Sunday, March 05, 2006

06.11 Game Without Rules by Michael Gilbert

Game Without Rules

Game Without Rules by Michael Gilbert
Pbk, 1967

The recent death this past year of Michal Gilbert has prompted me to look in to reading some more of his well respected fiction.

On the suggestion of Olman, I picked up a couple of books of his short stories featuring Mr. Calder and Mr. Behrens. These two gentlemen spies work for the British government during the post-war period basically running small domestic ops which require an unorthodox approach. The stories themselves are short examples of fantastic writing. There is often some intel regarding a spy or operative working within the country and these two are called upon by their spymaster whose cover is a bank manager.

Most of the stories involve secrets being passed on to the Soviets and the duo have to assess where the leak comes from and seal it. In many cases, this involves a discreet bit of assassination.
Mr Behrens said, raising his voice a little, 'If I were to lift my right hand a very well trained dog, who has been approaching you quietly from the rear while we were talking, would have jumped for your throat.'

The colonel smiled. 'Your imagination does you credit. What happens if you lift your left hand? Does a genie appear from a bottle and carry me off?'

'If I raise my left hand', said Mr Behrens, 'you will be shot dead.'

And, so saying, he raised it.

Michael Gilbert, CBE, lawyer and crime writer, was born on July 17, 1912. He died on February 8, 2006, aged 93.


Olman Feelyus said...

Fantastic quote, captures Gilbert's efficiency of writing and bad-ass characters. No flashiness, just serious, deadly intent. Nice cover too, is that the one you found physically?

Lantzvillager said...

No, I wish. I think that is the first edition. I just found a regular paperback - nothing fancy. Have you read this one? The last story is super tragic and sad.

Also got the other book, Mr. Calder & Mr Behrens.

Olman Feelyus said...

I'm confused. The quote comes from Mr. Calder and Mr. Behrens doesn't it? I wonder if some of the stories cross over (perhaps depending on british versus canadian editions).

I've read Game Without Rules only once I think because the ending is just so painful!

Crumbolst said...

Yet another writer I'd never heard of. It's like a whole new world for me at Mount Benson.