Book Review: The Spy Who Inspired Me by Stephen Clarke

Book Review: The Spy Who Inspired Me by Stephen Clarke
Are you ready for a good binge read? That’s exactly what will happen with Stephen Clarke’s new espionage thriller The Spy Who Inspired Me. Once you dive in, you’re swept into the volatile current. You can’t stop until the grand finale and you know all the secrets — or, at least, until you accept the fact that you will never know everything. After all, it’s a spy novel. Settling in with a good book — or succumbing to Netflix and Hulu addiction — have earned meaningful roles in our new normal of confinement and curfew. It’s a welcome diversion to be transported to April 1944 and a World War II adventure that’s part history, part wry British humor, and part revenge tribute to Ian Fleming and the political incorrectness of the early James Bond novels. Netflix on tv. © Mollie Sivaram, Unsplash This is no ordinary spy story. And it’s certainly not about Ian Fleming. The main character is Ian Lemming (an impenetrable alias). “There is no ‘F’ in Lemming,” Clarke (and his lawyers) insist. Lemming is a British Intelligence Officer who spends most of his time at a desk and appreciates the finer things in life — a sensual understanding of wine, the advantages of private clubs and attentive service, the lure of elegant cars, the undeniable nourishment of cigarettes from a silver cigarette case (both Lemming and Fleming were heavy smokers), and an appreciation of beautiful women, especially when they succumb to his intelligent banter and charm, as, he believes, they always do. The young and beautiful mission-oriented spy who baffles, challenges, and ultimately inspires Lemming is Margaux Lynd (not to be confused with the original Bond girl in Casino Royale named Vesper Lynd). She is someone that men look at with “a mixture of lust and respect.” James bond illustration. © Shutterstock Since Fleming’s novels often portrayed women as untrustworthy and the ultimate betrayers, Clarke seeks his revenge by making his heroine the star (a heartfelt ode to the power of women). Margaux shows her prowess and fearless dedication throughout the mission.

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Meredith Mullins is an internationally exhibited fine art photographer and instructor based in Paris. Her work is held in private and museum collections in Europe and the U.S. and can be seen at or in her award-winning book "In A Paris Moment." (If you’re in Paris, a few rare, signed copies are available at Shakespeare and Company and Red Wheelbarrow.) She is a writer for OIC Moments and other travel and education publications.