A Coffin for Dimitrios




Author: Eric Ambler
Type: aBook
Date Released: 0000
Format: mp3
Language: English
Page Count: 0
Isbn10 Code: -
Isbn13 Code: -


Charles Latimer is a mild, agreeable, former British professor who left academia to become a modestly successful writer of detective stories. While vacationing in Turkey in the 1930's, he meets Colonel Haki, an important official in the Turkish police, and a serious fan of Latimer's novels. At first, Haki would like to supply mediocre plots for Latimer's next book, but eventually the conversation turns to real criminals that Haki has known, particularly an arch-fiend named Dimitrios Makropolous, whose body has just been recovered by a fisherman. Certain portions of Dimitrios's criminal career are well-established, but there are several large holes in the timeline. Latimer is fascinated by Dimitrios's story, and decides to travel through the various locales where Dimitrios was known to have engaged in criminal activities (drug dealing, murder, espionage, and political assassination, among others), to see if he can uncover more of the story. As Latimer meets Dimitrios's former associates, he is increasingly drawn into the criminal underworld, until he is indistinguishable from the villains he studies. From Wall Street Journal: Eric Ambler, born 100 years ago next month, mastered as a young man a genre still in its infancy. Joseph Conrads The Secret Agent (1907) and John Buchans The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915) preceded his works, and compatriots Graham Greene and W. Somerset Maugham fashioned artful thrillers out of turbulent political times alongside him. But Amblers mix of swift pacing, believable protagonists and thrilling locales proved an untold influence on those who took up the spy-story pen in his wake. After all, when James Bond, in the film version of From Russia With Love, needed a book to read on a critical train trip, he chose an Eric Ambler novelspecifically, A Coffin For Dimitrios, which 70 years after its 1939 publication holds up as a startling, elegant masterpiece of espionage fiction. Amblers oeuvre, especially the six novels he wrote between 1936 and 1940, grew out of his background, pursuits and outlook: early exposure to the music-hall world through his parents touring puppet show, a bachelors degree in engineering, a copywriting stint at a London advertising agency, time spent writing avant-garde plays in Paris, and staunch anti-Fascist views. Add to these a strong disdain for the all-too-familiar tropes of the spy stories popular during his English boyhooddescribed by Ambler in a 1951 essay as the black-velveted seductress, the British secret-service numbskull hero, the omnipotent spymasterand the stage was set for a more realistic approach that has itself become commonplace: taking an ordinary man and dropping him in the middle of extraordinary events that will put him in danger, test his mettle and reveal his inner survivor. A Coffin for Dimitrios, however, adds a postmodern tweak by making Amblers patented protagonist a mystery writer. Charles Latimer is a successful practitioner of the genre, 'one of the shamefaced few who could make money at the sport.' Idling in Istanbul as an escape from dreadful English weather, he receives an invitation from one Colonel Haki to view the body of a notorious criminal named Dimitriosa murderer with a thick dossier of crimes. Curiosity piqued, Latimer conducts his own investigation into Dimitrioss life and death, putting him in contact with a colorful mix of shady characters and, with a shocking twist, showing him that murder is far more messy and complicated than anything he has dreamed up for his own books. Recorded Books 81340 (6 cassettes/7.5 hours)

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