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Publisher's Summary

An early classic of espionage fiction.

Through the cafés, trains, and nighttime cities of Europe, Charles Latimer follows a twisting trail of drug-smugglers, thieves and assassins that will lead him to Dimitrios.

©1967 Eric C. Ambler (P)1981 Recorded Books, LLC

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  • Overall

A most enjoyable history and geography lesson

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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 06-07-14

Raymond Chandler of European espionage fiction

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

  • Overall

A well written neat classic adventure

A very interesting trip through the old Europe. A detective spy novel that takes you on a trip. characters well developed, a logical plot, and satisfying ending.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • Toney, AL United States
  • 02-25-10


I thoroughly enjoyed this book, well written, great story. Narration was top not notch. If you enjoy detective novels this is one I would highly recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not My Kind of Novel

I have read a few books I enjoyed less than this one, but very few that I actually finished. It was our book club choice for this month so I soldered on.

I'm not saying it's a bad book. The fault is probably mine; I have difficulty liking any book, movie, or TV show where I don't find something to admire in the characters, at least one of them. I didn't care one bit about even the protagonist in this one. He was dull, and everyone else was despicable, so it was a slog even to complete this relatively short novel. Apparently it was written in the late 1930s and therefore is an early example of this genre--international political thriller. That may explain my problem with it, and it was probably educational to have read it.

A lot of people liked this book a great deal, so I am speaking only for myself. I do feel somewhat virtuous for having persisted to finish it.

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Among the best

Superbly written,wonderfully narrated,Mr.Spencer has a unique
talent to hold ones attention from the introduction to conclusion

  • Overall

Oldie but still a goodie

A spy thriller that ends unexpectedly like all of Ambler's books. Highly recommend investigating this one. Keeps you busy listening.