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A tense plot among sharply drawn characters
on June 27, 2006
In this novel, Graham Greene tells the story of seven main characters who all embark on a train journey from Ostend to Istanboul. Coral Musker, a good natured variety dancer with a bad heart, Dr Richard John, Myatt Carleston, a Jewish tradesman dealing in currants, Mr Opie, a clergyman, Janet Pardoe and Mabel Warren, a couple of lesbian women, Dr Richard Czinner, a famous socialist agitator who disappeared from Belgrade five years before and is now returning to his country to stand trial and finally Joseph Grünlich, a notorious Viennese thief and murderer.
As the story unfolds, more and more is revealed to the reader about the characters' past, some having had a rather shady existence. Mr Greene skilfully shows how different personalities react and behave in a sort of mental struggle once they are thrown together and forced to spend three days in the confined space of a railway carriage. A short, tense and disturbing novel which shows that one rarely escapes one's fate. The reader, Michael Maloney, performs a commendable act, using an wide variety of accents. An excellent audiobook.