4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A dog against a pack of wolves (or even lions),
This review is from: A Kind of Anger (Paperback)
This novel is set in France in the 1960's or something. The protagonist is a not-so-successful English-educated journalist of Dutch origin who has a history of serious psychological problems. He works in the Paris office of an American weekly news magazine. The head of the magazine is an eccentric old man who enjoys pestering his staff with hunches he occasionally gets. This week, the jungle telegraph has told him something about a mysterious case where a man was brutally murdered. The woman who happened to be in the house but not found by the murderers, had mysteriously disappeared, apparently still hiding in deadly fear. The police has pretty much given up searching, but the boss has heard some rumours as to her whereabouts, and he insists upon it being investigated. Nobody among the Paris staff is exactly optimistic about the assignment, but the old man's orders are not questioned. So the protagonist, being the weakest member of the pack, has to travel to Southern France and snoop around.
Now, one reason that makes Eric Ambler stand out among the authors of this genre is that his protagonists are credible. They are not angels who have descended from heaven. They aren't always nice but at least they think and act the way a normal human being would. So is this book's protagonist. He is so fascinatingly reasonable, and he does what he believes to be beneficial for himself, not what an American preacher would tell people to do. And, as he gets closer to the dangerous people behind that murder, and other dangerous people with their own interests in play, he finds out some surprising things about himself. And the final solution isn't of the kind you'd find in most thrillers.
I think this is the best book by Eric Ambler I've read so far. When I read this book the third time, the story seemed a little bit too straightforward, a little bit too smooth. But the first two times, it was perfectly fine.