San Diego Law Review

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This Article considers the work of John Le Carré and Ian Fleming, creators of George Smiley and James Bond, as sources of interpretation of law and legal culture. Using the novel THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, as well as various works of Fleming, this paper explores the representation of law in espionage fiction as a variation on the larger representation of law in detective fiction, focusing in turn on each of several aspects: law as a tool of factfinding—Part II; law as the set of principles that order the relation of the individual to the state—Part III; and law as a positivist embodiment of the moral norms of a culture—Part IV. This Article suggests that espionage fiction expresses a cultural acknowledgment of the demise of law: that the representation of law in each of these modalities is as a system that enjoys very little public trust or respect, and that fails to perform any of its essential functions in a satisfactory way.

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