|Len Deighton is known to me as a writer of cold-war spy
thrillers, such as The IPCRESS File and its successors, so to discover that
he had written an alternative-history, detective thriller set in World War II London came
as a bit of a surprise.
SS-GB is that book; and a jolly fine, splendid
novel it is too. This is not your simple whodunit, set against an alternative history
backdrop. No this is a full on investigatory maze of a story, where only the geography and
the weather are as they first appear. There is double dealing within double dealing, with
occupying Germans conspiring against other occupying Germans and both parties aligning
with the British resistance. In the middle of all this Superintendent Douglas Archer is
under the impression he is solving a murder inquiry, but is being used as a pawn in a
four-sided chess match where the black and white pieces change side and occasionally
This was a master work in alternative-history and detective-cum-thriller fiction by an
author who really knows how to tell a story and keep you entertained to the bitter end. My
only problem with this book is finding something of a comparable standard to read next.