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Funeral in Berlin (Secret File #3)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  2,148 ratings  ·  58 reviews
FUNERAL IN BERLIN is a spellbinding tale of espionage and its counter in which double and triple crosses are common. Berlin with its infamous wall symbolized the Cold War as did no other place. It was like theatre, but is war for real.

"Len Deighton has always been fascinated with the Cold War in a way that could be called always feels that the intricacies o
Mass Market Paperback, 236 pages
Published 1965 by G. P. Putnam's Sons Inc. (first published 1964)
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I enjoyed this story. In some aspects, I had no idea what was going on, but at the same time, it didn't matter. This is a Cold War spy mystery, that meanders along to its ending but is so well-written, that it was a pleasure to read. The basic premise is that the main character, Harry Salzman, a British operative, is in Berlin trying to arrange for the smuggling of a British scientist from the East through the Berlin wall back to the West. But that is the story at its simplest. The tale wanders ...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in January 2004.

Because it is the main focus of the Bernard Samson novels, Berlin might appear to be something of an obsession with Deighton. It actually features remarkably rarely in his other novels, particularly considering its unique position during the Cold War as a bastion of the West surrounded by the Soviet bloc. It does, however, feature heavily in the third Harry Palmer novel, as the title obviously indicates.

The plot of Funeral in Berlin is apparen
Sairam Krishnan
A sparkling, racy, supersmart cold war spy story that packs more than a punch. Len Deighton is an acclaimed historian, and Funeral in Berlin owes much of its smart-as-hell real life references & accurate sense of time to that fact.

I enjoyed it immensely and I think this book has brought me back full circle to my old love for historically accurate and inspired genre novels. John Le' Carre, here I come again!
This was fun! Deighton overcooked at times – "we get it! Hallam's tight!" - but always enjoyable and not, thankfully, horribly confusing.

Additional excitement#1: a previous owner of my copy had used their 1/3d ticket for London bus route 137 as a bookmark.

Additional excitement#2: someone has scribbled out the name of the fireworks company on p. 232. I understand from wikipedia that there was a court case and this paragraph was removed from later editions.

"He was a big-boned man, his hair was cr
The saving grace of this book is Mr. Deighton's sense of humor. Really, it is the biggest reason to read this book. Dry, snappy, and very reminiscent of Joseph Heller, the humor makes it an entertaining book to read. The plot is okay, but I found it rather difficult to piece together exactly what was happening until dozens of pages later. Effectively, my understanding of the book was 20 or 30 pages behind where I was reading. Mr. Deighton seems to have had a desire to spring surprises slyly and ...more
I think this is the second of Len Deighton's spy novels that revolve around an unamed spy (he was given the name Harry Palmer in the films with Michael Caine).

Our hero is given an assignment that on the face of it is to bring a Soviet defector over to the west. Set in cold war era London, Berlin, Prague and the Franco Spanish borders what should have been a straight forward exctraction turns into a triple cross involving the MI6, KGB, MOSSAD, the West Germnan secret service, Nazis and Swiss Bank
A first class stylised spy thriller that brings cold war intelligence work in Europe (esp. Berlin) to life. One thing this book has, which always pleases me as a reader, is multi dimensional characters who act intelligently and, in this case, with the sly cunning a reader wants from professional intelligence agency operatives. If – like me – you are not a secret service agent (or a smarty pants), the expediency of these decisions is sometimes only apparent once the bigger picture is revealed; De ...more
I read this book whenever I have the flu. I love it. And I don't like the others of these series much at all. I first read it when I was twelve and fell in love with Deighton's light touch, and the narration is wonderfully wry. I adore Stok as much as Palmer, btw.

Occured to me that this is one of the important existential novels of the sixities. Sorry Sartre
Tom Greer
Funeral in Berlin is the second in the "Harry Palmer" trilogy and is perhaps the best as it's more believable than The Ipcress File or Billion Dollar Brain.

Deighton's writing here is well crafted and the Berlin scenes, both East and West, are well drawn and come to life.

A superior espionage thriller. Packed full of convincing detail and dry wit. A dense plot, but not so overwhelming that you'll get lost in it. Len Deighton's nameless protagonist is more charming than James Bond, just as smart as George Smiley and as cynical as a bullet in the back.
This is a spy classic. It's a clever read that will keep you thinking throughout. Small cheat since you never quite have enough information.

An enjoyable and quick read.
Another re-read. Well written, with rich and often amusing descriptions, great eye for detail.Cold War era spy classic which stands up well 50 years on.
This was fun--zany, not as serious as the Samson works. And, the real mystery is revealed only at the end.
"Αποστολή: Βερολίνο", εκδόσεις Τριάς.

Uber κλασικό κατασκοπευτικό μυθιστόρημα γραμμένο το 1964. Ενώ στην αρχή η υπόθεση φαίνεται εύκολη και απλή, μια μεταφορά ενός Ρώσου επιστήμονα από την Σοβιετική Ένωση, στο Ανατολικό Βερολίνο και μετά από κει στο Δυτικό Βερολίνο και έπειτα στο Λονδίνο, τελικά καταλήγει αλλού. Η όλη υπόθεση γίνεται περίπλοκη και ο αναγνώστης αφήνεται στον περίπλοκο κόσμο των κατασκόπων, του ψυχρού πολέμου, των κρυμμένων μυστικών, των παιχνιδιών εξουσίας, των διπλών πρακτόρων κα
The third in Len Deighton's 'nameless spy' series provides more witty, well-written, spy action. I enjoyed it more than its predecessors; its highs are higher, though it sags a little in the middle. Colonel Stok and Hallam are great fun. The climactic scenes are the best Deighton has yet written, action-packed, laugh-out-loud funny and sad all at once.

