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Mexico Set by Len Deighton

Mexico Set (1984)

by Len Deighton

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The trilogy - Berlin Game, Mexico Set, & London Match were first published in 1983 - 1985, only a generation ago, but they seem dated when read today. Apart from the obvious changes in technology - no mobile phones and no PCs - it is the smoking, the incessant drinking and the sexism that seem out of place.
Deighton's writing style seems more screenplay than novel. Just as a movie is often a distillation of the original novel, these books seem spare to a fault - nothing is included that is not needed for the plot. For example, when the hero's wife defects and leaves him with the children, the kids are not meetings for the next 100-odd pages, when their existence becomes important to the plot as a bargaining point.
I think that all Cold War era spy novels are inevitably compared with Le Carre books, and you can see the influence here. Deighton ties hard to be cerebral rather action-driven, but fails to be as convincing as Le Carre. But, interestingly, I found the flaws to lie in the action parts of the writing - the southeast seems comically inept, the spies drinking gallons of hard booze before, during and after field operations; the fact that there seems to be only 5 spores in MI6 etc etc.
But while there are minor quibbles, I enjoyed my trip back in time with Deighton and found the books hard to put down.
Read November 2013. ( )
  mbmackay | Nov 20, 2013 |
A rescued book, from the "Kantoorpaleis" Moem had to move out of. The books needed new homes, new readers and this one ended up with me. :-)
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
This trilogy keeps getting better and better. In this book, the second in the series, Bernard Samson is still fighting the demons brought about by the desertion and defection of his wife. Not only has she deserted him but she has defected to the Russians and this casts doubts on all aspects of his life. His he a bad husband? a bad man? a bad spy? Then to top it off he is fighting the inter-Nicene plots and intrigues found within his own department. He not only has to deal with his self-doubts he has to deal with the dispersions cast on his loyalty that come from within his own department. He was married to a spy, mole, and a defector so how could he still be loyal to his country and comrades? To prove his loyalty he is sent out to convince his counterpart in East Germany to defect. The author has continued to explore issues of loyalty and the intersection of professional and personal life that makes for very cerebral reading. ( )
  benitastrnad | Dec 8, 2011 |
A nice next episode in this quite fascinating Cold War spy trilogy. All the old characters back, in London, East Berlin and Mexico City. I can't wait to read London Match to find out who the real traitors are.
  ffortsa | Dec 22, 2009 |
Wife traitor repercussions.

Bernard Samson's wife is at the heart of his dilemma. Revealed as the KGB mole, his own organisation is viewing him with some suspicion for being fooled, despite any successes just obtained.

One of his wife's KGB colleagues is looking to defect, and he has to travel to Mexico to make this happen. It all gets rather complicated as he suspects that, as you would, it might be a setup.

Just as interesting, this novel, even without the startling familial revelation of the first of the trilogy.

http://notfreesf.blogspot.com/2007/11/mexico-set-len-deighton.html ( )
  bluetyson | Nov 4, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Len Deightonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Settanni, GiuseppeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0586058214, Paperback)

Long-awaited reissue of the second part of the classic spy trilogy, GAME, SET and MATCH, when the Berlin Wall divided not just a city but a world. A lot of people had plans for Bernard Samson...When they spotted Erich Stinnes in Mexico City, it was obvious that Bernard Samson was the right man to 'enrol' him. With his domestic life a shambles and his career heading towards disaster, Bernard needed to prove his reliability. and he knew Stinnes already - Bernard had been interrogated by him in East Berlin. But Bernard risks being entangled in a lethal web of old loyalties and old betrayals. All he knows for sure is that he has to get Erich Stinnes for London. Who's pulling the strings is another matter...

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:16 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A lot of people had plans for Bernard Samson. When they spotted Erich Stinnes in Mexico City, it was obvious that Bernard Samson was the right man to 'enrol' him. With his domestic life a shambles and his career heading towards disaster, Bernard needed to prove his reliability.… (more)

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