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Mexico Set

Narrated by: James Lailey
Length: 13 hrs and 25 mins
5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Long-awaited reissue of the second part of the classic spy trilogy, Game, Set and Match, when the Berlin Wall divided not just a city but a world.

A lot of people had plans for Bernard Samson.… When they spotted Erich Stinnes in Mexico City, it was obvious that Bernard Samson was the right man to 'enrol' him. With his domestic life a shambles and his career heading towards disaster, Bernard needed to prove his reliability. and he knew Stinnes already - Bernard had been interrogated by him in East Berlin. But Bernard risks being entangled in a lethal web of old loyalties and old betrayals.

All he knows for sure is that he has to get Erich Stinnes for London. Who's pulling the strings is another matter…

©2014 Len Deighton (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

“Deighton's best… until the next” ( Daily Mail)
“The poet of the spy story” ( Sunday Times)
“A master of fictional espionage” ( Daily Mail)
“Deighton is back in his original milieu, the bleak spy world of betrayers and betrayed” ( Observer)
“Deighton is a marvel… few authors writing in the rigorous and finite genre of spy fiction have mastered the craft as well as Deighton… Mexico Set is a pure tale, told by an author at the height of his power” ( Chicago Tribune)

What members say

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  • suresh kumar
  • 12-12-2018

fascinated...

Carefully conceived plot told with precisionand without confusion. The complexity of the plot and thecharacters are fascinating. Len is a master story-teller. Having listened to the firs rwo books makes me rush to the net in theseries.

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  • A Davies
  • 07-11-2018

A Tad Too Slow...

This is the fourth Len Deighton audiobook I've bought, following The Ipcress File, Funeral in Berlin and Berlin Game. I was under no illusions going into Berlin Game and this book that it'd be a different style of novel, with a less irreverent protagonist than the Harry Palmer series (which I love) and a more thoughtful pace.

As always, the narrator James Lailey is excellent. No issues there.

So why the mediocre rating? Well, while Berlin Game struck the right note with me from the beginning, this book didn't. The problem for me was that the central character, Bernard, and his cohorts (who carry over from Berlin Game), spend what feels like an eternity engaging in a endless cycle of dining and talking with little narrative progression. Perhaps that sounds ridiculous, but it really did feel endless. Chapter after chapter, much of the narrative is reduced to conversation across plates of (wryly described) Mexican food. Though initially entertained, it soon wore thin and I was repeatedly frustrated whenever, finally, events were prodded along and Deighton had Bernard travel to another location, only to have him sit down to another Mexican meal and engage in a long interpretive conversation on people's motives and events, interspersed with comments on the food. It would easily be possible in the first third of the novel to fall asleep and wake up several chapters later, without being able to tell if the story had progressed at all. Except maybe, Bernard was being served enchiladas instead of tacos.

Don't get me wrong - Berlin Game had its fair share of dinners and mundanity in this sense - it's part of what kept it grounded. But it was paired with a story that felt alive and moving from the outset, and an element of paranoia that was introduced by Deighton re a key character in Bernard's inner circle. In Mexico Set, this impetus is somewhat lacking to begin with and much of the conversation felt to me like a stall to events and exhaustingly introspective. I just wanted something to happen. It evaporated my goodwill for the book and I'm sorry to say, I lost interest halfway even as events picked up. I simply hadn't been primed for it, unlike Berlin Game.

If you enjoyed the domestic details and dinner parties of Berlin Game for their own sake, you may enjoy Mexico Set. Just beware that its progression is a long, slow burn and may dent your interest as it did mine. I think my next Deighton audiobook will be Billion Dollar Brain, which is a shame as I actually prefer Bernard to Harry Palmer. The introspective chat was just a little too much for me in this one.

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  • Mr Tristram Shandy
  • 13-02-2015

The master of the spy story

Any additional comments?

My comments on Berlin Game apply to the whole series. If you like spy stories you will not be disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 26-11-2014

Where are the rest !?!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you loved Berlin Game, then Mexico Set is an easy purchase and justifiably so!

What did you like best about this story?

It twists and turns like an eel in a bucket of baby lotion!...Bernard is on the back foot for a good part of the story, which is unusual for such a cool guy.

Have you listened to any of James Lailey’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Lailey gives another great performance, he has Samson down perfectly. I'm not 100% sure about the jamican accent, but hey!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There are a number of moments that made me laugh out loud (which is embarasing in the quiet coach of a train!)

Any additional comments?

More! More! More! Can audible please hurry up and release the final part, as well as Hook,Line and Sinker and Faith,Hope and Charity.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • A. Curtis
  • 01-11-2017

Twists and turns

Very very good second book in the set. I find it takes some time to warm to the main character, Sampson. He isn't an obvious likeable lead. This book has many characters from the previous book and they make a welcome return. The book has some great locations and a very good tense ending which leaves you gripped to the final moments. Shall look forward to the next in the series.

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  • Fabfuchsia
  • 02-09-2017

It doesn't get better than this!

What did you like most about Mexico Set?

The characterisation, the plot and the narration.

What other book might you compare Mexico Set to, and why?

LenDeighton is up there with John Le Carre.

Any additional comments?

Good to know that there are 2 more trilogies about Bernard Samson.

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  • S. Murdoch
  • 26-07-2017

Love the book and narrator

This is such a great series. Classic spy novel...intelligent portrayal of 3 D characters. The narrator is amongst the best I've listened to.

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  • I. Finlayson
  • 27-06-2017

A Great Spy book with a wonderful main character

A Great Spy book with a wonderful main character. This in second book of the series. Bernard Samsom is in deep and the heat in Mexico City is not helping

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  • Brian
  • 23-07-2016

Hot burritos in the Cold War

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

It's OK if your a Deighton completist - well written but too heavy on the Sampson soap opera and too light on the espionage. That said, he deliberately made the Sampson stories a longer game than his other books.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Enjoyed the ambiguity about ideology that the spies have - it's a game for them. Found the sister in law irritating.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The conversations between Stinnis and Bernard

Could you see Mexico Set being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Meh

Any additional comments?

Very well narrated - I like readers with the confidence to "act" different characters.

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  • Paul D
  • 09-07-2016

Just gets better

Second in the Bernard Samson Cold War series. Great stuff - same well constructed characters and another fine reading.
The story stands alone but is a continuation of 'Game' and it would be an error not to read the earlier work first. A pleasure missed. There is a minimum of the often annoying repetition associated with this style and the characters and story are augmented rather repeated.
Already listening to Match.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-11-2014

Still brilliant

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend it to anyone who loves spy thrillers - Len Deighton is still the best.

What other book might you compare Mexico Set to, and why?

I think the best comparison is anything by Robert Littell. The stories feel authentic, have surprising twists and are told with humour.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The 'kangaroo court' at London Central where Bernard makes them all look fools.

Any additional comments?

I can't fault the characterisation and storyline. I also thought the reader was excellent.