(There are jokes about the double meanings of this name.)

I found it interesting that the writer and critic Hugh Greene said: “Even physically Conan Doyle resembled Watson, and when I occasionally caught a glimpse of him in Crowborough in the last years of his life one might have been looking at Dr. Watson.”, Conan Doyle got it right. For authors, people matter. I can’t do that. The basic idea behind Berlin Game etc was to widen the all-action format. And Doyle even made sure that his hero was an eccentric, even if his reasoning power was cold and logical. What is the most salient lesson you’ve learned from both experiences about military strategy? I knew Schiller well; he had served with the Zeppelins over many years and had commanded the Graf Zeppelin on numerous transatlantic flights. In this style of wargaming only what would be known to the players is revealed. In Battle for the Mind, he discusses the process by which our minds are subject to influence by others. What in the end decided you to stick with the denouement readers arrived at in, : This is rather complicated. I lacked the formal systematic basis of study that professional historians enjoy but I compensated for this by seeking out eyewitnesses and participants.

You, obviously, wrote contemporaneously about it. But much of Werner’s clear thinking, his sense of duty, unstinting generosity and view of the world was that of Leslie Kaye with whom back in the fifties I had managed a dress factory in East London. My friend’s weather report became the basis of the first page of Winter. The main character was from Burnley, a bit of a crook by all accounts, rough around the edges, a gourmet, plagued by his toff bosses and always needing his chit signed - a contrast to the debonair style and high living James Bond and the middle-aged, middle class bureaucrat that was George Smiley. “But I’m not a militant. It is true. This is why I have written The Anatomy of a Fountain Pen and The Secret History of Airplanes. . One evening, when Harry and his delightful wife Jaquie entertained me and Michael to dinner in their Mayfair home, we brought it up again. But, generally, they are the same basic character. The only way I can retain and arrange material is by writing it down. : It’s a long story. Was it based on a real café that you visited? But the order in which the books were published in the US was different to their publication in Britain. For some time I had been scribbling notes about a story that would be in effect a history of Germany 1900-1945 but I kept putting it off. A reader invites answers on perplexing questions about the Samson series, [Guest post update] SS-GB and its place in the alternate history landscape .... revisited, Understanding SS-GB - a reader's appreciation [guest blog post], The quest is over: the tale of the elusive SS-GB postcard. He asked me to become Travel Editor: travel anywhere with a very generous expense account. But I was dedicated to 20th century history, to German  history and to World War Two. I enjoyed talking to people from both sides; not only military people but also technicians and civilians.

I guess you could easily have left it on the shelf and got on with you life - but what prompted you to go back and finish it and, as a result, change your whole life? How much were your stories influenced by this changing history, i.e. I enjoyed writing it, for it brought back many memories – mostly happy ones – of the film world into which I have briefly ventured as an author, producer, and as a screenwriter. To what degree did they help inspire story ideas and characters and encourage you to depict authentically life behind the Iron Curtain?

I read it very carefully. How do you feel about contemporary spy fiction? He uses his eyes, his nose and his brain. He seems an interesting character to know, to say the least. The basic idea behind Berlin Game etc was to widen the all-action format. Each story and main character is different but together, they provide a nice sense of continuity throughout history of man as soldier. Most writers learn how to become self-effacing and I wallowed in that strange society which had the fraternal social cohesion that senseless tyranny bestows.DD: Your military histories are perhaps your most praise-worthy accomplishments and on a par with many other analyses of the period. Berlin suffers cruel winters and the most delicious dishes are those based upon dumplings and pork. When I got to detailed planning for the third trilogy (Faith, Hope and Charity) I decided that the fall of the Wall was such an earthquake that it would obliterate the long line and progress of the personal relationships (which to me were the most important element of the books). : Yes, my wife and I share the cooking, and we prefer to eat at home rather than in restaurants.

And unpaid bills, cars that broke down and awful in-laws. What did you think about these changes?LD: I believe the film was ‘turned around’, which meant that new finance people replaced the original backers.

A more scientific approach to scene-of-crime evidence was bringing photography, X-Rays, infra-red and ultra-violet light into forensic labs. You need to be a subscriber to join the conversation. ''I wanted Wankel engines for bombers,' he said. Alphonse Bertillon was starting hisService d’Indentité Judiciaire in Paris and Hans Gross had just finished that masterpiece of criminology System der Kriminalistik.

