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A washed-up spy in 1950s Iran, a memoir from Bob Mortimer and three-novellas-in-one from John Grisham

Bite-size reviews of new books by Tom Bradby, Shelby Van Pelt and others

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Tom Bradby, author of Yesterday's Spy

Tom Bradby, author of Yesterday's Spy

Yesterday’s Spy by Tom Bradbury

Yesterday’s Spy by Tom Bradbury

And Away by Bob Mortimer

And Away by Bob Mortimer

Sparring Partners by John Grisham

Sparring Partners by John Grisham

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

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Tom Bradby, author of Yesterday's Spy

Thriller: Yesterday’s Spy by Tom Bradby Bantam Press, 384 pages, hardcover €22; e-book £7.99

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Yesterday’s Spy by Tom Bradbury

Yesterday’s Spy by Tom Bradbury

Yesterday’s Spy by Tom Bradbury

A midnight phone call usually spells trouble, and for washed-up spy Harry Tower, the one that wakes him brings devastating news.

His idealist journalist son Sean, working as a foreign correspondent in strife-torn Iran, has gone missing after writing a damning exposé about corruption between the Iranian government and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company that controls the country’s hugely profitable oil industry.

It’s late summer in 1953, and Tehran is a hotbed of rumours of coups and counter-coups between the democratically elected left-leaning prime minister and the pro-Western monarch Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. Harry, who now realises his career with MI5 is over, decides that although he and Sean are estranged — his son blames him for his mother’s suicide — he will defy his bosses and search for his son in Iran.

He teams up with Sean’s girlfriend Shahnaz, whose well-connected father, General Salemi, had been the security minister in the Shah’s previous government, and go in search for Sean.

All the indications are that Sean is alive, but their efforts ruffle many feathers, particularly those of MI5 and the CIA. As they come closer to finding the answers they seek in the clerical-dominated wild interior of Iran, Harry and Shahnaz find themselves fighting for their lives.

A fascinating and powerful historical thriller of the highest order by the anchor of ITV’s News at Ten.
Myles McWeeney

Memoir: And Away by Bob Mortimer
Gallery UK, 352 pages, paperback €12.60; e-book £5.99

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And Away by Bob Mortimer

And Away by Bob Mortimer

And Away by Bob Mortimer

Life was good for one of Britian’s most high-profile comedians and then, in 2015, he was confronted with a heart condition that necessitated surgery. The traumatic episode forced Mortimer to take a long, hard look at his life and sowed the scenes for this very funny memoir that’s flecked with shadows.

He writes about his childhood in Middlesbrough and the loss of his father and how early adulthood was all about climbing the greasy pole — he was a solicitor on the up for much of the 1980s.

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It also recounts how a chance encounter in a pub with an upcoming comedian with the stage name of Vic Reeves set him on an entirely new path — and one he hasn’t deviated from since.
John Meagher

Novellas: Sparring Partners by John Grisham
Hodder & Stoughton, 320 pages, paperback €21; e-book £11.99

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Sparring Partners by John Grisham

Sparring Partners by John Grisham

Sparring Partners by John Grisham

John Grisham’s latest legal offering is actually three different novellas, but who could argue about getting three sparkling Grisham stories for the price of one? The first of the tales, Homecoming, features attorney Jake Brigance trying to ease the return to town of his disgraced pal Mack Stafford, who embezzled client’s funds, divorced his wife and mysteriously disappeared. In Strawberry Moon we meet Cody Wallace, a young death-row inmate three hours from his execution. With no appeals left, he has just one last wish — but will it be granted? In the title work, lawyer brothers Kirk and Rusty Malloy must overcome their mutual loathing to save their father’s firm. Appealing entertainment.
Myles McWeeney

Mystery: Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
Bloomsbury, 368 pages, paperback €19.60; e-book £7.13

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Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Marcellus is about as odd a detective as you could imagine. In the first place, he is non-verbal, and secondly, he lives in a large tank in Sowell Bay Aquarium.

Marcellus, who knows more than anyone could imagine, is a giant Pacific octopus. When he realises that Tova, the elderly lady who cleans the outside of his tank, is still in mourning for her teenage son who disappeared, feared drowned, 30 years ago, Marcellus suspects he knows what happened and must use every trick in his old invertebrate body to point her to the answer.

A winningly totally original feel-good mystery packed with memorable characters that, once started, demands to be finished.
Myles McWeeney


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