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The publishers hated it.

By August 19, 2020September 9th, 2020No Comments

The cover of ‘The IPCRESS File’ by Len Deighton, that is.  Afraid the white dustjacket would get marked and dirty, sitting around in bookshops.

They needn’t have worried; the book sold out in 24 hours. And now, a signed first edition with clean dustjacket will set you back $3,000.

The book didn’t just change the rules and conventions of spy fiction. Gone were the public school officer types, replaced by a bolshy working-class anti-hero with several chips on his shoulder. The 60s had arrived and nothing was ever going to be the same.

The dustjacket too was a revelation. Designed by Deighton’s friend, Raymond Hawkey, clean, elegant and superbly photographed, type and image spilt over onto the spine and onto the back cover. It was surely a major factor in the success of the novel, and though it’s been imitated, no one has ever bettered it.

For once, something has earned the phrase, ‘iconic’.

To find out more about Raymond Hawkey, visit Mike Dempsey’s excellent website, at


Akyl Borubaev, the hard-bitten Inspector of the Bishkek Murder Squad attempts to police the mysterious, unstable, corrupt state of Kyrgyzstan, where everyone lies and no one can be trusted.

‘A KILLING WINTER’, the first in the Akyl Borubaev series of crime novels, was called ‘Even better than Child 44’ by Anthony Horowitz, and ‘storytelling of the highest quality’ by the Daily Mail.
It was voted one of the top 40 novels of the past five years by the Sunday Times.

All four Borubaev novels are available as eBooks or paperbacks from Amazon –