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The siege of the Villa Lipp Hardcover – January 1, 1977


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394499824
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394499826
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,202,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Eric Ambler is the recipient of four Gold Dagger Awards and one Silver. In 1975, he was named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 1, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Siege of the Villa Lipp is an uncharacteristic mature offering of Eric Ambler, well known for his international thrillers involving espionage. A social scientist, Professor Krom, has hypothesized that the study of criminals is all wrong because it focuses on those who are caught and jailed. These are not criminals to his way of thinking, but "unsuccessful" criminals. He argues that there are many successful criminals are bright and are never caught. Professor Krom accidentally stumbles onto the path of one Paul Firman who makes his money by helping wealthy people evade taxes using international loopholes and business structures. Convinced that Firman is such an "able" criminal, Krom demands an encounter to learn more. Accompanied by younger colleagues, George Connell and Geraldine Henson, a showdown is set for the Villa Lipp. Firman intends to keep them from dangerous truths, and Krom is determined to get to the bottom of his investigations. While at the Villa Lipp, it becomes clear that there's a larger game afoot. Then the action begins.
I have now read this book three times, the last two times about ten years apart. Once again, the book didn't work very well for me. There's too much "social science" theory in the dialogue to make the book really appealing. Krom, to me, is a buffoon, and not a very entertaining one. Connell and Henson aren't much more interesting. Firman is the life of the party, and the contrast with the other characters just makes the others less interesting.
If the same ending had been wrapped around a plot to steal and protect espionage secrets, this would have been a far more moving book. International tax-dodging just did not get my blood stirring. I guess it is so ordinary today, that we hardly think about it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael G. VINE VOICE on October 15, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Eric Ambler authored a number of great novels in a literary career that spanned nearly half a century. His best work is characterized by interesting characters, intriguing situations, timeless truths (geopolitical and otherwise), clever dialogue and understated wit. Sad to say, there is very little of any of that to be found in The Siege of the Villa Lipp.

The highly improbable plot revolves around a gentlemanly criminal who calls himself Paul Firman. Firman's lengthy career of crime began at the end of WWII and was still going strong in the 1970s, the time in which the events of The Siege of the Villa Lipp take place. With the help of various partners, associates and hirelings, Firman has accumulated great wealth by swindling blackmarketeers out of their ill gotten gains, extorting money from wealthy tax evaders who keep undeclared money in Swiss banks, and on occasion turning tax cheats over to the IRS for the reward money. In other words, he's a scam artist functioning at a very high level on the economic food chain.

In order to avoid exposure, Firman reluctantly agrees to be interviewed by a trio of academic criminologists over a period of several days at an isolated villa on the French Riviera. Most of the narrative consists of Firman describing his various scams, past and present, and how he has managed to operate undetected all these many years.

There's a lot wrong with this book. First of all, the crimes being described are based on arcane rules of taxation, currency exchange and banking practice. That alone is enough to guarantee the glazing over of most reader's eyes. But wait. There's more. Not one of the major characters is in the least bit sympathetic or likeable.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By fossil on July 5, 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gave up on this book after 50 pages. Boring and not an enjoyable read. And what makes it worse is the small print with 39 lines /page.
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