Books: Spooked by a Crumbling Wall

SPY LINE by Len Deighton; Knopf; 291 pages; $18.95

Never mind the Soviet economy, Mikhail Sergeyevich; what have you done to the spy-thriller industry? Now that the Berlin Wall has started coming down, cold warriors are not the only ones whose smiles must seem a trifle forced. Spy novelists, like Pentagon budgeteers, need the Wall to make their fictions believable. What's a secret agent to do now? Set up a kiosk and sell FREIHEIT T shirts?

The grim central image of modern spy literature is the death of Alec Leamas, shot by G.D.R. Grenzpolizisten at the Wall in the last scene...

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