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The Ministry of Fear (Macmillan Collector's Library)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Ministry of Fear (Macmillan Collector's Library).pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Graham Greene(Author)

    Book details

It is 1941 and bombs have turned London into the front line of a world war. In the shadows of the Blitz, Hitler’s agents are running a blackmail operation to obtain documents that could bring the nation to instant defeat. Arthur Rowe, a man once convicted of a notorious mercy killing, stumbles onto a German spy operation in Bloomsbury and must be silenced. But even with his memory taken from him, he is still a very dangerous witness.

A taut thriller and a haunting exploration of pity, love, and guilt, The Ministry of Fear by Graham Greene is universally acknowledged as one of the greatest of all spy novels.

With an introduction by the biographer and editor Professor Richard Greene.

Designed to appeal to the booklover, the Macmillan Collector’s Library is a series of beautifully bound gift editions of much loved classic titles.

Greene classed The Ministry of Fear as one of his 'entertainments', a straightforward thriller. It is far from that, in fact it is one of his strangest, most unnerving novels. During the 1942 London blitz an apparently ordinary man (who is actually a murderer) wanders into a charity fete and, taking part in a traditional fund-raising competition, successfully guesses the weight of a home-made cake. This simple action leads him into a dark labyrinth of strange and inexplicable happenings - a meeting with two refugees, a fatal stabbing, an encounter in a deserted hotel, the opening of a suitcase, and then in the weirdest chapter of all, the central character... But that would be telling. The book has all the usual Greene ingredients: strange dreams and hazy, threatening memories, shadowy malign enemies, a romance which is a kind of betrayal, and at its centre the worst fear of all - the fear of a mind giving way, a personality distorted, a reality which is actually unreal. A thriller? Yes, and an excellent one. But also a very great deal more. (Kirkus UK)Less bizarre than Brighton Rock or Thy Labyrinthine Ways, this is a return to the straight mystery novel which in Greene's hands is always something more. Psychologically provocative, atmospherically adept, it is the story of Arthur Rowe who by chance becomes the victim of a group of Nazi agents, operating and gaining power through fear. Strange occurrences, the cake at the fair which makes him the butt of murder, a seance where another man is killed in his stead, a bombing and subsequent amnesia which lands him in a private nursing home; strange people, the private detective who disappears, a fortune teller, the Hilfes - refugee brother and sister, and an enigmatic psychiatrist. Finally, in coordination with the Yard, the webbing of fortuitous events and individuals becomes clear - and Rowe is released from a past and private guilt, the killing of his wife. Ingenious intrigue, handled with fastidious finish. (Kirkus Reviews) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Book details

  • PDF | 280 pages
  • Graham Greene(Author)
  • Macmillan Collector's Library; New Edition edition (27 July 2017)
  • English
  • 2
  • Crime, Thrillers & Mystery

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Review Text

  • By G. A. H. Davey on 17 May 2017

    Good to find a copy of this . Print rather small .

  • By arn on 29 May 2017

    great writer great story

  • By mairin on 22 March 2017

    TYPICAL GREENE - loved it

  • By Alfred J. Kwak on 25 May 2017

    This 1943 novel is subtitled ‘an entertainment’, Greene’s term for lighter works he produced, but is it really ‘light’? It starts out as a very literal interpretation of the English saying, “You can’t have your cake and eat it”. Arthur Rowe wins a cake at a fundraising event after consulting its fortune teller. Its organisers are reluctant to let him have it, but Arthur takes it home. Next day, a man arrives at his lodging house and insinuates himself into eating slice after crumbling slice of said cake. Then a German bomb strikes the house. [After all, the novel is situated in London during the Blitz.] Arthur used to be a journalist. He has been tried for mercy-killing his terminally-ill wife and was sent (briefly) to a psychiatric institution and is now unemployable. Neither the armed forces nor civil defence want him in its ranks. He had few possessions, just his clothes and two books he loved when young and reread again and again, but he is financially secure. He is convinced his visitor on the fateful night tried to poison him and is keen on finding out why. Did the cake he was not meant to win, contain something he must not find? Graham Greene did his bit for the country by e.g. concocting this counter-espionage novel, co-starring an ‘Austrian refugee’ brother and sister surnamed Hilfe (‘help’, ‘aid’, ‘assistance’) running a well-connected humanitarian agency with plenty of volunteers. Greene pictures plenty of wartime poverty, stoicism and sacrifice on behalf of the home nation. And portrays (even) blundering Arthur, stunned, burdened and confused by his life’s losses, as useful in the war effort! Was made into a ‘noir’ war movie in 1944. And Graham Greene stayed true to himself, creating complex Arthur, forever musing about goodness and guilt.

  • By "Belgo Geordie" on 7 September 2013

    This was a very good read. On the train an hour each morning on the way to work. Although born ten years after the conclusion of the Second World War, I can still remember England post war before the recovering sixties and Mr Greene captures the atmosphere of this very well. Austerity, the claustrophobic society where people conform because of the risk of shame; rather than stand out, or heaven forbid-appear "foreign". This is one of Graham Greene's more satisfying stories. Part whodunit, spy and crime novel. But what works for me is the sense of time and place. Reading this, I could imagine London under war and Blitz conditions and the characters remained credible and added to the story/plot and settings. I was absorbed and felt dusty and grimy sitting on the train. Recommended.

  • By David Cook on 7 June 2004

    "There was something about a fete which drew Arthur Rowe irresistibly....." It's now over ten years since I first read this book, but something about it haunts my memory, making me read and re-read it over and over again. Perhaps it is the dream like quality of Greene's prose, or the way he brings blitz torn London to life, or perhaps simply his portrayal of his protagonist, Arthur Rowe, an innocent lost and alone in a guilty world.One of Greene's more obscure novels, well worth reading and, together with 'Brighton Rock', an ideal introduction to this writer's world.

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