interesting piece in the August 6, 2011 issue of the Spectator which details the discovery of some correspondence between the spy Kim Philby and his Cambridge bookseller. Writer Jeffrey Meyers has obtained several letters Philby wrote in the mid 1980s from Moscow to Bowes & Bowes in Cambridge. Apparently Philby was unable to borrow books from any of the American and British lending libraries in the Soviet Union and he had to order books directly from the UK.
It should be no surprise that Philby was an avid reader of thrillers and spy novels. From the list of his orders published in the Spectator:
Thrillers and spy fiction: Agatha Christie (21), Francis Iles (1), Dashiell Hammett (2), Margery Allingham (4), Julian Symons (3), Michael Gilbert (3), Edmund Crispin (1), Dick Francis (1), P.D. James (1), Patricia Highsmith (12), Ed McBain (15), Nicolas Freeling (2), Anthony Price (1), John le Carré (1), Robert Parker (3).
Twelve Patricia Highsmith novels! And an Anthony Price. Look at all that Ed McBain, too. Only one le Carre - I gather Philby and le Carre did not get along. Meyers also writes that Graham Greene always sent Philby a copy of each new book he wrote.