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Three Entertainments

de Graham Greene

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1373153,048 (3.59)10

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Exibindo 3 de 3
The story involves a poor sap named Raven with a harelip and a sorry background, who takes on a contract to kill an "old minister" for 250 pounds, while the world is on the brink of another big war. There is some suggestion that world events will be influenced by this man's death, but how is never made plain. The "agent" who arranges the assassination ultimately pays in either counterfeit or marked bills, leaving Raven destitute and desperate. The plot gets tangled when the girlfriend of Scotland Yard's investigator is taken hostage by Raven. It's a peculiar convoluted tale, and I didn't think the author's style suited the action very well. He kept lulling me into a near-stupor when he should have had me on the edge of my seat.

Apparently the original British title of this book is [A Gun for Sale], which I find a little baffling. The phrase "gun for hire" or "hired gun" has a lot of history in the U.S., and refers to a hired assassin, or in the old wild west, any man whose skill with a pistol might be in demand for law enforcement, protection, etc. "For Sale" and "For Hire" don't connote the same thing to me at all. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Aug 10, 2019 |
Couldn't get into this that much. Read the first 2. ( )
  clarkland | Jun 12, 2016 |
This Gun for Hire was the best of the three, but I didn't write a review for it.

The Confidential Agent tells the story of D., an agent for one side of a civil war in an unnamed European country (clearly modeled after Spain). Bitter and withdrawn, D is sent to England in a bid to buy the coal that will keep his side’s government from collapse. A chance encounter with a woman who turns out to be the daughter of an English coal mine owner starts him down a path of encounters with both competing agents for the other side and distrusting and at times disloyal agents from his own side. Before he knows it, he’s also on the run from the police. This one is well written enough, but really pales in comparison to Greene's superb This Gun for Hire, which I had read immediately before. The characters are uniformly less compelling (in particular the romantic interest Rose), the plot much looser and driven by coincidence, the romance much less believable and the conclusion less satisfying. The most interesting thing about the book is it’s depiction of pre World War II England, its idiosyncrasies, its naiveté, and its social stratification. It’s a book that exudes cynicism about both politicians and capitalists and empathy for the poor.

The Ministry of Fear is another effective spy/crime/psychological thriller from Graham Greene. This one is set during the blitz in London, and again the insights into the historical period would pretty much make the book worth reading even if it weren't so well written. The most interesting thing about the book is the protagonist. What makes him interesting? He's a wife-murderer, for a start (he killed her out of pity for a debilitating disease). After spending some time in an asylum, he's back out on the street when a chance encounter trips him up in a ring of spies/traitors who are trying to smuggle incriminating pictures out of England. Before long he's back in an asylum, this time with amnesia. The prose is easy to read, and the plot is well constructed. Greene throws in a couple of nice surprises (this is one of those books where neither people nor things are what they initially seem). The dream sequences are particularly impressive. The most unconvincing aspect of the book was again the romance between a young woman and a much older man. Almost as if he were writing for Hollywood, for the next young starlet to be cast against a mature leading man. ( )
  clong | Dec 26, 2007 |
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Murder didn't mean much to Raven.
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The Ministry of Fear, The Confidential Agent, and This Gun for Hire (aka A Gun for Sale)
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