Jean, such a good character in The IPCRESS File, is barely present, and might have been better served by being absent entirely.

Deighton exercises
Nearly 50 years after it was written, this novel hardly shows its age. A few elements may appear dated but those can be attributed to the setting in time and place rather than style. The story meanders in the early sections which serves to make the plot more mysterious, so much so that at the end, it was necessary to recap the story to make sure the reader knew what it was all about. Deighton has a singular skill at crafting descriptive images which got in the way during the first half of the st ...more
I've had this book kicking around the shelves for awhile now I think because I had read Billion Dollar Brain somewhat recently. So I recently read a blog post from someone saying Funeral was an overlooked classic - therefore I dove right in.

I'm glad I did. Funeral In Berlin is one of Deighton's unnamed spy novels (Ipcress File, BDB, An Expensive Place To Die among others) many of which have been made into films starring Michael Caine as a spy named Harry Palmer. In this story our spy hero travel
Felix Hayman
The transition from the post war spy of Ian Fleming's novels to the cold war spy of John Le Carre's has often been overlooked because the star of Len Deighton has faded far too quickl,yet Len Deighton's "Berlin" novels were some of the most popular spy thrillers in the 1960's. Why? It seems that Deighton was able to streamline Fleming's obviously antiquated (by 1960's standards) prose into a more action oriented style, without losing the sense of post war paranoia in and around the Eastern and W ...more
Mar 29, 2012 rabbitprincess rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Deighton
Shelves: bibliotheque, 2012
This is the third of Len Deighton's "nameless hero" books, although they can also be referred to as the "Harry Palmer" books, after Michael Caine's portrayal of the narrator. I had previously tried the first of these books, The Ipcress File, but wasn't engaging with it. This one was easier for me to get into, perhaps because I knew from the outset that the narrator would not be referred to by name, or perhaps the story was more interesting.

Our hero is tasked with arranging the defection of a Sov
The best and worst part of this book was the narration. The recording wasn't great, and it was impossible at times to figure out what was being said. The narrator's British accent didn't help. That said, I loved the narrators accent and voice. His dry British accent complimented the book's dry sarcastic humor very well. It was incredibly easy to see him as the spy through whose eyes the story was told. The book had a way of keeping one step ahead of me the whole time - though it's possible that ...more
This is a brainy thriller, first published in 1964. It is set in post-war Berlin, probably the 1960's. There is a complex tangle of secret agents from the US, England, Germany and Russia. All are participating in an elaborate chess game, but only one has an end game that is unknown to the reader. I might have been able to figure things out better if I had understood more of the chess references, but I muddled along alright. Fast paced and interesting with some witty repartee.
Frank Hickey

This book is a dense pleasure to read.

Deighton seems to enjoy tricking and confusing us. And this reader likes it.

There are so many parts to this book that you can discover on a re-reading.

This reader doubts that anyone could get everything from just one reading.

The plot twists wonderfully and the research is never boring.

Age does not hurt this book. It enhances it.

-----Frank Hickey, writer of the Max Royster crime novels through Pigtown Books.
Sean Brennan
Along with Children's Literature, and The Whodunnit a genre where us Brits excel is the spy thriller. The aim of any great spy story which believe me this is one, is to leave The Reader completely confused, not sure what is going on, not know exactly who anybody is, who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, and most importantly to credit The Reader with a modicum of intelligence, which sadly the majority of thriller writers today are either unwilling or simply unable to achieve. This is a ...more
Chris Hayes
For most of the book I had no idea what was going on with the characters but it was tied up well towards the end. Really enjoyed the last 50 or so pages.
I was in the mood for a good cold war espionage thriller. Having not read any of Len Deighton's works, I arbitrarily picked this one up. It was just what the doctor ordered.
Morgan Wolfe
Funeral in Berlin is my first Len Deighton novel. I don't know why I waited decades to read it. :) I loved it. I plan to read the entire series.
Deighton skilfully conveys the tensions of cold war Berlin. I felt I lived the Checkpoint Charlie experience while reading this book.
As expected, I'm still pretty muddled over this book. I did enjoy the witty dialogue and dead on descriptions. I think Deighton must have been a closet poet. Perhaps he still is.
This is an excellent book, well written And with a well told story. Every bit as good as the English Patient.
A sarcastic, cool, Cold War classic: Len Deighton's style comes of age with the third Harry Palmer file.
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Goodreads Librari...: Alternate book cover 5 10 Aug 09, 2014 03:10AM  
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Deighton was born in Marylebone, London, in 1929. His father was a chauffeur and mechanic, and his mother was a part-time cook.After leaving school, Deighton worked as a railway clerk before performing his National Service, which he spent as a photographer for the Royal Air Force's Special Investigation Branch. After discharge from the RAF, he studied at St Martin's School of Art in London in 1949 ...more
More about Len Deighton...

Other Books in the Series

Secret File (7 books)
  • The Ipcress File (Secret File, #1)
  • Horse Under Water
  • Billion Dollar Brain
  • An Expensive Place to Die
  • Spy Story
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Spy
The Ipcress File (Secret File, #1) Berlin Game (Bernard Samson, #1) Mexico Set (Bernard Samson, #2) London Match (Bernard Samson, #3) SS-GB

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