Egleton, Clive 1927–2006
Egleton, Clive 1927–2006
(Patrick Blake, Clive Frederick Egleton, John Tarrant)
PERSONAL: Born November 25, 1927, in Harrow, England; died March, 2006; son of Frederick and Rose Egleton; married Joan Evelyn Lane (an editor), April 9, 1949 (died, 1996); children: Charles, Richard. Education: Army Staff College, Camberly, Surrey, graduated, 1957. Politics: Conservative. Religion: Church of England. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, travel.
CAREER: British Army, trooper in Royal Armoured Corps, 1945–46; lieutenant and rifle platoon commander in Staffordshire Regiment in India, 1946–48; lieutenant and transportation officer in Japan, 1949–51; lieutenant and anti-tank platoon commander in Ireland and Germany, 1952; captain in Germany, Egypt, Libya, Cyprus, and England, 1953–59; major in England, Kenya, Uganda, and Germany, 1960–70; lieutenant colonel in Nottingham, England, 1970–75; retired as lieutenant colonel; writer, 1975–2006. Intelligence agent in Cyprus, 1955–56, the Persian Gulf, 1958–59, and East Africa, 1964. Civil servant, Ministry of Defence, 1981–89; Directorate of Security, British Army, 1981–89.
MEMBER: Crime Writers Association, Society of Authors.
A Dying Fall (originally published under different title), [England], 1972, Severn House (St. Albans, England), 2004.
The Bormann Brief, Coward McCann (New York, NY), 1974, published as The October Plot, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1974.
Skirmish, Coward McCann (New York, NY), 1975.
State Visit, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1976.
The Mills Bomb, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1978.
Backfire, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1979.
The Eisenhower Deception, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1981, published as The Winter Touch, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1981.
A Falcon for the Hawks, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1982.
The Russian Enigma, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1982.
A Conflict of Interests, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1983.
Troika, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1984.
A Different Drummer, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1985, Scarborough House (Chelsea, MI), 1990.
Picture of the Year, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1987.
Gone Missing, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1988, published as Missing from the Record, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1988.
Death of a Sahib, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1989.
In the Red, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1990.
Last Act, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.
A Double Deception, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1992.
The Alsos Mission, 1997.
Operation Sovereign, 1998.
Never Surrender, 2004.
The Sleeper (reprint of a previously published novel released under a different title), Severn House (St. Albans, England), 2005.
The Loner (reprint of a previously published novel released under a different title), Severn House (St. Albans, England), 2006.
The Presidential Affair 2007.
Egleton's novels have been published in France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Holland. Egleton's manuscripts are collected in the Mugar Memorial Library at Boston University.
"DAVID GARNETT" SERIES
A Piece of Resistance, Coward McCann (New York, NY), 1970.
Last Post for a Partisan, Coward McCann (New York, NY), 1971.
The Judas Mandate, Coward McCann (New York, NY), 1972, published as The Last Refuge, Severn House (St. Albans, England), 2006.
"PETER ASHTON" SERIES
Hostile Intent, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1993.
A Killing in Moscow, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1994.
Death Throes, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1995.
A Lethal Involvement, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.
Warning Shot, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1997.
Blood Money, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Dead Reckoning, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 1999.
The Honey Trap, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2001.
One Man Running, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 2001.
Cry Havoc, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2003.
Assassination Day, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2004.
The Renegades, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 2006.
NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM PATRICK BLAKE
Escape to Athena (novelization of screenplay), Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1979.
Double Griffin, Jove (New York, NY), 1981.
NOVELS; UNDER PSEUDONYM JOHN TARRANT
The Rommel Plot, Lippincott (Philadelphia, PA), 1977.
The Claubert Trigger, Macdonald & Jane's (London, England), 1978, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1979.
China Gold, MacDonald (London, England), 1982.
A Spy's Ransom, 2003.
The Stealing of Muriel McKay, Reader's Digest Association (Pleasantville, NY), 1978.
The Baldau Touch, Reader's Digest Association (Pleasantville, NY), 1981.
Perks and Parachutes: Negotiating Your Best Possible Employment Deal, Times Books, 1997.
ADAPTATIONS: Seven Days to a Killing was adapted for film as The Black Windmill, 1974; Dead Reckoning was adapted for audio cassette, read by Christopher Kay, ISIS, 2000.
SIDELIGHTS: The late Clive Egleton's novels capture the harshness and intrigue of the world of crime and international espionage. In his stories, terrible things happen to upstanding people, while the evil are rewarded for their manipulation and deception. These themes are consistent throughout his novels. "The innocent are tainted and the tainted white-washed," related a Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers contributor. "Yet Egleton's heroes remain men and women of conviction and courage, who act on conscience, even if it means disobeying authority." Readers find some of the same characters, usually leaders of intelligence agencies, reappearing in several books, and loyal fans of Egleton knew to expect the unexpected at the end of every story.
