Nepal and Bhutan. I…

Bletchley Park was decades ahead of Silicon Valley. So what happened?

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Gordon Corera, best known as the security correspondent for BBC News, somehow finds time to write authoritative, well-researched and readable…

Turing, Snow White and the poisoned apple

9 May 2015 9:00 am

As a young student, the atheist Alan Turing — disorientated with grief over the death of his first love Christopher…

Moura Budberg with two of her lovers, H.G. Wells and Maxim Gorky

The spy who loved (a lot): Moura Budberg’s life reads like a thriller — and may have been more interesting than she was herself

9 May 2015 9:00 am

Moura Budberg (1892–1974) had an extraordinary life. She was born in the Poltava region of Ukraine, and as a young…

The Heckler: why it’s time to kill off James Bond

11 April 2015 9:00 am

For fans of the franchise who remain unconvinced by Daniel Craig’s time on her majesty’s secret service, the stories leaking…

Cowboys and Muslims: that’s the new global power struggle, according to the latest great American novel

10 January 2015 9:00 am

‘I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: if you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.’ When ‘The…

The threat from Russia’s spies has only increased since the fall of Communism

2 August 2014 9:00 am

‘No, we must go our own way,’ said Lenin.  The whole world knows him as Vladimir, while he was in…

You know something’s up when MI6 moves its head office to Croydon

21 June 2014 9:00 am

Alan Judd’s spy novels occupy a class of their own in the murky world of espionage fiction, partly because they…

The one-man spy factory who changed history

5 April 2014 9:00 am

With two new biographies of Kim Philby out, an espionage drama by Sir David Hare on BBC2, and the recent…

Kim Philby at the press conference he called in 1955 to deny being the ‘Third Man’

Kim Philby got away with it because he was posh

8 March 2014 9:00 am

The story of Kim Philby is, of course, like so many English stories, really one of social class. He was…

By the book: The NSA is behaving like a villain in a 1950s novel

18 January 2014 9:00 am

The continuing drip-feed of stories about governments and friendly-seeming internet giants sifting through our data has left some citizens feeling…