Game Without Rules by Michael Gilbert / 244-page paperback published in 2023 in the Penguin Modern Classics Crime & Espionage Series / ISBN 9780241657744
For two secret agents, there's no such thing as a quiet life in the countryside...
In a peaceful Kent village, Mr Behrens lives with his aunt at the Old Rectory, where he plays chess and keeps bees. His friend Mr Calder lives nearby with Rasselas, a golden deerhound of unnatural intelligence. No one would suspect that they are in fact working for British Intelligence, carrying out the jobs that are too dangerous for anyone else to handle - whether it's wiping out traitors, Soviet spies or old Nazis - in these gloriously entertaining stories.
Michael Gilbert was born in a village in Lincolnshire in 1912. He worked as a lawyer and wrote his novels exclusively when commuting by train between Kent and Lincoln's Inn, 500 words a day in 50-minute stints. He was made a CBE in 1980, awarded a Diamond Dagger for the Crime Writers Association for lifetime achievement, and named a 'grandmaster' by the Mystery Writers of America in 1988. He died in 2006.