As a reader and collector I’d be interested to know: why was such a lagniappe included? Years later, when I started planning the Bernard Samson stories I created a completely different character. Do you think over the year’s your books have been well reviewed? I never saw Paris in the same way again; and if any of my shock and horror came through in the book I am happy with that result. Stories without the moral ambivalence of real life seem artificial to me.DD: The brainwashing technique is central to The Ipcress File. Not so welcome in summer, but wonderful in winter. What do food and wine give to an author in terms of how they help reveal characters and themes? The audacity of it!”, He thinks Britain is even less meritocratic and democratic now than in the Sixties. [This is a guest post by first-time contributor Seym... Adrian Bailey's illustration for the Game, Set and Match series. presumably does not mean "War Office" since Dawlish and Ross clearly belong to different organizations?LD: I confess, I can't recall! I have kept the technical aspect to basic facts and simple machinery. Do you think the current geo-political and intelligence world holds the same level of intrigue? And each nation embroiders and cossets its fables.

He wrote and produced the film version of Oh! There was a generous budget, experienced technicians and no shortage of talent. There seems to be evidence both for and against, but I'd like to hear Len's view. )” DD: Related to that, did you plan the nine novels in one long story arc? I was friendly with several DDR officials who became more and more outspoken every day. The artist was Adrian Bailey a brilliant painter with whom I had been at art school.

I spent many happy weeks with the fighter pilots. Here Len may be playing with them; a true God's eye view can exist only in the contrived world of simulations and novels. I always wondered if this was a tribute to him, or if you were slyly commenting on some cover that had declared another spy thriller "Better than Deighton!" Prejudice of any sort is evil; it is illogical and destructive. : I didn't line him up as a black-hearted villain; I wanted him to be a complicated personality because such people were twisted in their thoughts. You indicated to me that you're still writing regularly, every day (including Sunday!). In every person there is a measure of expertise and a measure of stupidity. I was enjoying a prolonged stay in Paris researching An Expensive Pace to Die.

: I have met authors who like to make up their stories as they go along. I wanted dozens of people: friends and enemies, relatives and work-mates, wife and children, bosses and underlings. I have seen incoherent cleaning ladies who total their cash accounts with consummate ease. as a promotional enclosure for An Expensive Place to Die. Published in illustrated magazine form, the ‘After the Battle’ series under the direction of Winston G. Ramsey is in detail and accuracy the largest and finest record of World War Two.Apart from war history books I like reading reference books of all kinds; from books about art and graphic design to ones about photography and cookery. I wanted a family man with a more complex attitude to his life and his work. One woman explained that she had been engaged to a young man living just a block away from her, with their marriage all planned, when the Wall went up and divided them. The neighbourly cohesive atmosphere in the East reminded me of that of London during the war. It was successful in Britain and America and many other territories. He reproduced authentic air tickets so that the spines spelled out BERNARDSAMSON. I respect and admire skills and education.

Film can’t do that; there isn’t enough time. But I have always suffered chronic skepticism in respect of Sigmund Freud and his theories although some of his books, such as The Psychopathology of Everyday Life, are entertaining. Did the character's approach reflect perhaps your own worldview at the time in London, when attitudes were changing? If you were to have re-written The Ipcress File from the third person, what might the reader have learned about the 'unnamed spy' character?LD: Harry Palmer is a loner in the tradition of heroes of fiction. (There are jokes about the double meanings of this name.) His two books provide the only serious inside look at Hitler and the criminals who ruled Germany from 1933 until the end of the war in 1945. He was seduced by the celebrity lifestyle for a period (becoming the travel editor of Playboy), but soon swore off interviews and parties: “Two things destroy writers: praise and alcohol.”. Do you think the current geo-political and intelligence world holds the same level of intrigue? Our sons were attending a nearby German school. I don’t think he was assigned to watching me (he would have been more friendly had that been the case), but he was a dedicated Marxist while I was a self-confessed capitalist. was the end of that story (it had been signalled earlier by a careless angry word from Bernard during a row with Gloria). I said, ‘If you can persuade Michael to play the lead I will let you have the necessary screen rights.’ I was quite confident that I would hear no more about it.

I’m very interested in your work on From Russia With Love – do you have any surviving drafts of your script and how do you regard it?LD: I went to Istanbul with Harry Saltzman, plus the director and the art director. I wish more engineers and technically literate people wrote history books.On another aspect of this same narrow-minded attitude, I could never understand the opposition so many writers showed in respect of the word processor when it first appeared.