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Thursday 26 October 2023

‘A Spy Alone’ by Charles Beaumont

Published by Canelo,
26 October 2023.
ISBN: 978-1-80436478-9 (PB)

This is a superlative Spy novel written by a former M16 operative in war zones, on diplomatic missions and international business. 

This is Charles Beaumont's first novel and is clearly written with a lifetime of experience and knowledge of the workings of the Spy industry!  The premise of the novel is that although we are all familiar with the Cambridge Spies from the Fifties who were broken up after passing national secrets to the Soviets for years was it possible that there was a spy ring operating from Oxford? 

A thoroughly absorbing story of a former spy - Simon Sharman eking out a living in the private sector who is offered a commission to delve into the financial dealings of a mysterious Russian oligarch.  He jumps at this opportunity to redeem himself and the journey he takes in his investigation is both thrilling and believable.  The investigation takes him from Oxford to various sites of interest involving people deeply embedded in the British establishment.  There are moments of suspense, horror and sadness but also Simon comes across as a real person - neither a hero nor a failure but very human in his responses to the range of experiences he is faced with. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery and feel that the author could and should develop the character of Simon in further future stories.  I even felt I learned something of a world I previously was entirely ignorant of.  Well done!
Reviewer: Toni Russell


Charles Beaumont worked undercover as an MI6 operative in war zones, on diplomatic missions and in international business. His work spanned two decades and four continents. A Spy Alone is his first novel.

Toni Russell is a retired teacher who has lived in London all her life and loves the city.  She says, ‘I enjoy museums, galleries and the theatre but probably my favourite pastime is reading.  I found myself reading detective fiction almost for the first time during lockdown and have particularly enjoyed old fashioned detective fiction rather than the nordic noir variety.  I am a member of a book club at the local library and have previously attended literature classes at our local Adult Education Centre.  I am married with three children and five grandchildren.

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