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|Subject: James Mitchell, author|
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Date Posted: September 23, 2002 3:13:43 EDT
James Mitchell, a British author of espionage and suspense novels that were praised in the United States, died Sept. 15 in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England. He was 76 and lived in Newcastle.
The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.
The critic Newgate Callendar wrote in The New York Times that in Mr. Mitchell's 1977 novel of adventure and espionage, "Smear Job," one of a series of books starring a steely Briton named Callan, "the high-level maneuvering eclipses anything in Ian Fleming's books."
"We have had a lot of tough operatives in our day," he added, but "Callan makes most of them, from James Bond on, look like prep-school classics teachers. Callan, who is a British intelligence agent licensed to kill, is so lethal that a glance from him makes the strongest men quail."
In the novel, Callan is ordered to steal a book from the Sicilian estate of an English earl and to force a man to lose his fortune at cards. The action also involves three governments and a West German diplomat's drug-ridden daughter.
Other books by Mr. Mitchell that were lauded in the United State include "The Way Back" (1960), about a man whose criminal past enables Communist agents to blackmail him into helping steal bomb plans.
Mr. Mitchell wrote more than 70 books, some under the pseudonym James Munro.
His work in television included creating the Callan television drama series that was on ABC in the 1960's and 1970's.
Born in South Shields, England, he received bachelor's and master's degrees from Oxford, held various jobs, taught and began writing full time in 1965.
His first marriage was dissolved. His second wife, Delia, died in 1990.
He is survived by two sons from the first marriage.
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