Cause for Alarm : Valeshoff

  • by Eric Ambler
  • Narrated by David Thorpe
  • Series: Valeshoff
  • 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Nicky Marlow needs a job. He’s engaged to be married and the employment market in Britain in 1937 is pretty slim. So when his fiancée points out the position with an English armaments manufacturer in Italy, he jumps at the chance.
Soon after he arrives, however, he learns the sinister truth about his predecessor’s departure and finds himself courted by two agents with dangerously different agendas. In the process, Marlow realizes that it’s not so simple just to do the job he’s paid for – not in fascist Italy, on the eve of a world war.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Original Spy Novel

Eric Ambler practically invented the modern spy novel -- his works set in the late 30s define the European noir version of the genre. Always there is a more-or-less innocent person caught suddenly in the web of international intrigue, and Ambler conveys the helpless, swept-along nature of the plots very effectively. His atmospheres and settings are beautifully done, one almost sees The Third Man playing in black and white with dramatic lighting as one reads. Except for the clumsily drawn American-but-a-Russian-agent Zaleshoff (Brits have always had trouble with American dialogue) the characters are fascinating, well-defined, and plausible. David Thorpe's narration is spot on -- he is great as the oh-so-English protagonist/narrator, and does a nice job with the atmospherics that are so central to Ambler's work.
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- Old Squid

Is it the book, or the performance?


Not one of my favorite Ambler novels, and I can't decide whether the problem is the book itself or the performance. The protagonist is an insufferable bore and constant complainer, but to some degree, perhaps a large degree, that may be due to the way Thorpe inflects his every utterance with a plaintive, grating whine. Similarly, the other main character, a Russian agent masquerading as an "American" businessman, is rendered with an American accent that is a bit of a mess and very distracting. Given that the bulk of the story involves these two in a sort of buddy-movie escape plot, this novel may be much better to read than to listen to.
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- Albert

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-09-2010
  • Publisher: Audible Studios