Egleton drew heavily on his own worldwide experiences with military and intelligence organizations. This enabled him to paint detailed pictures for his readers, full of realistic details and complicated politics. Troika, for example, dissects the inner workings of the KGB, the politburo, and the Red Army as they all battle to put their chosen man in power in the Kremlin. In Seven Days to a Killing, Major John Tarrant must try to save the life of his kidnapped son, who is at the mercy of not only the high-level defector who holds him captive but also of the intelligence agency for which Tarrant works. Tarrant's love for his son makes him suspect in the eyes of his employers.
In the Red examines British intelligence after the shocking defections of high-level officers. An accomplished agent fails to carry out one mission and behaves strangely in the course of another, drawing increasing suspicion from his superiors. The story globetrots from China to West Germany to the United States. Newgate Callendar, writing in the New York Times Book Review, noted that Egleton's books are less complicated than John Le Carre's but still well plotted. Callendar called Egleton "a fine stylist, writing with a certain amount of British reserve but never letting it interfere with hectic action and a straight, coherent story line."
Last Act is the story of Michael Kimber, from his term as a British officer trapped behind enemy lines during World War II to his post-war career as a Foreign Office agent. Frederick Busch, reviewing the novel in Tribune Books, praised Egleton's ability to portray a "convincing web among lovers, heroes and traitors." Liam Callanan, however, claimed in the New York Times Book Review that Egleton's A Lethal Involvement is so bogged down with detail and facts that the story suffers. He suggested that while the novel at first seems "to solve the spy genre's post-Cold-War predicament" (by finding new villains to replace Communists), it soon becomes convoluted.
Dead Reckoning, which was called a "powerful book by a highly skilled writer" by Library Journal reviewer Jo Ann Vicarel, features British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) agent Peter Ashton. Three women are found murdered in a London psychiatrist's office and one has been identified as Ashton's wife, Harriet. But Harriet is alive and well, and the SIS suspects her identity was stolen so that a database of confidential files could be accessed. The investigation takes Ashton from London to Berlin and New York to solve the three murders and a string of treacherous plots involving germ warfare, illegal arms sales, and political intrigue. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented on "the unrelenting wash of characterless operatives," but noted that there are "some good action sequences." Emily Melton, writing in Booklist, praised the book for "offering cryptic clues so complex that even the cleverest readers won't guess the answers."
A government messenger is kidnapped and brutally murdered while delivering secret documents to Costa Rica in The Honey Trap. British SIS agent Peter Ashton, called "smooth, likeable, bright and perfectly willing to ruffle the feathers of his superiors" by a Publishers Weekly contributor, investigates and uncovers a plot with ties to a terrorist organization and even to his own government. Booklist contributor Melton praised the "roller-coaster ride of a plot" and the book's "highspeed action." A Publishers Weekly contributor appreciated the "riveting dramatic passages" and an "investigative process both entertaining and informative."
In One Man Running agent Ashton's cover is compromised, and he and his family must be relocated to a safe house. But before the move can take place, the safe house is blown up, along with Ashton's new cover. Suspecting he may be at risk from someone within his own organization, Ashton investigates. A Publishers Weekly contributor praised the "dialogue that rings true" and observed that "homely details of trips on London's Underground and the roads of England and America bolster the novel's verisimilitude." The critic also called the novel "an elegant, spirited adventure."
Cry Havoc finds Ashton no longer a field operative but rather in an administrative post as head of intelligence in Eastern Europe. Nevertheless, he soon takes a hands-on approach to a spy's suspicious assassination and his former girlfriend Jill Sheridan's mysterious appearance in pornography movies after having been drugged. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the author's "staying power … is impressive." Another writer for Kirkus Reviews commented that Egleton "has proved that few can make reptilian bureaucratic intrigue as intriguing as he can." Ashton is investigating the murder of a London literary agent after the agent received a dead British spy's memoir in the novel Assassination Day. As Ashton delves into the murder, evidence begins to point to Jill Sheridan as having a hand in the matter. "Egleton uses his obvious insider knowledge of intelligence antics to keep his story mov-ing along briskly," attested a Publishers Weekly critic, while Harriet Klausner, writing on the All Readers Web site, called the novel "a terrific tale that is as much a police procedural as it is a spy story." The Renegades features Ashton on the trail of gunmen who have brutally killed four people in a London restaurant, including one of Ashton's colleagues. When a British foreign officer and his wife are later murdered and film of the killings is distributed, Ashton suspects jihadists. A Kirkus Reviews contributor wrote that "the characters are sharply drawn, and the bureaucratic back-biting will draw enough blood to satisfy expectant fans."
In addition to his thrillers featuring Peter Ashton, Egleton has had several of his novels from the 1970s reprinted with new titles for their first publication in the United States, including novels from his "David Garnett" series, which features an alternative history story. In The Last Refuge, first published in England in the 1970's as The Judas Mandate, England is occupied by Russia and David Garnett is asked by the resistance movement to help prevent a certain misguided group from taking over the government as Russia announces that it will soon be leaving. The plot involves Garnett smuggling several people to the United States so they can set up an exile government. Emily Melton, writing in Booklist, commented: "A knuckle-whitening ending makes for edge-of-the-seat reading."
