Monday, September 25, 2017

Another "Golden Age"

If the 1920s and '30s were the "Golden Age" for the detective novel, then the 1950s and 60's may have been the Golden Age of spy fiction:
Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, appeared in 1953, and Jack Higgins’s The Eagle Has Landed — about a Nazi plot to kidnap Churchill — came out in 1975. In the two decades between these two famous books, the British thriller dominated English-language adventure fiction. It was, as those of a certain age know, a particularly blissful time to be a youthful reader....

Their heroes regularly confronted Nazis, ex-Nazis and proto-Nazis, the secret police of any and all communist countries and a variety of “super-rich and power-mad villains, traitors, dictators, rogue generals, mad scientists, secret societies” and “ruthless businessmen.” They were seldom books that asked “Whodunit?” but rather “How will the hero ever manage to survive?” ....
Michael Dirda is here reviewing Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, a new book about those books, many of which I read growing up in those years. In the review Dirda mentions many of the authors and titles.