Finally, after some years of search, I was able to locate and order a copy of Murray Sayle’s 1960 novel “A Crooked Sixpence” which has been repeatedly praised as ‘the best novel on journalism ever’.

Googling Sayle, by the way, produces a plethora of interesting results. He’s an Australian journalist who, after some time at Fleet Street, worked as foreign and war correspondent and lived for many years in Japan. Contributed a lot to London Review of Books and other quality publications.

His 1972 Sunday Times report on a bloody incident in Northern Ireland’s Derry, where British paratroopers killed 13 unarmed civilians, was censored after the lord chief justice’s intervention with the paper’s editor, and only turned up years later to play a decisive role in a 2002 inquiry on the event.

In a very renowned piece for New Yorker in the year 1995 Sayles successfully challenged the established view that the mass-slaughter of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended WW II.

Now the veteran correspondent has returned to Australia.

Oh, and his novel is so difficult to obtain because of a libel suit issued by the paper he is portraying and probably – I will see – satirizing in it, News of the World. As novelist Amanda Craig put it, “Journalists claim to support free speech, and some do: but they are also among the first to suppress it if their own behaviour comes under fire.”