Diplomats, Spies, and Assassins is a book of seventeen short stories. The stories take us into Africa, Pakistan, Europe, South America, and Japan, over a period of forty years. We encounter many of the same characters in the different stories, as they follow their chosen careers.
Eleven of the stories focus on the competitive relationship between Arthur Deane, an MI6 officer, and George Stanca, a senior Securitate state security officer in Ceaucescu’s dark Romania. The two also clash in their private lives, as they compete for the affections of an attractive Japanese diplomat, leading to a bitter rivalry which almost costs them their lives.
We follow the career of Alan Parsons, a British diplomat, from his first faltering steps in Africa, to his development into a confident and competent officer.
Penny Morden, an MI6 high flyer, suffers personal tragedy as she progresses to the senior levels of the Service, and finds personal contentment and happiness in her retirement years.
Vladimir Ivanov, a Russian Assassin, occasionally pops out of the background to practice his deadly art.
The main characters meet up in the final story, ‘The Colloquium’. Vladimir embarks in a final effort to eliminate his target, who had escaped his previous attempt, through muddle and confusion.
The stories aim to give an insight into life in British Embassies and High Commissions overseas, and the environment in the countries in which they operate. Many of the events are based on fact, but a significant amount of imagination is used as the stories develop.