Death by Espionage: Intriguing Stories of Betrayal and Deception

Martin Cruz Smith, Author Cumberland House Publishing $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-1-58182-040-9
Drawing on the long history and cosmopolitan membership of the International Association of Crime Writers, the author of the Arkady Renko thrillers has stitched together a crazy quilt of 19 spy stories set in locales as far-flung as Israel, Cuba and Thailand. Smith's selections include works by major 19th-century figures such as Guy de Maupassant and Mark Twain, as well as tales by lesser-known modern practitioners, including Carmen Iarrera and Jean-Hughes Oppel. There are also entries from authors whose fame lies in other genres: John D. MacDonald's ""Betrayed,"" Arthur Conan Doyle's ""The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans"" and John Jakes's ""Dr. Sweetkill."" The result is an intriguing mix of classic stories and new, post-Cold War points of view that often subvert the James Bond archetype. Ambrose Bierce's excellent account of a meeting between a noble Confederate spy and a Union captain, ""The Story of Conscience,"" demonstrates the affection a man can feel for his enemy. Arnaldo Correa's solid entry, ""Spy's Fate,"" features a Cuban master spy whose demanding job has destroyed the happiness of his family. Jose Latour's compelling ""Golam"" describes an Israeli agent who decides to write his memoirs in order to gain recognition for his secret feats. There are some disappointing selections, and many modern giants are missing (Ian Fleming, Eric Ambler, Graham Greene among them), but Smith's compilation can wear a sturdy cloak and shining dagger with honor. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1999
Release date: 09/01/1999
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