Comments: 27
Seems that women who write spy novels tend to have been in the business themselves.
Stella Rimington, who writes the Liz Carlyle books, was the head of MI5
Karen Cleveland, who wrote "Need To Know" (which I didn't finish) was a CIA analyst
Gayle Lynds, who has written several spy novels, had Top Secret clearance when she was part of a US Government Think Tank.
Valerie Plame, a CIA covert operative whose cover was blown by the Washington Post teamed up with Sarah Lovett to write a couple of novels with Vanessa Pierson as the ass-kicking spy

If you're looking for something lighter, I have Sonja Stone's "Desert Dark" in my TBR pile. It's about a sixteen-year-old Nadia Riley who is being trained for CIA black ops at the elite and covert Desert Mountain Academy. Probably nonsense but fun nonsense.
Moonlight Snow 7 months ago
I'll check out some of these suggestions - thank you!
BrokenTune 7 months ago
Stella Rimington came very close to my selection of spy novels for this summer but I wanted to stick to books I didn't have to buy. Once I finish with the ones I own, she's a definite contender for more adventures in espionage.
Mike, have you read anything by her? How do her books compare?
Butting in (though not intending to elbow out Mike, of course) -- I've read book 1 of Stella Rimington's Liz Carlyle series and liked it; it's clear that she knows what she's writing about, and it doesn't necessarily read like a debut in fiction writing. Rimington's autobiography is on my TBR as well. So are books 2 and 3 of her Liz Carlyle series, but from the plot description I wasn't sure whether I wouldn't find them too similar to book 1 after all. (Mike?)
Incidentally, BT, do you think MR would enjoy the Moneypenny Diaries?
Thank you, Mike -- well, maybe "Secret Asset" is going to make an appearance in my "Summer of Spies" reading list after all ...
BrokenTune 7 months ago
Re Moneypenny Diaries: I really don't know. They are definitely spy fiction and I really enjoyed them, but there are a lot of references to Bond and I just can't tell whether my liking them so much is because they seem to get all the things right that Bond got wrong...if that makes sense.

As for historical background to the spy game - it is there Cuban Missile Crisis in the first book, Kim Philby in the second. In that sense they are similar to Berlin Game.
Tigus 7 months ago
all I've got for you--since Mike Finn's post covered things completely--are three books I enjoyed that are written by men, but star women spies:

Toxic, by Jamie Doward (sequel: Hostage)
Counterparts, by Gonzalo Lira
Ice Cold Kill, by Dana Haynes (sequel: Gun Metal Heart; plus the star of these books was a supporting character plucked from two earlier books in a separate series: Crashers, and Breaking Point)
Moonlight Snow 7 months ago
Nice, thanks!
Murder by Death 7 months ago
HA! Turns out I have at least one Helen MacInnes in my TBR; I thought she was a mystery writer, which is why I bought her book(s). The one in front of my is The Double Image. So... seems I have at least 2 books for Summer(winter) of Spies. :)
Murder by Death 7 months ago
Make that 3 - I just found another of her books The Salzburg Connection.
BrokenTune 7 months ago
Ha! Let's hope you like them! Are you reading them for "Season" of Spies?
Murder by Death 7 months ago
I'm going to try - it's a perfect motivator for getting them off my TBR and for me, unknown authors need a motivator. :)
BrokenTune 7 months ago
What's the third book you have?
Murder by Death 7 months ago
I have a Clancy franchise book (written after his death, I think) that someone at the pool gave me, and actually at least 1 AC (the Baghdad title), possibly more, as I don't now which ACs are mystery and which are spy. :)
BrokenTune 7 months ago
AC Spy stories (or where a character is a spy...):

Passenger to Frankfurt
Destination Unknown
They Came to Baghdad
N or M?
Murder in Mesopotamia (not really a spy thriller, but one of the characters used to be a spy)
The Secret Adversay
Postern of Fate (not a spy plot, but Tommy works in Intelligence - By the Pricking of my Thumbs is another T&T one but not really a spy story)
Cat Among the Pigeons (Poirot)

....these are the ones I can think of, anyway.

Murder by Death 7 months ago
Ok, looking at my BL shelves, I have
Destination Unknown
They Came to Baghdad
N or M?
Murder in Mesopotamia
The Secret Adversary
Postern Of Fate
Cat Among the Pigeons

I remember specifically leaving Passenger to Frankfurt behind because everyone disliked it. I think I also left behind the one about the Flood...?

So it turns out I have quite a few spy thrillers in my TBR. Who knew? (Obviously, not me, lol.)
I'd add:

The Man in the Brown Suit
The Secret of Chimneys
The Seven Dials Mystery
The Clocks (a Poirot story, but steeped in espionage intrigue)

-- with honorary mentions going to The Big Four (also a Poirot story, but with "international conspiracy" written all over it ... and I'll add that "honorary mention" is not a designation of quality but merely of topical association here)
Murder by Death 7 months ago
I'm pretty sure I have all those too, except Big Four, which I know was, along with Passenger to Frankfurt, one that did not make the cut (because I remembered y'all not loving it).

I've been looking forward to the Secret of Chimneys and Seven Dials (the latter of which, for some reason, always makes me think of the Adventure of the 5 Orange Pips. A combination of the numbers in the titles and the Dials / sundial similarity, I guess).
That, I suppose, and perhaps the fact that they're both dealing with pretty ruthless political conspiracies?

And you're definitely not missing out on anything with "The Big Four". Just added it for completion's sake. Btw, I'm absolutely NOT a fan of "Postern of Fate", either.
Murder by Death 7 months ago
Hmm... good to know.
BrokenTune 7 months ago
Oh, yeah, Postern of Fate was crap, too, but then I'm not a fan of any of the T&T stories.

I forgot about The Clocks. That is deeply steeped in spies.
Blendng "summer of spies" and my "women writers" project, I've put together a reading list focusing on female spy book writers and female spies. In case anybody is interested:
Thanks for the list. The Miss Moneypenny Diaries intrigue me as odes the nonfiction Fair Game.
You're welcome. Btw, I just checked Audible; there are audio versions for both of these (the one by Plame Wilson is read by the author herself -- judging by the little preview clip, she's doing reasonably well as a narrator).
I think audio would be the way to go with Plame Wilson. Thanks.