Monday, August 31, 2020

Journey into Fear

CrimeReads posts about "The Crime Novels of Istanbul." Among them several that are favorites.
The great English espionage stylist of the pre-war years Eric Ambler set several novels in Turkey. Perhaps the best is Journey into Fear (1940) which features his recurring character Colonel Haki, the taciturn but basically likable head of Turkish Security. A British Engineer is in Istanbul having completed a deal that could cement an Anglo-Turkish alliance and see Turkey join the Allied cause in World War Two. Nazi spies and a Romanian hitman are out to kill him. However, Ambler’s slightly earlier novel The Mask of Dimitrios (known in the USA as A Coffin for Dimitrios, 1939), is his best novel for pure Istanbul flavor. English crime novelist Charles Latimer is traveling in Istanbul and meets Colonel Haki who tells him of the mysterious Dimitrios—an infamous master criminal whose body has just been fished out of the Bosporus. Fascinated by the story, Latimer decides to retrace Dimitrios’ steps across Europe to gather material for a new book. But, as he asks questions about Dimitrios, Latimer’s own life is placed in danger.
Both good books, but I agree that Journey into Fear is the better one. They were made into pretty good Hollywood films.

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