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I first heard this story many years ago when it came out on cassette tape. I was driving across Europe, listeing to this story about an author who traveled across Europe in search of the reasons why in a dead man's life. I still enjoy listening to it today. Mr. Spencer was a good choice to narrate this story. The film, "The Mask of Dimitrios" runs pretty close to the book and I couldn't imagine better actors than Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet and Zachary Scott to play the characters as originally written by the author. Mr. Ambler's descriptions of characters are sympathetic and on the mark. Desparation, frustration, unrequited love and greed are well written. Highly recommended for those who are able to place their imaginations back in the 1930s.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
It is hard not to like Eric Ambler's amateur spies. They aren't reluctant, just lucky and persistent. They seem to have seeded an entire generation of suspense novelists. Reading Ambler I see exactly what inspired le Carre, Furst, Steinhauer, etc.
Ambler has a voice and style which are matched by his ability to capture a reader's interest with characters and setting. He is like a magician that spends an elaborate amount of time carefully setting a formal table just so at the very end he can pull the cloth out -- leaving the characters shaking from the movement, but readers stuck within their own inertia.
It is hard to judge Ambler once you realize every reference point you have to judge him by contains a fragment of Ambler. He is the Raymond Chandler of European espionage fiction. The genre doesn't exist separate from the author and 'A Coffin for Dimitrios' is one of his greatest works.
17 of 21 people found this review helpful