An Expensive Place to Die by Len Deighton

An Expensive Place to Die by Len Deighton

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London : Jonathan Cape, 1967. First UK Edition. Hardcover. 254 pages ; 19 cm. $21.00 dust jacket, previous owner bookplate on decorative front endpaper, pages are unmarked, and binding is firm.


'Sex, I decided,' said the French psycho-analyst, 'was the key to men's drives and post-sex was their most vulnerable state. That's how my methods evolved.' In his expensive 'clinic' on Avenue Foch, designed to cater lavishly for multiple perversions, a staff of girl graduates practice his methods on influential clients from East and West. His research data, recorded on film and tape, fills 800 dossiers coveted by both French and Chinese governments.

A middle-aged English spy is sent to deliver a file of information on nuclear fall-out to the doctor, and finds himself involved in the most macabre operation of his career among the boulevards and back streets of Paris. In the twilight of blackmail and hidden motive, friend and enemy become indistinguishable: Maria, the divorcee with the E-type; Loiseau, a chief inspector in the Surety; Jean-Paul, the tanned Adonis destined for disaster; and Byrd, the British naval officer turned painter.

In An Expensive Place to Die, Deighton never relaxes his stranglehold of suspense, and loyalties remain undisclosed until the final pages. Yet he has moved far beyond the limits of the pure spy-thriller to explore the frontiers of human confrontation, where ideological warfare is germinated and sustained by the failure of one man to communicate with another.

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