‘Charlie Muffin was an anachronism. Past his prime, overtired and hung over, he was about as far from the traditional espionage agent as it was possible to get’
Charlie M (Charlie Muffin) – By Brian Freemantle
Charlie Muffin is not your ordinary spy, in this first ever round table episode of the Spybrary Podcast, we deep dive into Brian Freemantle’s shall we say, rather unusual spy.
On Episode 10 of Spybrary we move away from he familiar works of Le Carre, Deighton and Fleming to discuss the first Charlie Muffin written by Brian Freemantle.
This weeks round table guests, ‘Spybrarians’ Jeff Westhoff, Jeff Quest and Spybrary host Shane Whaley share their thoughts and musings on the novel Charlie M as well as the 1979 movie adaptation.
- We talk about the characters both good and bad, who did we like and dislike. What were their motivations and personalities?
- We run through the plot and look at some of the common themes of the book included Charlie Muffin’s ‘inverted snobbery’ and the rivalry between the CIA and the British secret service?
- We look at the notion that the KGB always look after their own.
- Good thriller writers embed hidden clues, slipping them in almost in passing. Did we pick them out, or were we…clueless? Did we get outwitted by Charlie Muffin?
- Were there any red herrings to throw us off the scent?
- We talk about the twist and turns in Charlie M, be warned there are spoilers. Jeffrey Westhoff even spoils the end of the next book (yes there were more Charlie Muffin books, Freemantle wrote 16 Muffin novels. I am up to the 6th one ‘Blind Run’ and can recommend them.)
- Are the twists and turns in Charlie M plausible?
- We discuss the big ending and the massive twist. Was it credible? Should we have spotted it? Listen in and find out why Spywrite’s Jeff Quest was not totally satisfied at the finale.
- What did we think of Brian Freemantle’s writing style. How does it compare to Le Carre and Deighton?
- We review the 1979 movie adaptation of Charlie M titled ‘A Deadly Game’ starring David Hemmings and produced by Euston Films.
Who is Brian Freemantle?
Brian Freemantle is an author and journalist who was twice approached to be a KGB spy, survived a machine gun ambush in Vietnam – from where he saved the lives of 100 orphans days before Saigon fell to North Vietnamese communist forces – and escaped a murder contract taken out by a Colombian drugs lord.
He’s published 96 books, 18 of them featuring his internationally acclaimed anti-hero Charlie Muffin: Red Star Falling, published in June 2013, completes the trilogy Red Star Rising, Red Star Burning and Red Star Falling. (Taken from his website.)
Today’s guest Jeff Quest has written more about the Charlie Muffin books on his Spywrite blog!
If you enjoyed today’s show please consider leaving us a review on Itunes.
Jeff Quest, Jeffrey Westhoff and Shane would love to hear your thoughts on Charlie Muffin, join in the fun on our Spybrary Facebook Group.
Links and Resources mentioned in this episode of Spybrary Spy Podcast
You can also watch this movie on Youtube
Full list of Charlie Muffin books
Brian Freemantle Author Page on Amazon (check out the video with the man himself.)
Goodbye to an Old Friend by Brian Freemantle
Spywrite – website of Jeff Quest
Follow Jeff Quest on Twitter for spy reviews and spy novel bargains. (I have saved myself a fair few dollars with his keen eye for a good deal!)
Jeffrey Westhoff Official Site
Follow Jeffrey Westhoff on Twitter