A Dying Fall is another thriller that was published under a different title in the 1970s in England and appeared for the first time in the United States in 2005. With his assassination attempt on Hitler failed, a German major-general flees to England and plots to assassinate one of Hitler's top subordinates. English officials, however, are suspicious of the plan, but not Lieutenant Colonel Michael Ashby, who, despite a lack of respect from his colleagues, forms a team to carry out the plot. A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that the author "has always been able to make quiet heroism engrossing." Other reprinted novels with new titles include The Sleeper and The Loner. Melton, writing again in Booklist, called the former "a cleverly crafted, gripping, fast-paced story" and, in another review, noted that The Loner has a "high-octane plot, taut pacing, and all the twists and turns that one expects."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Armchair Detective, fall, 1993, review of Hostile Intent, p. 103.
Booklist, August, 1994, Emily Melton, review of A Killing in Moscow, p. 2026; April 1, 1995, Emily Melton, review of Death Throes, p. 1380; August, 1996, Emily Melton, review of A Lethal Involvement, p. 1885; May 15, 1997, Emily Melton, review of Warning Shot, p. 1566; August, 1998, Emily Melton, review of Blood Money, p. 1974; September 15, 1999, Emily Melton, review of Dead Reckoning, p. 236; December 1, 2000, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of Dead Reckoning, p. 104; February 15, 2001, Emily Melton, review of The Honey Trap, p. 1118; May 15, 2004, Emily Melton, review of Never Surrender, p. 1600; July, 2005, Emily Melton, review of The Sleeper, p. 1905; February 1, 2006, Emily Melton, review of The Last Refuge, p. 32; July 1, 2006, Emily Melton, review of The Loner, p. 36.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2002, review of One Man Running, p. 456; July 1, 2003, review of Cry Havoc, p. 873; July 1, 2004, review of Assassination Day, p. 593; January 1, 2005, review of A Dying Fall, p. 6; February 1, 2006, review of The Last Refuge, p. 99, and review of The Renegades, p. 112.
Library Journal, May 15, 1997, Stacy Reasor, review of Warning Shot, p. 100; October 15, 1999, Jo Ann Vicarel, review of Dead Reckoning, p. 104; March, 1, 2001, Rex Klett, review of The Honey Trap, p. 134.
New York Times Book Review, November 20, 1983, Newgate Callendar, review of A Conflict of Interests, Section 7, p. 41; November 6, 1988, Newgate Callendar, review of Missing from the Record, p. 29; September 16, 1990, Newgate Callendar, review of In the Red, p. 26; January 13, 1991, Newgate Callendar, review of A Different Drummer, p. 29; July 28, 1991, Newgate Callendar, review of Last Act, p. 15; June 27, 1993, Newgate Callendar, review of Hostile Intent, p. 17; August 28, 1994, Newgate Callendar, review of A Killing in Moscow, p. 25; September 1, 1996, Liam Callanan, review of A Lethal Involvement, p. 16; August 16, 1998, David Murray, review of Blood Money, Section 7, p. 17.
Observer (London, England), December 9, 1984, review of Troika, p. 23; November 17, 1985, review of A Different Drummer, p. 30; January 18, 1987, review of Picture of the Year, p. 23.
Publishers Weekly, October 5, 1990, review of A Different Drummer, p. 90; June 7, 1991, review of Last Act, p. 54; May 24, 1993, review of Hostile Intent, p. 71; June 27, 1994, review of A Killing in Moscow, p. 56; March 6, 1995, review of Death Throes, p. 59; July 1, 1996, review of A Lethal Involvement, p. 43; May 12, 1997, review of Warning Shot, p. 58; July 27, 1998, review of Blood Money, p. 54; October 11, 1999, review of Dead Reckoning, p. 58; January 15, 2001, review of The Honey Trap, p. 55; May 6, 2002, review of One Man Running, p. 37; July 14, 2003, review of Cry Havoc, p. 60; July 19, 2004, review of Assassination Day, p. 145; January 2, 2006, review of The Renegades, p. 38; January 30, 2006, review of The Last Refuge, p. 41.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), July 28, 1991, Frederick Busch, review of Last Act, p. 7; May 21, 1995, review of Death Throes, p. 7; October 11, 1999, review of Dead Reckoning, p. 58; January 15, 2001, review of The Honey Trap, p. 55; May 6, 2002, review of One Man Running, p. 37.
All Readers, http://www.allreaders.com/ (October 6, 2006), Harriet Klausner, reviews of Assassination Day and Cry Havoc.
David Higham Associates Web site, http://www.davidhigham.co.uk/ (October 6, 2006), brief profile of Clive Egleton.