Ambler, Eric Doctor Frigo

ISBN 13: 9780006165699

Doctor Frigo

3.45 avg rating
( 155 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780006165699: Doctor Frigo

A thriller by the author of "The Mask of Dimitrios", "The Levanter" and "Send no more Roses".

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Review:

What pleasurable admiration one derives from the fact that in an age, and an area, where most writers become burnt-out cases, Eric Ambler - who after his classic beginnings and less remarkable middle years and books - is now getting better and best. Burnt-out cases is a deliberately chosen term since this new novel takes place in Graham Greene-land - one of those desolate little Central American coffee republics where even the palm trees are "like tired, untidy women." Here Dr. Frigo (which means frozen meat) assumes an uncommitted, spectator stance after the assassination of his father (was he a real liberator or just an opportunist?) twelve years before, ignoring his mother's treason theory and her desire to have Ernesto (his given name) as an avenger. But he just goes about his doctoring and has an affair with one of the most charming creatures met in a long time - Elizabeth, an artist, also a Hapsburg of direct descent six times removed from the Empress Maria-Theresa of Austria, Elizabeth who makes unsettling insinuations and only too direct historical referrals to the Hapsburg past which might be pertinent now. Particularly since Ernesto is asked, forcibly, to attend Villegas, his father's successor and candidate for a new takeover backed by international off-shore oil interests. But apparently there is something very wrong with his patient, more than his "abdominal inconveniences" - there's his slurred speech which when finally diagnosed makes the whole matter one of the greatest confidentiality. And Ernesto is obliged to continue at the failing arm's length of his patient all through the grand deception, the chaotic coup (even if a fait accompli before it was started) and assassination. Thus we have a parapolitical thriller in which Ambler is only too aware of the pragmatic complexity of a submerged part of the world where the returns are great for a few - but then no "government can do things for people without doing things to them." Ambler's entertainment - and surely it is more than that - is urbane, amusing, cautionary and threateningly urgent at all times - in a word, masterful. (Kirkus Reviews)

About the Author:

Eric Ambler was born into a family of entertainers and in his early years helped out as a puppeteer. However, he initially chose engineering as a full time career, although this quickly gave way to writing. In World War II he entered the army and looked likely to fight in the line, but was soon after commissioned and ended the war as assistant director of the army film unit and a Lieutenant-Colonel. This experience translated into civilian life and Ambler had a very successful career as a screen writer, receiving an Academy Award for his work on The Cruel Sea by Nicolas Monsarrat in 1953. Many of his own works have been filmed, the most famous probably being Light of Day, filmed as Topkapi under which title it is now published. He established a reputation as a thriller writer of extraordinary depth and originality and received many other accolades during his lifetime, including two Edgar Awards from The Mystery Writers of America (best novel for Topkapi and best biographical work for Here Lies Eric Ambler), and two Gold Dagger Awards from the Crime Writer's Association (Passage of Arms and The Levanter). Often credited as being the inventor of the modern political thriller, John Le Carre once described Ambler as 'the source on which we all draw.' A recurring theme in his works is the success of the well meaning yet somewhat bungling amateur who triumphs in the face of both adversity and hardened professionals. Ambler wrote under his own name and also during the 1950's a series of novels as Eliot Reed, with Charles Rhodda. These are now published under the 'Ambler' umbrella.

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