Publishers on both sides of the pond for Dame Stella Rimington have been busy lately. Former MI5 boss Rimington's second Liz Carlyle spy novel, Secret Asset, came out as a trade paperback from Vintage in the States last month with a classy cover that would appropriately fit in well on a shelf of Le Carré novels. This paves the way for the U.S. hardcover debut of her third and most recent Carlyle novel, Illegal Action, on July 1 from Knopf. Illegal Action, more even than her first two novels, seems ripped directly from the latest headlines, to use an apt cliché. Dealing with deadly poisons and a plot to assassinate a Russian expatriate and vocal Putin opponent living in London, the book was especially timely when its U.K. publication last year coincided with deteriorating relations between Russia and Britain following the late 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko.
Even though Americans remain a year behind on her books, Dame Stella hasn't been resting on her laurels. Her fourth Liz Carlyle novel, Dead Line, is due out in the U.K. in October with a cover that would have been more appropriate on an 80s paperback. (And I kind of like it for that reason!) There's no U.S. publication date for that yet, of course, but I do hope that Knopf manages to catch up eventually, since her novels are all so topical!
For those who have yet to discover what an amazing novelist this former spook's turned out to be, I recommend starting her her first book, At Risk.