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Publisher's Summary

A coup d'etat in a Caribbean state causes a political storm in the region and even the seemingly impassive and impersonal Doctor Castillo, nicknamed Doctor Frigo, cannot escape the consequences. As things heat up, Frigo finds that both his profession and life are horribly at risk.

Eric Ambler was born into a family of entertainers and in his early years helped out as a puppeteer. However, he initially chose engineering as a full time career, although this quickly gave way to writing. In World War II he entered the army and looked likely to fight in the line, but was soon after commissioned and ended the war as assistant director of the army film unit and a lieutenant-colonel. This experience translated into civilian life and Ambler had a very successful career as a screenwriter, receiving an Academy Award for his work on The Cruel Sea, by Nicolas Monsarrat, in 1953.

Many of his own works have been filmed, the most famous probably being Light of Day, filmed as Topkapi under which title it is now published. He established a reputation as a thriller writer of extraordinary depth and originality and received many other accolades during his lifetime, including two Edgar Awards from The Mystery Writers of America (best novel for Topkapi and best biographical work for Here Lies Eric Ambler), and two Gold Dagger Awards from the Crime Writer's Association (Passage of Arms and The Levanter). Often credited as being the inventor of the modern political thriller, John Le Carre once described Ambler as "the source on which we all draw." A recurring theme in his works is the success of the well-meaning yet somewhat bungling amateur who triumphs in the face of both adversity and hardened professionals. Ambler wrote under his own name and also during the 1950's a series of novels as Eliot Reed, with Charles Rhodda. These are now published under the Ambler umbrella.

©2013 Eric Ambler (P)2013 Audible Ltd

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Corruption in the Americas, Ambler Style.

Full headline was as follows:
The Master of the political suspense thriller sends his everyday hero into the corruption and collusion of the Americas.

This has been my favorite Ambler book. The plot here is not as action filled as many of his other stories, but it more than makes up for it with more subtle pressures on his hero, still with the potential of lethal outcomes. Most of them are set in Europe or nearby continents. This was the first one I have read set in the Americas.

Here, he takes what is his trademark, a guy with an everyday profession, a western liberal set of values, puts him in situation that could make anyone's moral principles get tested, and would much better be dealt with by a spy or someone whose profession is, in fact, dealing with very slippery and morally ambiguous people with power. Now that America is on it's way to looking more like a "banana republic" itself, the tale has much more relevance than usual with anyone who's in an everyday profession wondering how they would act if their country went full bore neo-Fascist. Here is a manual, of sorts, how to survive both psychologically and socially if that happens.

The second key factor that makes this book especially interesting is that the protagonist isn't one of Ambler's totally everyday-profession protagonists. True he's a doctor. But he's in that profession because he's the son of an assassinated President of a Caribbean island. After that, the boy was exiled by the next administration and went to Paris to study medicine. The story starts on a different fictitious French island where the French authorities have summoned him from the hospital where he works, for an interview.

Last but not least is the narration. I haven't heard a better one.

To sum up, to those of you who can't get any solace from the multitude of books about the Trump era by pundits, historians, and politicians, I turn you on to Eric Ambler the master of political thrilling times and see how his hero deals with corruption and collusion in the Americas.

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  • Jack C
  • 11-22-17

Dull, bland, dated. Ending unsurprising.

Need to try another Ambler book. This one didn't appeal. but another might. Good luck.