Last month Mrs M’s Uncle A passed away. He was eighty-something, a man of his generation – ie very set in his ways about the role of women in his and everyone’s life, and very definite about his taste in music (strictly classical) and books.
The latter consisted of mainly what I think of as old-fashioned thrillers – where men were men and women knew their place. Which is not to denigrate that sort of writing – as a sixty-something person I grew up with Ian Fleming in print and on screen and still read/watch the best of it. Uncle A also enjoyed more contemporary writers who admittedly write in that passé manner – Lee Child, Daniel Silva and so on. We would occasionally swap books and on the occasions when we saw each other – usually family birthdays and occasions – it was a good conversation to have with him. He was a bit of a grumpy old bugger but I quite liked him and we got on well.
Anyway, a few weeks ago Mrs M’s aunt delivered a bagful of aforementioned old-fashioned thrillers to our house. About a dozen books by two of Uncle A’s favourite authors from earlier eras, A.J. Quinell and Charles McCarry. I have read one by AJQ and am struggling to finish the one by CM.
A.J Quinell – “The Perfect Kill” (1992) – the main character is one Marcus Creasy who appeared in his first and most successful book “Man On Fire”. Creasy is an experienced operator, I don’t want to give any spoilers but his motivation is personal, and ruthless. It’s very well written, and I was absolutely taken in by the whole exotic scenario – ex-Foreign Legion chap lives on a Mediterranean island and…well, read it.
Charles McCarry – “The Better Angels” (1979) – the reason I’m taking so long over this is basically the small print (note to self – don’t do this again) but also I started reading it just as the whole lockdown thing started so there have been Netflix etc distractions. Also, I’m really not much of a reader. Anyway, this is really superbly written – it’s a political thriller set in the 70s, and of course there are comparisons with the world today. Again, don’t want to give spoilers.
But the whole thing of reading these books has reminded me that there was a time when thrillers were just that – thrilling stories about people, without the internet, computers, CCTV and so on.
Any other recommendations?