The Third Man

By Graham Greene,

Book cover of The Third Man

Book description

Rollo Martins' usual line is the writing of cheap paperback Westerns under the name of Buck Dexter. But when his old friend Harry Lime invites him to Vienna, he jumps at the chance. With exactly five pounds in his pocket, he arrives only just in time to make it to…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked The Third Man as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I like books from guys who’ve traveled and been around a while before sitting down to write them. I suppose I’m one, but Graham Greene remains a hero of mine even though he died over twenty years ago. In this book, Greene masterfully creates the atmosphere of dark, damp, smoky post-war side streets in post-war Vienna.   

That the criminal element involves a crime syndicate selling diluted penicillin also appeals to me, as I’ve written three novels about fraud and corruption in the pharmaceutical industry.  

Green’s book led to a series of films, and this book's signature tune still resonates with…

Spies, a mysterious death with what could be construed as a “ghostly” sighting, and an atmosphere that could be considered modern Gothic. This is the setup of Graham Greene’s The Third Man.

Under the backdrop of darkness and devastation which was still lingering in postwar Vienna, Greene shows it as a once beautiful city cast in a foggy pall, the cursed cloud of death hanging over it, which also happens to the characters in the story. The Third Man mixes the dread of Gothic and the unfolding suspense and paranoia involving the shadowy people in a shadowy world of espionage…

From Wade's list on the Gothic-espionage connection.

Greene wrote much of his screenplay-turned- iconic Cold War thriller at the Café Mozart overlooking the gorgeous Albertinaplatz in Vienna. Immortalized by the 1949 British film,  the story is a dark look at the craters and restoration of the Post-war years in the Allied-occupied city. When author Rollo Martins is invited to visit his old friend Harry Lime in the war-torn city, he finds himself embroiled in racketeering, the seedy schwartzmarkt, and even murder.  This atmospheric look at a city in tatters where cigarettes were a more secure currency than the defunct reichsmarks littering the bombed street, it is a…

Magical Disinformation

By Lachlan Page,

Book cover of Magical Disinformation

Lachlan Page Author Of Magical Disinformation

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I lived in Latin America for six years, working as a red cross volunteer, a volcano hiking guide, a teacher, and an extra in a Russian TV series (in Panama). Having travelled throughout the region and returning regularly, I’m endlessly fascinated by the culture, history, politics, languages, and geography. Parallel to this, I enjoy reading and writing about the world of international espionage. Combining the two, and based on my own experience, I wrote my novel, Magical Disinformation, a spy novel set in Colombia. While there is not a huge depth of spy novels set in Latin America, I’ve chosen five of my favourites spy books set in the region.

Lachlan's book list on spy books set in Latin America

What is my book about?

This book is a spy novel with a satirical edge which will take you on a heart-pumping journey through the streets, mountains, jungles, and beaches of Colombia. Our Man in Havana meets A Clear and Present Danger.

Magical Disinformation

By Lachlan Page,

What is this book about?

In the era of ‘fake news’ in the land of magical realism, fiction can be just as dangerous as the truth... Discover Lachlan Page’s Magical Disinformation: a spy novel with a satirical edge set amongst the Colombian peace process. Described by one reviewer as “Our Man in Havana meets A Clear and Present Danger.”

Oliver Jardine is a spy in Colombia, enamoured with local woman Veronica Velasco.

As the Colombian government signs a peace agreement with the FARC guerrillas, Her Majesty’s Government decides a transfer is in order to focus on more pertinent theatres of operation.

In a desperate attempt…


According to the author, The Third Man “was never written to be read, but only to be seen.” However, I love that it is in the text where the characters—who cast such long shadows in the film—were given their original weight and heft. The story is simple, but the history is inescapable. Rollo Martins, an American writer investigating the death of his friend, unveils a black market penicillin ring. The cynicism and disillusionment of postwar Vienna are vivid and palpable. Martins—earnest and relentless—shifts between innocence and ignorance, leaving you to wonder if he isn’t Greene’s commentary on America itself.

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