(British, 1946– )
‘Alan Judd’ is the pseudonym of Alan Petty, who has worked for the Foreign Office and became Private Secretary to the Head of MI6. His satirical novels typically blend farce and tragedy in dealing with their subjects—the army, university life, the diplomatic service, and espionage—though they handle serious themes equally well. His first, A Breed of Heroes (1981), is an ironic treatment of modern soldiering, while The Noonday Devil (1987) is set at Oxford during the student political unrest of the early 1970s. In the latter, a student is directing a production of a Jacobean play while contemplating his final examinations; philosophical debates lead to an unexpected plot twist. Short of Glory (1984) is very much in the vein of Evelyn Waugh, a comedy centring around the British Embassy in South Africa. The figure of the Englishman floundering abroad reappears in Tango (1989): recruited by British intelligence, the manager of a bookshop becomes central to a coup involving a South American President and his mistress.
Evelyn Waugh, William Boyd, Graham Greene. See SPY JS