Books | July 2, 2021 5:02 pm

The Enduring Mystery of Why a 1960s Spy Novelist Vanished

A stylish story for a stylish writer

Adam Diment
British spy novelist Adam Diment, UK, 23rd March 1968.
Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

What makes a successful novelist walk away from their chosen profession? It’s a question that’s been asked many times, about many writers — some of them well-known and some of them obscure. But when you bring together that enduring question with a sartorially-minded author of spy novels associated with 1960s London — well, you can probably see why the mystery surrounding Adam Diment has endured over the decades.

In a new article at CrimeReads, writer and filmmaker Luke Poling delved into Diment’s life and work, along with the way he’s continued to draw attention over half a century since his heyday.

Diment arrived on the scene with a novel titled The Dolly Dolly Spy, which sold over a million copies around the globe. A planned film adaptation would have starred Blow-Up‘s David Hemmings. That Diment was 23 at the time of its publication and had an impeccable sense of style surely didn’t hurt his profile or that of his books.

According to Poling, the hype was warranted. “[W]hen you crack open The Dolly Dolly Spy  today, decades after the initial ad campaign, Diment pulls you in from the first sentence,” he writes.

Diment’s fourth novel was published in 1971 and ended on a cliffhanger. In the years since then, no further books from him have seen print. As Poling notes, a number of articles written since 2000 have offered different stories about Diment’s life in more recent years. And while efforts to bring his books back into print have not yet succeeded, perhaps one day they will — and the works Poling dubbed “the perfect reading for those who wish to revisit the glory days of espionage fiction” will again be widely available.