Waterstones Book of the Month – Non-Fiction

Am hugely excited to say that the paperback edition of ‘M’, out yesterday, is Waterstones non-fiction Book of the Month!

The best thing about this is getting to see some of the different ‘M’ window displays in branches of Waterstones around London. It turns out that no two are the same. Each one is imaginative, detailed, expertly put together, and at the same time pulls on a particular thread of M’s character.

One display might bring out the naturalist side of his life; in the Trafalgar Square branch, it being near Whitehall, there’s more of an emphasis on MI6 and MI5, elsewhere they’ve gone for spying gadgets, in the Piccadilly branch there’s a cardboard Big Ben…

In fact if you see a display you like send me a photo as I might put together a post of the best ones.

I should also say that the paperback itself has been beautifully designed. Hats off to everyone at Arrow.

Really hope you enjoy it.





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Your Comments

  1. 1

    Dear Henry Hemming,
    Below are some notes relating to a family interest in Max Knight.
    My grandfather, Geoffrey Nicholson, was Cheif Constable of Surry, during the war. One of his daughters, my mother, Zita, Olivia Nicholson, got to know Max Knight very well.

    There is a bit more to this story, but I don’t want to bore you with too much text.
    I would, however, be most grateful for any links you might have found with Surrey Police force, and my Mother (she was a PC in the force).
    Yours sincerely,

    Chris Scotter

  2. 2

    Dear Henry,
    I just wanted to drop you a line to say how fantastic and informative reading “M” was. I literally just finished the final page and thought that I must write to you and say how much I enjoyed it.
    Thank you very much.
    Dominic Sennett


    • 3

      Many thanks for this, that’s really kind. So glad you enjoyed it and thank you for writing.

  3. 4

    This year our local natural History Museum in Haslemere Surrey celebrated 130 years in existence. Members and volunteers were asked to submit their stories, memories or experiences to be retained in a time capsule. I wrote about a visit local primary school children made in the late 1950’s (I was 8 or 9) to attend a lecture by one Maxwell Knight known to many as a TV & radio presenter and colleague of Peter Scott. Many kids brought along egg boxes of animal & bird skulls, birds eggs, snake skins and the like for identification, which to his credit Mr Knight spent much time with each child duly establishing provenance. Before submitting my piece I thought I had better check the time-line as it was 60 odd years ago. Imagine my surprise when googling one Maxwell Knight to find that his day job was that of spymaster! I will never forget his visit to our museum, if only we had known the impact his MI5 role had on our young lives. Subsequently reading the book has been fascinating, revealing and enlightening. Thank you.

    • 5

      I loved reading this, many thanks David. So glad you enjoyed the book.

  4. 6

    I just finished reading Agent M. I read a lot of 20th century military and political history. This is a great book. I couldn’t put it down. Well done.

  5. 7

    Hi I’ve only just come across your book but not read it yet. I’m not sure if this is of interest but one of my school friends Anne Knight was Maxwell’s niece they lived in Limpsfield and Maxwell brought Goldie to our school – the now defunct St Michaels school for girls. I was fascinated by him. He was probably the reason Anne’s dad kept peregrine falcon- and would hunt on horseback. Always fun riding with him – he looked like Henry V111 I can remember more but lost touch with Anne. Now to read the book

    • 8

      Fascinating! I love the Henry VIII comparison. Hope you enjoy the book

  6. 9

    Hi Henry
    I started reading your fascinating book about Maxwell Knight because we called to visit my brother-in-law and his wife who were staying in Withypool. When we were having a meal in the Royal Oak the MI5 connection came up in conversation and they mentioned the fact that my wife’s uncle, who was born in 1912, used to take his holidays in the Royal Oak.
    On page 77 you reveal M’s mysterious undeclared service to for King, I believe I may know what this may have been in connection with.
    Back in 2008 my mother-in-law asked me just who were my maternal grandfather’s family and challenged me to delve deeper. Over the last decade I have unearthed an amazing untold story involving our family’s connection to the Royal family.
    I am not a writer so I have created what I call a family hedge which contains about 3500 intermarried people spread over 38 generations on to which I can tell the story in a series of notes.
    I believe I have the basis of several books contained in these notes which are in the form of a .dwg drawing which can be best read on an iPad using the DWG FastViev App.
    Would you be interested in discussing this further?
    Obviously this comment would be best not added to the published comments and I am counting on your discretion.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Cheers for now,
    Btw, my email address has two underscores, one after the other.

    • 10

      Hi Tim, many thanks for this. I’ll drop you an email now. With best wishes, Henry

  7. 11

    Good Morning Henry, just finished your truly amazing book, Misadventures. I found it in a pile of free books at our local health food store. Whilst one may see that as some sort of insult to the book, I would prefer that you take it as the ultimate compliment: that someone like me was inspired enough to give it away in the hope that someone like ME would discover it.

    I was so affecte dby your book that Bill Bryson’s Short History of Nearly Everything, which I had been reading at the time, lay gathering dust on my bedside table.
    Please pass on my best to Al, who, I think, is the sort of friend a man needs. And just wonderin g what ever happened to your eight foot poster of Saddam?

    All the best from Mullumbimby, here in Australia.

    • 12

      Thanks Ian, that’s really kind of you. I’ll certainly pass that on to Al. As for that poster of Saddam, it’s rolled up in my attic gathering dust… Not sure what’s going to come of it. Thanks again

  8. 13

    Dear Henry Hemming,
    I along with many of my school contemporaries have read and enjoyed your book. Maxwell Knight taught Biology to us , at Beaufront school near Camberley in the 50s ending in1962 when the school closed , all of which l am sure you know well. However I am curious as we have subsequently learnt the the head mistress was with SOE and one wonders what more.? I would be most interested to hear why it was not mentioned . Thank you Rosalind Peech

    • 14

      Dear Rosalind, thanks for this, the only reason I did not mention that is that I had no idea! How interesting. Can you tell me her name, I’d be fascinated to find out more.
      With best wishes,

  9. 15

    Just finished reading.
    An excellent book. Should be made into T.V series.
    We owe so much to the men and women of this generation.
    Such a shame that the “Golden Era” came to an end. Changed Britain and the world; not always for the best.

  10. 16

    Thank you so much for writing M! My genre is spies in general and WWII in particular. I have over a hundred books and I never came across Maxwell Knight. Your writing is brilliant and your attention to details make your books wonderful reads. I will buy anything you write, so please keep up the brilliant work! I live in Oregon, USA and purchase your books wherever I can get them when they first come out.

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