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Len Deighton Books In Order

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Publication Order of Harry Palmer Books

The Ipcress File (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
Horse Under Water (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
Funeral in Berlin (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
Billion-Dollar Brain (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
An Expensive Place to Die (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
Spy Story (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Spy / Catch a Falling Spy (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Bernard Samson Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Declarations of War (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Action Cook Book (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
Où est le garlic / Basic French Cooking (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
No Royalty A/C Action Cook Book (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fighter (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Airshipwreck (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blitzkrieg (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Battle of Britain (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Basic French Cookery Course (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
ABC of French Food (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blood, Tears, and Folly (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Len Deighton’s French Cooking for Men (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
James Bond: My Long and Eventful Search for His Father (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Great Flying Stories(1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Man Who...(1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Motives for Murder(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Born Leonard Cyril Deighton on 18th February 1929, Len Deighton is a British novelist, military historian and graphic artist primarily known for ‘The IPCRESS File; a novel that was adapted into a movie (starring Michael Caine).


Len Deighton grew up in Marylebone, London; born to a chauffeur and mechanic (his father) and a part time cook (his mother), Len has often spoken of witnessing the arrest of Anna Wolkoff, a Nazi Spy, and the impact it had with regards to sparking his interest in spy stories at the tender age of 11.

Len worked as Railway Clerk shortly after leaving school. He eventually performed his national service as a photographer for the Royal Air Force’s Special Investigation Branch; following his discharge, he pursued his studies at Saint Martin’s School of Arts in London in 1949.

Len won a scholarship to the Royal College of Arts in 1952, eventually graduating in 1955; it was during his days at the Royal College of Arts that Len Deighton befriended Raymond Hawkey, a fellow designer that would craft the covers of many of Len’s earlier books.

Along with his time as a BOAC airline steward, Deighton undertook a number of jobs of an artistic nature during his younger days, this including the role of illustrator in New York and an Arts Director in the currently non-existent Sharps Advertising in 1960 (where he is credited for his role in the creation of the first British Cover for Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’) before finally pursuing a career in writing.

With the relative success he achieved with his first novel, Len Deighton found a job as a cookery writer (For a London Newspaper, The Observer) during which time he produced illustrated cook books. Len’s article in the Sunday Times Magazine (on the subject of Operation Snowdrop, which was an SAS attack on Benghazi during WWII) attracted some controversy, earning David Stirling substancial damages in libel.

At some point in time Len was Playboy’s travel editor, though Playboy was not the only medium for which he wrote travel guides; he has also dabbled in film as a producer, adapting his 1968 novel ‘Only When I Larf’ to film. He also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of ‘Joan Littlewood’.

Upon leaving England in 1969, Len found a temporary home in Blackrock, Country Louth in Ireland; today Len and his wife split their time between their properties in Portugal and Guernsey.

+Literary Works

Len Deighton’s earlier novels gained notoriety primarily due to the popularity of Len’s renowned anti-hero ‘Harry Palmer’, a character brought to life on the silver screen by Michael Caine.

Len’s novels have always attracted attention because of the realistic atmosphere within which they are set, complimented by venal, cowardly and often stupid characters, the bureaucratic complications of the British Civil Service and their surprisingly black humor, and a technical representation of the various aspects of espionage in the country.

Len Deighton’s work is typically dotted with footnotes, elucidating upon complex terms, abbreviations and the slang that might emerge in conversations. The majority of material this British author has written over the last several decades has attracted praise from a wide variety of arenas; though ‘Bomber’ (a 1979 historical novel set in World War II’s Germany and detailing events surrounding the RAF Bomber Command raids) attracts the most praise (the fact that it was the first novel to be written on a Word Processor also attracts some attention).

Among the various masterpieces he has written during his long literary career, a surprisingly large number have found their way onto the screen, with Len’s first trilogy in the Bernard Samson novels having been adapted into a 12 part Television series.

Beyond his work as a novelist, Len Deighton has also published a number of cookery books, this including a cooking guide for The Observer Newspaper in London, written and illustrated as a weekly cartoon style strip.

His analytical approach to historical events, presented in Len’s written works, has enjoyed praise from various critics from all manner of backgrounds, this including Albert Speer who was Hitler’s Minister of Armament. He praised Len’s 1977 ‘Fighter: The True Story of the Battle of Britain’ for its thorough examination of the subject.

+The Ipcress File

The Ipcress File is Len Deighton’s first novel, published in 1962 and within which he first introduces his anti-hero, the so called nameless spy, later assigned the name Harry Palmer, and who eventually receives global fame following Michael Caine’s treatment of the character in the novel’s film adaptation, released in the 1960s.

It should be noted that Len Deighton’s first novel is also his biggest bestseller. The classic story chronicles the journey of a working class narrator who, upon undertaking a simple mission to find a missing chemist, encounters a deadly conspiracy.

Len Deighton has, himself, admitted that that, as a first time novelist, he might have expected a little too much from his readers, choosing to inject so many allusions and details into the story that it might prove difficult to follow.

It is because of the fame Len enjoys that many readers today have chosen to even pick up ‘The Ipcress File’ and stick with it to the end, with many an individual appreciating the novel for its depth of character; though critical readers have pointed out the fact that some sections of the novel are simply incomprehensible, to the point where it becomes impossible to determine the identity of the speakers and the dialogue (as well as entire passages) becomes meaningless. For the majority of readers, the novel is an interesting experiment, providing insight into days gone by, both within the world of literature and espionage.

+Horse Under Water

Following the success of ‘The Ipcress File’ Len Deighton continues to build the momentum of the story of his unnamed spy with a second secret file featuring sky diving and drug trafficking as well as blackmail, within a plot wreathing under the shadow of Hitler’s Germany.

Even with the fame this, the second of Len Deighton’s novels, enjoys, most modern readers will admit to struggling to get into this spy thriller; some have said that, with his second novel, Len injects too much effort into producing clever writing, which can distract from his story.

With a plot that ebbs and flows, picking up pace and then lagging, one would be hard-pressed to call ‘Horse under water’ terrible; none the less it is hardly Len’s best work. Admittedly Len’s lackluster work here does little to innervate the excitement surrounding his work. For all its failings, ‘Horse Under Water’ joins many of Len’s other works as a truly innovative piece of literature.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Len Deighton

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