Back in the 1990s, Oxford University Press published a series of anthologies collecting the “best” of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Spy Stories. All the books take a chronological approach. I enjoyed the fact-filled, insightful introductions to each story. All of the anthologies seem to feature more British writers than average, but that’s not a Bad Thing. Michael Cox chose some less than familiar stories for this anthology. And I liked Cox’s unconventional choice of Robert Sheckley’s “Citizen in Space,” one of my favorite SF stories. If you’re a fan of spy fiction, you’ll love this excellent collection. GRADE: A
Parker Adderson, Philosopher By Ambrose Bierce
The Red Carnation By Baroness Orczy
The Rider in the Dawn By Arthur Quiller-Couch
The Brass Butterfly By William Le Queux
Peiffer By A. E. W. Mason
Mr Collingrey, MP By Edgar Wallace
The Lit Chamber By John Buchan
The Reckoning with Otto Schreed By E. Phillips Oppenheim
Giulia Lazzari By W. Somerset Maugham
Judith By C. E. Montague
The Pigeon Man By Valentine Williams
Jumbo’s Wife By Frank O’Connor
Affaire de Coeur By W. E. Johns
Flood on the Goodwins By A. D. Divine
How Ryan Got Out of Russia By Lord Dunsany
A Patriot By John Galsworthy
A Double Double-Cross By Peter Cheyney
The Army of the Shadows By Eric Ambler
Citizen in Space By Robert Sheckley
Risico By Ian Fleming
Keep Walking By Geoffrey Household
Paper Casualty By Len Deighton
Signal Tresham By Michael Gilbert
Final Demand By John Wainwright
The Rocking-Horse Spy By Ted Allbeury
The Great Divide By William Haggard
A Branch of the Service By Graham Greene
Waiting for Mrs Ryder By Edward D. Hoch
Notes and Sources
Publisher’s Acknowledgements

10 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN BOOKS #391: THE OXFORD BOOK OF SPY STORIES Edited by Michael Cox

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    Nice one. I missed this collection – I’ve read more than half the authors at one point or another – so may have to buy one. (They are certainly available cheaply enough.)

  2. maggie mason

    One omission I noticed was Manning Coles, though perhaps they didn’t write short stories. I discovered him by accident. I’d finished my book during lunch and as I didn’t have a card game, went to the book exchange I’d started and found Basle Express. That was an instant winner for me, and laugh out loud funny. I was hooked. I have a complete set, but haven’t read many of them.

  3. R. Robinson

    I think I’ve read two or three, but that’s enough. They were good stories, but I’ve gravitated away from spy stories over the years. Funny how that happens, the way our reading tastes change with time and age.

  4. Cap'n Bob

    As Bill Deeck said, “I can’t keep up with double agents and triple crosses.” Same for me, so I don’t read spy stories unless you count the 007 paperbacks I read as a teenager)!


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