The Light of Day

By Eric Ambler,

Book cover of The Light of Day

Book description

Arthur Abdel Simpson is a failed journalist and soon-to-be failed thief, embittered by memories of his unhappy childhood in England and eking out a living in Athens. When he spots a newly arrived tourist at the airport, he offers his services as a private driver and sees an easy chance…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The Light of Day as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book was a joy to get myself lost in. I get to feel sorry for small-time hustler Arthur Simpson as he gets into further mishaps from being blackmailed into smuggling by international villains.

It is a humourous thriller about a jewel heist from a great author and was turned into the equally excellent 1964 film Topkapi starring Peter Ustinov.

Ok, it’s an old thriller set in the pre-Internet, pre-mobile phone, pre-EU world of the 1960s. It’s a piece of twentieth-century clockwork, but it delivers suspense! The amoral protagonist can’t summon help by phone or Google his adversaries to gain an advantage. He must work to gain leniency from the Turkish authorities by acting as a double agent, delivering weapons to a gang of potential terrorists so that he might spy on them. The writing has a sharp precision and crisp wit.

Most people came to know the story of Eric Ambler’s 1962 nail-biter through its smash-hit film adaptation—Topkapi. Melina Mercouri played Elizabeth Lipp, who, on a trip to Istanbul, spots a replica of the famous jewel-encrusted Sultan’s Dagger at a fair. She visits the Topkapi Palace museum to view the original. Enter a dashing Swiss master criminal played by Maximilian Schell. They cook up a plot that involves lowering an acrobatic, mute thief from a window in the roof, to steal the dagger from its vitrine. Crucial to the scheme is that the dangling man does not touch the floor, where…

From Matthew's list on stealing diamonds.

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