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A Dandy in Aspic [Paperback]

Derek Marlowe
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 174 pages
  • Publisher: New English Library; 1st Thus edition (1968)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0000CO4V3
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.7 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,270,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

A Dandy in Aspic

Eberlin is a small, faceless civil servant working at the Ministry. As he nears middle age, he allows himself one luxury - to dress like a Dandy. He is also a cold blooded, vicious Russian Assassin.

This is the story of the mission he was given - to hunt down and kill...himself

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dandy Named Alex 2 Jun 2006
1966. Alexander Eberlin is a small, faceless civil servant, aged thirty-six, who permits himself one luxury - to dress like a dandy. His superiors instruct him to hunt down and destroy a vicious Russian assassin named Krasnevin, believed to be responsible for a number of British agents' deaths. Eberlin is terrified - with good reason. He IS Krasnevin.

Eberlin has one slim hope - the photo his bosses have on file is not of him, but of his Russian superior Pavel. In West Berlin, Eberlin warns Pavel, who is later murdered by persons unknown. Panicking, Eberlin tries to defect. Hampering him is Caroline Ann Heatherington, a dizzy debuttante he met at a party in London. Can he trust her? And what of Prentiss, a vacuous girl-chasing type? Does he know more than he's letting on?

Sadly, this was Marlowe's only spy thriller. Though complex, it also manages to be witty and absorbing, very much in the style of early LeCarre. Though a dreadful snob, Eberlin gains sympathy mainly because of the extraordinary predicament he's in. Even James Bond never had to eliminate himself. The character's loathing of the British is unmistakable; he can go to an orgy yet remain fully attired throughout. Each chapter is prefaced by a lovely quote from the man himself. Here's one: 'In the Land Of The Blind, the one eyed-man is in a circus'. Eberlin's basically a toff version of Len Deighton's 'Ipcress File' hero. Once the action moves to Berlin, the double and triple crosses pile up and the story becomes a tad repetitive but stay with it - a startling climax is coming. Unusually for a book written in 1966, the dreaded 'F' word puts in a few appearances. This is now number three in the list of my top ten all-time favourite spy novels.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Cold War espionage classic 8 Sep 2008
By Michael K. Smith - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's the mid-1960s and Eberlin is a 36-year-old desk-jockey in British Intelligence, a gatherer and analyzer of facts. He's also a loner who dresses very well and collects porcelain. Recently, a couple of the Ministry's operatives have been killed by an unknown Soviet agent and Eberlin is recruited by his superiors to try to learn the hitman's whereabouts. It turns out they even have a name: Krasnevin. This is a problem for Eberlin. *He's* Krasnevin, a Russian mole who has been in England since he was eighteen, and who is a very skilled assassin. Essentially, he's being told to find, identify, and kill himself. And off he goes to divided Berlin without a clue as to what he can do or how. There's a great deal in this engrossing novel (the author's first) that will remind the reader of Le Carré, especially the way the characters take on shape and color very gradually and the way in which the author requires the reader to work at following the plot. Don't think you know how it's all going to end, though, not even as you read the last chapter, because the final four pages will come up and smack you right in the face.
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