The Quiller Memorandum
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Quiller Memorandum (Quiller #1)

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  634 ratings  ·  48 reviews
This well-drawn tale of espionage is set in West Berlin, 15 years after the end of WW II. Quiller, a British agent who works without gun, cover or contacts, takes on a neo-Nazi underground organization and its war criminal leader. In the process, he discovers a complex and malevolent plot, more dangerous to the world than any crime committed during the war.

On its publicati

Mass Market Paperback
Published 1966 by Pyramid Books (first published 1965)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
88th out of 533 books — 589 voters
The Black Echo by Michael ConnellyThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréEye of the Needle by Ken FollettThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythIn the Woods by Tana French
Edgar Award Winners
41st out of 80 books — 109 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 983)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Adam Hall is the careful, meticulous, and patient author of the interesting character/spy, "Quiller". The series of unorthodox novels built around Quiller are extremely odd, as far as espionage fiction runs. 'The Quiller Memorandum' (first in the sequence) was published in 1966 and it was just not common at that time, for an author to make a point of flaunting his own genre's conventions. But his "Quiller" --a cynical and jaded free-lance agent--does just that. As rogue-ish as Len Deighton's 'Ha...more
No gun.
No codebook.
No suicide pills.
No family.
No friends.
No name.
No flashy cars.
No ejector seats.
No hidden compartments.
No gadgets.
No remorse.

Next to Quiller, James Bond is a cautions old lady.

Originally published in the mid-1960s, the story is a product of it's time .. Berlin, The Wall, Cold War, still enough Nazis alive for war crimes trials to continue.

It's not written like a spy novel, though. It's more lyrical than the usual hard edges and steely glares that are strewn through adventur...more
The Berlin Memorandum, or The Quiller Memorandum as it is also known, is the first book in the twenty book Quiller series, written by Elleston Trevor under the pen name of Adam Hall. The Quiller series is highly regarded by the spy-fiction community, and as strange as it may seem – because I have had most of the books for years – I have never actually read them. I thought it was time to rectify that oversight, and start at the very top.

As the novel begins, we meet Quiller at the theatre. His eve...more
Scott E
aka: The Quiller Memorandum... the first in a series of 19 Quiller books.

The Quiller Memorandum is detail rich on what it means to be a (fictional) spy. While maintaining a strong narrative, Adam Hall also details such processes as how to deal w/ a tail (not just how to spot one, but how to lead one on, double back on said tail, etc.). Quiller also uses his training to determine what drugs are administered to him during an interrogation, which in turn allows him to know how long he's been under...more
Cliff Scovell
A crisply written story that captured my attention from beginning to end. I was really surprised, because I don't usually like books written during the 50s or 60s. The protagonist, Quiller, is not a superhuman, like the James Bond types, nor does he have a satchel full of fancy electronic tricks up his sleeve. That makes the story much more believable, and Adam Hall's writing style kept me engaged. I read it in two evenings.

Cliff Scovell
I am listening to this on my ipod
Your name is Quiller. You are the hero of an extraordinary novel that shows how a spy works, how messages are coded and decoded, how contacts are made, how a man reacts under the influence of truth drugs, and that traces the story of a vastly complex, entertaining, convincing, and sinister plot.
This was an entertaining and interesting storyline and I enjoyed it very much.
This is an espionage series that started in the '60's and ran through the '90's. The Wall Street Journal said it was one of the best espionage/spy series of all time. This was the first book, and I liked it. The book is more focused on thinking as a spy and I found it to be very realistic. I enjoyed the book.
I read a few of these many years ago when they first came out. I recently found and purchased all 19 of the series in hardback and read them serially. The novels are esoteric thrillers, very cerebral and highly recommended.
This spy novel about neo-Nazis 1960's Berlin seemed dated and a little stilted to me. But good enough to hold my interest till the end.
Adam Hall (one of Elleston Trevor' many pseudonyms) wrote many classic spy stories, and this one is considered one of his best. Apparently, it was made into a classic movie and there is even a website compiled by Trevor devotees. He was the author of Flight of the Phoenix which became a really great movie. His Quiller books have been compared favorably to Le Carre' novels although the first was written before Le Carre' Trevor himself has noted the similarity but claims his Quiller is much less i...more
Martin Hill
Quiller Memorandum

Twenty years after the fall of the Third Reich, West Berlin remains infested with ex-Nazis. Quiller, an undercover Nazi hunter for British intelligence, reluctantly accepts an assignment to uncover a Nazi organization called Phoenix and learn their plans for starting a non-nuclear World War III that would bring the Reich back to power. Two fellow agents have already died trying to accomplish this objective, and Quiller's superiors are quite certain he will be the third.

