If you are really into the fiction of intrigue, I would suggest getting books by Eric Ambler, Len Deighton, Julian Symons or for the true heir to
Chandler in the hard boiled detective genre, Ross McDonald.
All of these people have written more than one good book and are worth reading through chronologically, if you are of scholarly mind, but here are
Eric Ambler, A Coffin for Dimitrios
, Len Deighton, The Ipcress File
(an astonishingly good first novel), Julian Symons, The
(he's a great "whodunnit" writer) and Ross McDonald, The Blue Hammer
(like Deighton, at times, wonderful moments of
truly great literature in his poetical descriptions and turns of phrase).
I'll throw in another one for good measure. Lemons Never Lie
by Donald Westlake, a very realistic account of an adventure in the life of what
would be called a "rounder" in Toronto. A rounder is an independant criminal, who could work for someone else or himself as circumstances dictate.
Reading Eric Ambler from beginning to end is a real treat. His early books are classics of the novel of international intrigue, set in the 1930's,
like The Dark Frontier
, but his later books are really quite hip, particularly the two featuring half British, half Egyptian cab driver, Arthur
Abdul Simpson, the son of an Egyptian belly dancer and a jaded cynical British Army sargeant. The Light of Day
was made into the movie,
, starring Peter Ustinov as Simpson.
Ambler is just a complete joy to read. His protagonists are usually neophytes with whom the reader identifies easily. His oeuvre
amounts to a
first class course on how to write a popular novel.
There's a great moment in A Coffin for Dimitrios
when the protagonist, a professional mystery writer himself, meets a fan who wants to present
him with a great idea for a mystery novel. The fan really idolizes the writer who is gracious about receiving the adulation and consents to meet this
fan at his office to look at his "ideas".
The ideas are completely ridiculous cliches
and the author is wondering how to let the fan down gently, especially since he is none other than
Colonel Haki, the head of the Turkish Secret Police, whom he met at a cocktail party.
The wonderful moment occurs when an aid brings a file folder in for the Colonel's signature and the writer sees the face of the man, whom he took for
a buffoon, transform, almost imperceptibly into a still point of professional concentration.
After a minute or so of turning over pages, the Colonel pauses before looking at the writer and asking, "Are you interested in real
murder . . ?" And the tale begins.
The people I recommended are all first class writers. If you haven't read them already you are in for a treat.
edit on 10-7-2011 by ipsedixit
because: (no reason given)