Today's bleg: can you recommend fine spy fiction? I'm not interested in action thrillers.
I'm looking for the
stuff of intrigue, dueling spy agencies, multiply-laid plots and
counterplots. The kind of stories whose complexity rewards attentiveness. Not James Bond. Not Robert Ludlum, or Tom Clancey.
For the setting, the Cold War would be preferred. Literary merit helps. So does engagement with politics and/or history.
Examples of what I have in mind... I've only read one early John le Carré novel, and that felt perfect.
Graham Greene: I only know The Quiet American (1955), which is splendid, of course.
Joseph Conrad's Secret Agent (1907) is great. The several Sherlock Holmes espionage tales are grand.
I'm watching the Sandbaggers tv show (1978-1980) now, and that's ideal. Not to mention some of the best tv ever. The movie Syriana (2005) has the level of complexity I have in mind.
Any suggestions would be welcome, and feed into a syllabus for months of delightful reading. Pointers to syllabi or reading lists are as welcome as mentions of specific titles.
If there's enough interest, I'll open up a wiki.