This is...more
You are a secret agent working for the British in Berlin. You are due to go home on leave, but you are being followed-by your own people, or by the enemy. A man meets you in the theater and briefs you on a plot to revive the power of Nazi Germany. You do not believe him, but you remember that one of the suspects mentioned was a senior SS officer you met with in the days when you were working as a spy in Nazi Germany. The next day you make contact with a beautiful girl wh...more
Written in a minimalist style, but operatic in its events. Quiller is a black box character, a spy whose constant refrain, as he evaluates his back-against-the-wall options is "No go." Being shot at by Nazis? Need to get out the back way, but it's barred? "No go." Lady tries to seduce you but you know she's a double agent? "No go."

There's some gender trouble here, as you might expect from a Bond-James-Bond novel written by a man in 1965. There's also some very earnest Freudian-izing, which cont...more
Decent 60's spy thriller featuring cerebral British agent Quiller, that is sophisticated enough to have held up rather well after 50 years. This is the first in a series of about 20 books. Hall's writing style is a bit idiosyncratic and it takes a bit to get into, but once I did I found the style engaging in that everything is not spelled out for the reader, you have to pay attention and connect some of the dots yourself.

James Bond comparisons are inescapable. Quiller is far more cerebral than...more
Sean Brennan
A genre that the British excelled during the sixties with Smiley, and Harry Palmer must also be added Quiller. What makes this book slightly different is that it explained the extradinary field craft employed by these exceptional people a marvellous tale.

The story itself concerned with the bringing to justice of Nazi's and the efforts taken to supress that most inhuman of ideologies is just as poignant today as when this book was written almost 50 years ago. Chilling.
It's hard to believe this book won the Edgar for Best Novel, against books by Mary Stewart, Len Deighton, Ross MacDonald, Dorothy Salisbury Davis, and H.R.F. Keating. It certainly held my interest, partly because it was set in Berlin and even mentioned the street I lived on several times. But the writing was sloppy and there was a wholly superfluous section on decoding a cipher, which wasn't even believable. It was interesting to me that in 1965 (when I also happened to be living in Germany as a...more
Hella Comat
This book won best novel of 1966 - it's a spy story set in Berlin in the early 60s when the Nazis we're trying to regroup as an underground organization. It was a great insight into spy methods of that era with none of the technology of today. They relied on their memories and intellect and strategy.
Published in 1965. Adam Hall is a pseudonym for a Bristish author who wrote some of the books in the series but some of them, I believe, were written by several authors.
This is an espionage series. It is gritty and hard, along the lines of LeCarre but without the complex plot and multiple deep characters.
Quiller is a a field Agent. He is tough, cold, fast, dependable as long as his Handler stays out of his way but covers his back.
One of the things that appealed to me was his description of his p...more
Edgar Award winner for 1966 -- Quiller is the codename for a British operative who prefers to work completely alone while tracking down and bringing to court high-ranking Nazi fugitives. While this basic premise is nothing new as far as the fiction I've been lately seeking out, the period in which the book was written makes it a special case. Only 20 years since the end of WWII, and smack in the midst of the Cold War, author Adam Hall's introduction to Quiller comes across as very contemporary i...more
Ignacio Fernandez
Good reading for leisure time. Rich in vocabulary with a complex spying old fashion maneuvers. It turns into a very attractive reading for those who loves intrigue and espionage cold war fashion.
Andy Lawless
Of all the spy books that I have read, this series is probably the best, for it uses real trade craft instead of relying on a lot of fancy gadgets.

This book won the Edgar for Best Novel in 1966 and the series has been compared favorably to John Le Carré's Smiley.

