Egleton, Clive (Frederick) 1927- (Patrick Blake, John Tarrant)
EGLETON, Clive (Frederick) 1927- (Patrick Blake, John Tarrant)
PERSONAL: Born November 25, 1927, in Harrow, England; son of Frederick and Rose (Wildman) Egleton; married Joan Evelyn Lane (an editor), April 9, 1949 (deceased, 1996); children: Charles, Richard. Education: Attended Haberdashers' Aske's School in London, 1938-1944; Army Staff College, Camberly, Surrey, graduated in 1957. Politics: Conservative. Religion: Church of England. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, travel.
ADDRESSES: Home and Office—Dolphin House, Beach House Lane, Bembridge, Isle of Wight PO35 5TA, England. Agent—John Farquharson Ltd., Bell House, Bell Yard, London WC2A 2JU, England.
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, retiring as lieutenant colonel; writer, 1975—. 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 (Army), 1981-89.
MEMBER: Crime Writers Association, Society of Authors.
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.
Seven Days to a Killing, Coward McCann (New York, NY), 1973, published as The Black Windmill, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1974.
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, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1990, 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.
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: A Peter Ashton Novel, St. Martin's Minotaur (New York, NY), 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.
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.
ADAPTATIONS: Seven Days to a Killing (also published as The Black Windmill,), was adapted for film as The Black Windmill, 1974; Dead Reckoning was adapted for audio cassette, read by Christopher Kay, ISIS, 2000.
SIDELIGHTS: 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," wrote Gina Macdonald in Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers. "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 know to expect the unexpected at the end of every story.
Egleton draws heavily on his own worldwide experiences with military and intelligence organizations. This enables 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 including Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean. 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 of the New York Times 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." However, Liam Callanan of the New York Times claimed 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, called a "powerful book by a highly skilled writer" according to Library Journal reviewer Jo Ann Vicarel, features Peter Ashton, British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) agent. 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 "some good action sequences." Emily Melton of 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 reviewer, investigates and uncovers a plot with ties to a terrorist organization and even to his own government. Emily Melton of Booklist praised the "roller-coaster ride of a plot" and the book's "high-speed action." A Publishers Weekly reviewer noted "riveting dramatic passages" and an "investigative process both entertaining and informative."
In One Man Running secret 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 reviewer praised "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." Publishers Weekly concluded by calling the novel "an elegant, spirited adventure."
Egleton has also published a few nonfiction titles, including Perks and Parachutes, a how-to book on employment negotiation.
Clive Egleton once told CA that he commutes daily to London, and that "the writing now gets done on the train from Portsmouth Harbour to Waterloo (London) Station, and vice versa." Egleton, who also writes novels under the names Patrick Blake and John Tarrant, earlier told CA: "With the exception of State Visit, all novels written under my own name have appeared in paperback in the United States. They have also 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.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1991.
Armchair Detective, fall, 1993, review of Hostile Intent, p. 103.
Booklist, 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.
Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2002, review of One Man Running, p. 456.
Library Journal, 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, 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; June 6, 1993, p. 62.
Publishers Weekly, June 27, 1994, p. 56; March 6, 1995, p. 59; 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.
Tribune Books (Chicago), 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.*