Desmond Bagley © Graham jackson photography

About Bagley

Desmond Bagley - Writer - An Enquiry into a Novelist. The unpublished autobiography of Desmond Bagley - master of the adventure novel. Edited by Philip Eastwood with foreword by Mike Ripley.

Now Available to download as a free eBook: Writer – An Enquiry into a Novelist by Desmond Bagley.
Writer is a non-profit publication, giving readers the opportunity to help support the charities favoured by Desmond and Joan Bagley by making a voluntary contribution. Donation links will take you to the charities own websites, so 100% of your donation will go directly to the charity concerned.

To see available eBook formats click here.

Painstakingly and lovingly reconstructed – I was both fascinated by it and grateful for it.

MIKE RIPLEY author of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.

This is a must-read for anyone who has ever enjoyed Bagley’s work – and a primer on life as a writer – Get it.

JEREMY DUNS author of the acclaimed Paul Dark spy novels.

Desmond Bagley was one of the authors whose work inspired me to become a thriller writer… brand new material. What a treat!

PETER JAMES author of the much-loved Detective Superintendent Roy Grace novels.

His personality shines through as if he’s with us, telling it, and of course that great sense of humour is there on almost every page.

PETER LOVESEY author of the much-loved Detective Sergeant Daniel Cribb novels.

Desmond Bagley 1923-1983

The internationally acclaimed bestselling English author Desmond Bagley, known to his friends as Simon, was born on 29th October 1923 at a cottage in Stramongate, Kendal, Westmorland (Cumbria). He died, aged 59, on 12th April 1983 in a Southampton hospital after suffering a stroke, leaving us a literary canon of seventeen published novels and a handful of short stories, articles and interviews.

Desmond Bagley © Graham Jackson

At the time of his death he was reputed to be one of the highest paid writers of fiction novels in the world. Remarkable considering he left school at the age of fourteen having failed to pass any exams, suffered a life-long speech impediment and was nearly forty years old when his first novel, The Golden Keel, was published.

In his obituary, which appeared in The Times on 14th April 1983, he was described as a ‘craftsmanlike thriller novelist’. Bagley was skilled in the art of thriller writing; he travelled extensively and displayed a detailed knowledge of the geographical locations used for the settings in his novels combined with a thorough knowledge of cultural traditions, natural phenomena and technological details.

Mike Ripley, the author of Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang – The boom in British Thrillers from Casino Royal to The Eagle Has Landed, commented of Bagley:

As was often said about Bagley, his books were not so much about spies or even crimes – though they certainly feature – but about a group of interesting people in an interesting, often dangerous, landscape.

He was certainly in their tradition of British adventure writers, having fairly wholesome heroes who avoided sex and who operated in well-researched foreign locations.

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The Life and Work of Desmond Bagley - © The Bagley Brief

© The Bagley Brief

Delve into the Bagley Brief

The Novels

The Novels of Desmond Bagley - The Bagley Brief © HarperCollins Publishers

Explore the novels of Desmond Bagley including first edition covers and original publishers ‘blurb’.

Domino Island


The unpublished thriller by the master of the genre

Discovered after more than 40 years, a vintage action-adventure novel by one of the world’s most successful thriller writers, involving murder, corruption and a daring hijack in the Caribbean.

Discover the background to Bagley’s latest novel in:

Domino Island: A History

‘What a wonderful book! Domino Island ticks all the boxes for top-notch thriller writing: a plot that unfolds quick as a race car (or I should say Learjet?), exotic locales, intrigue that draws us into manor houses, posh hotels, and the high seats of government, and a protagonist for all time, Bill Kemp—part James Bond, part Philip Marlowe, and all hero. A brilliant and timeless novel.’ Jeffery Deaver

‘Desmond Bagley was a gifted exponent of the action thriller, and the discovery of his previously unpublished novel Domino Island is a delightful find. Bagley blends a whodunit mystery with a characteristically fast-paced adventure story set on a Caribbean island, with entertaining results.’
Martin Edwards, author of Gallows Court and The Golden Age of Murder.

‘British writers dominated the action thriller genre in the Sixties and Seventies, as if to show that, even post-Empire, we could still police the world, if only on paper. Leading our mega-sellers was Desmond Bagley, whose thrillers featured cucumber-cool Brits sorting out trouble in unusually well-realised exotic locations.’ Jake Kerridge

The seventeenth Bagley novel is now available in Hardcover, Paperback, eBook and Audiobook.

Purchase links here

The 2017 re-issues

The Bagley Brief interviews authors Peter James, Jeremy Duns and Caro Ramsay, all admirers of Desmond Bagley's novels.

2017 saw the re-issue of the novels in paperback, eBook and audio book format. Read interviews with established authors Peter James, Jeremy Duns and Caro Ramsay, all admirers of Bagley’s novels.

Re-issue purchase links here

Articles and Interviews bibliography

Desmond Bagley © Pluriform - The Bagley Brief.

A bibliography of non-fiction articles, periodical publications and interviews

Bagley on writing action fiction


Read an article about Bagley’s thoughts on writing action fiction

The Running Blind Archive

Desmond Bagley's Running Blind - Visit the archive on The Bagley Brief.

The definitive online archive for Bagley’s Cold War espionage thriller set in Iceland. There is much to discover, whether you have a love of Desmond Bagley, Running Blind, Iceland or all three.

With well researched and informative articles the archive can also act as a travelogue for those people wishing to visit Iceland.

The Life and Work of Desmond Bagley: Landslide, Wyatt's Hurricane and The Spoilers cover art © HarperCollins Publishers.


UK first edition cover art

The Novels of Desmond Bagley - The Bagley Brief © HarperCollins Publishers

A gallery displaying cover art used for the UK first editions of  Desmond Bagley’s novels.

HarperCollins 2017 re-issues

Desmond Bagley - HarperCollins 2017 Crime Club Imprint re-issue cover art collage © HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

A gallery displaying cover art used for Desmond Bagley’s novels published in 2017 under the HarperCollins Collins Crime Club Imprint.

Japanese cover art

Desmond Bagley Novels - Japanese editions © Hiroshi Hayakawa / Hayakawa Bunko NV

A gallery displaying Japanese cover art used for Desmond Bagley’s novels.

Polish cover art


A gallery displaying Polish cover art used for Desmond Bagley’s novels.

Running Blind cover art

Desmond Bagley - Running Blind cover art collage © HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

A gallery within the Running Blind archive displaying world-wide cover art used for Desmond Bagley’s Cold War thriller set in Iceland.

The Mackintosh Man cinema lobby card gallery

The Mackintosh Man - Lobby cards - An adaptation of Desmond Bagley's The Freedom Trap © Warner Bros 1973.

A gallery displaying cinema lobby cards for The Mackintosh Man, Warner Brothers Inc. 1973 film adaptation of Desmond Bagley’s 1971 novel The Freedom Trap.

Desmond Bagley © A.H.Edwards 1955 - The Bagley Brief - A website about the craftsmanlike novelist Desmond Bagley.