The Spy’s Bedside Book

Illustrated by Nick Hardcastle

Introduced by Stella Rimington

Preface by Graham Greene

Edited by Graham Greene & Hugh Greene

Graham and Hugh Greene expose the clandestine world of espionage in The Spy’s Bedside Book,  illustrated with the meticulous and mysterious drawings of Nick Hardcastle.

£29.95
£29.95
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Graham Greene worked for MI6 during the Second World War; his brother Hugh was a foreign correspondent and one of the last Allied journalists to leave Berlin in 1939, so they knew the spying game from within. First published in 1957, at the height of the Cold War, the Greene brothers’ thrilling anthology of fiction, memoir and reportage inhabits the shadows of cloak-and-dagger paranoia. East German intelligence, believing they had stumbled upon trade secrets, promptly ordered 100 copies of the book.

Production Details

Bound in blocked buckram
Set in Goudy
288 pages
Frontispiece and 42 black & white integrated illustrations
Plain slipcase
8˝ x 5 ¾˝ 

A world where fact is stranger than fiction

‘I fear England will be infested with alien agents who have learned their trade from this revealing and mischievous compilation.’

  1. London Evening News

As Stella Rimington, the first female head of MI5, reminds us in her introduction, nowhere is it harder to distinguish truth from fiction than in espionage. After all, what could be more ludicrous than Sir Robert Baden-Powell capering around the Balkans with a butterfly net, secreting the plans of fortifications in his sketchbook? Yet it happened, along with a host of other real-life exploits of agents, from Major André in the American Revolution, to Mata Hari in the First World War and Walter Schellenberg in the Second. We learn the hazards of spies’ lives and the tricks of their trade: how to hide messages in a hard-boiled egg and why it is wise to add pepper to your vodka when in Russia.

Aside from the incredible true stories, no book of espionage would be complete without such glamorous fictional heroes as Duckworth Drew, Richard Hannay and James Bond. Their impeccable suits, armoured attaché cases and suave countenances, are burned into popular imagination. Drew, trussed and bound in a sealed room with only an exploding oil lamp for company, still finds a way to escape, while Bond unscrews a tube of shaving cream to ‘reveal the silencer for the Beretta’.

A popular classic is back on the bookshelves

Such has been the enduring popularity of this edition that this is our sixth printing, and the incredible tales of daredevil antics, bravado, dexterity and cunning can be enjoyed again by all armchair spies. The Guardian, The Times, Oxford University Press and Penguin are just a few of the titles and publishers for whom the talented Nick Hardcastle has illustrated for, as well as working with Folio on previous editions. His realistic style is highly detailed and his illustrations evoke the dark and daring clandestine world of espionage brilliantly. When it came to commissioning the introduction, we immediately thought of the former Director General of MI5, Stella Rimington, who has the ideal credentials to talk about the extracts and exploits included in this compendium.  

About Graham Greene

Henry Graham Greene was born in 1904 into a influential Hertfordshire family, his mother the cousin of Robert Louis Stevenson. After leaving Balliol College, Oxford, where he published his first book of poetry, Greene began a newspaper career as a sub-editor on The Times, leaving to write full-time after his first novel, The Man Within, was published in 1929. His first major success was Stamboul Train (1932), the first of his novels to be adapted for film. During the Second World War, he worked for MI6 in Sierra Leone, where he set his novel The Heart of the Matter, which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. Greene wrote more than 25 novels, including Brighton Rock (1938), The End of the Affair (1951), Our Man in Havana (1958) and The Comedians (1966). In 1986, he was appointed to the Order of Merit. He died in 1991.

About Hugh Greene

Hugh Greene was a British journalist and television executive. Greene was Director General of the BBC from 1960 to 1969 and then became a BBC governor until 1971. In 1964 Greene was knighted, and in 1985 he was awarded the Eduard Rhein Ring of Honor from the Eduard Rhein Foundation.

About Stella Rimington

Stella Rimington was the first woman to become Director General of the Security Service, a post that she held from 1992 to 1996. Rimington was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1996, and published her autobiography, Open Secret, in 2001.

About Nick Hardcastle

Nick Hardcastle studied illustration at the Royal College of Art and graduated in 1981. Since then he has worked continuously as an artist and illustrator, with clients across advertising, design, publishing, exhibition displays and editorial. He primarily works in pen and ink and watercolour, in order to deliver a high level of detail and realism to each commission. Hardcastle illustrated The Folio Book of Humorous Anecdotes (2005).

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