Faith returns to the first person perspective of main character Bernard Samson (last book, Spy Sinker). It’s the the first of the final trilogy and I’m reading them one right after the other – like one, big, thousand page book – so maybe you can quit bothering me and let me get on with it.

I do want to make note of a great coffee conversation that Samson had with his boss:

… Now he put a strong cup of coffee before me and watched contemptuously as I poured cream into it. ‘Ruins it,’ he pronounced. ‘These are the finest coffee beans you can buy. The flavour is as delicate as a good claret. And you know, I’m beginning to think I can distinguish from one plantation to another.’ After he’d poured his own coffee, he didn’t go back round the table; instead he propped himself against the table’s edge and looked down at me quizzically.

‘Amazing,’ I replied. ‘Even the plantation, eh?’

‘I’ve always had this delicate palate.’ He watched me.

‘Really fine coffee like this is completely spoiled by cream or sugar.’

‘Sugar. Yes, good. Have you got sugar?’

He reached behind his back and found the sugar on the tray without looking for it. He’d know what I was going to say. ‘Here you are, you barbarian.’ … (page 127)

I laugh, because Gail just brought this TED Talk to my attention by Malcolm Gladwell and it’s clear that many coffee snobs are pouring cream and sugar in their coffee when they’re all alone. Here’s the point, nobody really knows for sure what they like. “The mind knows not what the tongue wants.” Skip to the 10 minute mark if you want. Paraphrasing:

When asked what kind of coffee they like, most Americans will say: “a dark, rich, hearty roast”. But actually, only 25–27% want that. Most prefer weak, milky coffee. Judgement is clouded by aspiration, peer pressure, and marketing messages.

I’m betting Deighton had this inclination, based on his mocking tone.

Alright, on to the next one.