This is a slim little book, but the two stories in it pack quite a wallop. One, is, of course, the more famous, the basis for The Third Man movie. The other was also made into a movie, but is not as well known.
according to the foreword, The Third Man started life as a movie
project, but Graham Greene found he had to write it out in story format
in order to write the script. There are also differences between the
story and the film, including the ending. I don't know what that means,
in practice, as I haven't seen the movie yet. Hopefully that will be
In The Third Man, naive and somewhat blustering
western writer, Rollo Martins (whose pen name is Buck Dexter) comes to
Vienna after the Second World War, on the invitation of his friend Harry
Lime, who promises him an opportunity to make some money. But he gets
there only to attend Harry's funeral, and to be plunged into a morass
Harry left behind.
The head of the American police force in
divided Vienna accuses Lime of some pretty nasty dealings, but Martins
is fairly sure that his old school friend could not possibly be guilty
of anything so sordid. But as Martins is pulled deeper in to the mystery
of Harry's life and death, all sorts of illusions will be shot and fall
to the floor.
Having just come off a game of over a year of
Cold City, set in Cold War Berlin, this setting both felt familiar and
exciting. The divided city aspects reminded me of our game, and I
enjoyed watching those international politics play out over very grubby
In The Fallen Idol, a small boy is thrust into the
middle of a war between adults, and has little comprehension of the ways
he's being pulled and manipulated, and at the end, makes a gesture that
determines the fate of his best friend in the world.
Idol is not quite as intriguing a piece as The Third Man, but was still
very enjoyable. This book did not take long to (re)read, and I
thoroughly enjoyed it. One of my friends tried to borrow it before I was
done, so I've already passed it along.