Under the pseudonym "Adam Hall", Trevor Dudley-Smith wrote the Quiller spy novel series, beginning with The Berlin Memorandum (US: The Quiller Memorandum, 1965), a hybrid of glamour and dirt, Fleming and Le Carré. The writing is litera...more
I had a really hard time getting through this book which was surprising since I usually enjoy espionage books written during the sixties. This book won the Edgar for Best Novel in 1966 and the series has been compared favorably to John Le Carré's Smiley but I found the plot hard to follow and the characters poorly drawn. Luckily it was short and had a pretty decent ending but I doubt that I will read further books in the series.
Jason W Miller
This is a very well written and entertaining novel. I found the pace and rhythm of the writing to be especially compelling. I really enjoyed the writing, the plot, and the characters. I learned after reading this book that there are 14 books in this series by the same author. I tried to read the second book but it fell flat for me and so I won't be attempting the others. But this book clearly stands alone. I hope you like the dialogue as much as I did.
Rather paranoid-like in its' writing. But then again .... isn't a lot of Cold War spy-work rather paranoid? The paranoia makes the story a bit dense but navigatable.
Came away a tad bit disappointed with this one. Quiller himself is an interesting character and the how-to-really-be-a-spy stuff is fun (didactic but still fun). However, the rest of the story is filled out by thinly-sketched characters, poor transitions (how I hate those), a meandering plot and a version of 60s West Berlin that is decidedly lacking in atmosphere. Glad I gave the series a shot but I don't think I'll be back for round 2.
Began well, got muddy towards the end. I found Quiller more compelling than Smiley (who has yet to draw me in, but I intend to give another chance) -- he seems to be a more human man, built by experience and a strong moral center. But the other characters were hollow, and Quiller vacillated on his perception of one (maybe the author was anxious to hide the truth from the reader?) -- it deteriorated.
Been on a kick to read a lot of the classic spy novels so of course I had to check this out. I can see why it won the Edgar for best novel in 1966. It was really good and I look forward to more Quiller. Of the few classic spy novels I have read so far as part of this drive, it is the best. I rank Quiller up there with Bond and Helm for me.
Larry Loftis
I read on a spy genre blog that Adam Hall was the best. I agree. This book was amazing. Fast, tight, and spiced with a nice twist/reversal at the end. The prose is outstanding, although a bit unique and often tightly clipped. His spycraft is well done and the cliffhangers keep you turning pages. Loved it.
I'm sorry. These books have their fans and more power to,them. But stream of consciousness and (for me) endless metaphor and poetizing come out as overwrought. The fellow has writing skills, and these are on display, making this more than just an airport rack thriller -- but ultimately too much more for me.
Laura Hoffman Brauman
Very well done spy novel. It won the Edgar Award in 1966 when it was written. Story of a British spy working to find Nazi war criminals in Berlin. This was the first in a series -- and now I'll have to go back and read them all. More books on my list than I have time to read!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 32 33 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Assignment in Brittany
  • Running Blind
  • Funeral in Berlin
  • Beast In View
  • Second Violin (Inspector Troy, #6)
  • Firefox (Mitchell Gant, #1)
  • The Last Frontier
  • The Light of Day
  • Daddy
  • Silesian Station (John Russell, #2)
  • The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America's Greatest Female Spy
  • The Defection of A.J. Lewinter
  • The Quiet Twin
  • Death and the Joyful Woman (Felse, #2)
  • Lore (Movie Tie-in Edition)
  • The File: A Personal History
  • The Four Just Men  (The Four Just Men #1)
  • A Cold Red Sunrise (Porfiry Rostnikov, #5)
Author also wrote as Elleston Trevor.

Author Trevor Dudley-Smith was born in Kent, England on February 17, 1920. He attended Yardley Court Preparatory School and Sevenoaks School. During World War II, he served in the Royal Air Force as a flight engineer. After the war, he started writing full-time. He lived in Spain and France before moving to the United States and settling in Phoenix, Arizona. In...more
More about Adam Hall...
Tango Briefing Ninth Directive The Striker Portfolio Quiller Quiller's Run

Share This Book

“A gun is psychologically a penis-substitute and a symbol of power: the age-range of toy-shop clientele begins at about six or seven, rises sharply just before puberty and declines soon after the discovery of the phallus and its promise of power. From then on, guns are for kids and for the effete freaks and misfits who must seek psycho-orgasmic relief by shooting pheasants.” 3 likes
More quotes…