(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Bernard Samson was always the odd man out insofar as the British intelligence community was concerned. First there were his father’s alleged misdeeds and miscalculations and then his foreign upbringing. Although it was acceptable to spend some time at a foreign university, Samson was altogether far too continental. Furthermore, despite his manifold defects, Samson continued to behave as though he were completely normal and those around him were the aberrations. The man simply did not know his place.

Of course, Samson, with his above-average command of the German language and his coterie of nefarious acquaintances, might have attained a modicum of acceptance save for his wife Fiona. After all, when a person is already suspect, the defection of one’s wife into the ranks of the enemy is simply not very beneficial.

Admittedly, Fiona Samson returned to the side of the angels and the truth of the matter emerged. She had not, so it appeared, actually defected. She was actually part of a highly successful infiltration of the KGB. Nevertheless, Samson remained beyond the pale. He continued to ask uncomfortable questions and cast aspersions about his betters. He was a considerable embarrassment to all concerned.

Len Deighton began this series at the time when John LeCarre captured international success with his several novels about spies and spymasters. LeCarre, however, writes novels about spies while Deighton writes spy novels. This is not to say that one is better than the other per se, only that Deighton must be considered within the context of a particular genre. CHARITY is an exceptionally well-crafted work. It gathers up the loose threads of the previous works most effectively. Bernard Samson looks forward to a happy future.