Only When Laug: More Ta

Len Deighton, Author Mysterious Press $16.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-89296-175-7
Originally published in England in 1968, this early Deighton novel is set not in his familiar espionage milieu but in the world of international con artists. As caper novels go, it is entertaining, even cute at times, but it is far less than what Deighton fans expect from the author of such bestsellers as The Ipcress File, SS-GB and Berlin Game. Told in alternating chapters by the three members of the con teamSilas, Liz and Bobthe book recounts the trio's exploits, first in New York as they bilk a pair of businessmen and later in their London home base where they launch an ill-fated scheme to sell phony arms to a small African nation. The repartee among the three is as much a part of plot as are the details of the ""stings.'' Bob's ambition to become the ringleader, as well as to separate Liz from Silas, leads to a final operation in Beirut. Clever and not without charm, the book is nonetheless unpolished and lightweight compared to Deighton's best. 50,000 first printing; 35,000 ad/promo. (March 25)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1987
Release date: 03/01/1987
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