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The Light Of Day (2004)

The Light of Day (2004)
3.77 of 5 Votes: 3
0375726799 (ISBN13: 9780375726798)
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The Light Of Day (2004)
The Light Of Day (2004)

About book: tEric Ambler. That’s worth five stars by itself. The Light of Day (1962) is that rarest of enjoyments, a successful comedic thriller. Many writers can do thrillers good, bad, and forgotten, but very few can do a thriller with such an infectious sense of humor. tArthur Abdul Simpson, Ambler’s roguish anti-hero narrator, seems always in over his head, dealing with Turkish authorities (no valid passport) or with a mysterious group of … what? The authorities are focused on political revolt while Arthur is focused on regaining an unwise letter he had signed held by Harper, the leader of the group. It is only near the end that Ambler reveals just who these mysterious people really are. tThe novel was the basis for the 1964 comedic thriller, Topkapi, with Peter Ustinov as Simpson. In reading the novel, if you have seen the movie, then Ustinov as the clear image of Simpson is inescapable, as with Maximilian Schell as Harper, and, of course, Melina Mercouri, as anyone she likes.tThe ending of the novel differs from the movie, but whatever, it will be one of your most enjoyable reads of the summer.tFortunately, Arthur Abdul Simpson returns in Dirty Story (1967), with the apparently barely competent Simpson becoming a mercenary!

This is what your grandma thought was good airplane reading, and she had better taste than you. And by now it's also charmingly old-fashioned; if these criminals had had cell phones, the book would have been over in ten pages.Some people read books also vampires and zombies to get scared but, for me, ordinary people are terrifying enough without supernatural embellishment. In this case, Ambler's "hero" is your average overweight sociopath with no apparent problem with completely trashing people's lives because of some imagined slight, or maybe just to get some spare cash. He really comes to life and seems like he could be like any person passing you on the street. And then, to top it off, Ambler manages to make this guy look sympathetic by mixing him up with a bunch of characters who are far, far worse. They don't write 'em like this anymore.
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This book was the basis for the movie Topkapi. I haven't seen the movie -- at least not yet -- but I'm looking forward to it. I suspect it will be much different. In this book, another of Ambler's clueless losers finds himself in the middle of something he didn't anticipate, and which is way over his head. This protagonist, Arthur Simpson, has a certain amount of street smarts (which is unusual) and therefore manages to keep himself afloat, although barely, until the end of the book. As usual, we are treated along the way to a close examination of the workings of the middle class English mind, with its petty pretenses and neuroses. Still, it's exciting stuff, set in Istanbul, and with the usual nefarious cast.
The first of what will be many of Ambler's books that I will read. It's told from th point of view of an English/Egyptian living in Athens. After being caught trying to steal travelers checks, something he had done successfully in the past, he is forced into driving a car to Istanbul. Our "hero" has a unique outlook on the world and seems overly savvy in some circumstances and completely bumbling in others. My favorite is when he doesn't see a need to use the the earpiece for a radio transmission as he's been instructed. The message comes in loud and clear and is broadcast out the window. Lucky for him, no one is around to hear.I kept waiting to learn more about our narrator and while there is undoubtibly more to his character than he has let on, my suspicions remain unconfirmed. One thing is for sure, the world has treated him unjustly and very little is his fault.
Eric Ambler where have you been all my life? This book was a blast. A thriller set mainly in Turkey in the early 60s. Part of its charm was how dated it was. Forged travelers checks. Messages written in scraps of toilet paper and hidden in cigarette packs. Women getting their hair "shampoo and set." But even aside from that this book was a pleasure. Very well written. Main character much more three dimensional & complex than you would expect. And very evocative of the time & place. Perfect vacation read.
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