Title: The Levanter
Author: Eric Ambler
Ambler, Eric (1972, 2012). The Levanter. New York, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
PZ3.A48 Le3 2012
Date Posted: April 29, 2015
Ever since Coffin for Dimitrios through his Topkapi-d continuity (a good and admirable quarter of a century) Eric Ambler has written devious and diverting entertainments such as this one which is based in the Middle East where you’re never quite sure what is going on or about to go off—grenades in grapefruit or bombs in flight bags. Michael Howell, in spite of his Anglicized name, is a “levantine mongrel” carrying on his family business and now trying to convert his “blocked assets” into something more profitable such as ceramics or dry batteries. Until he is unwillingly involved with Salah Ghaled, key activist with the Palestine Liberation Organization who is interested in detonators for use against the Israelis and who is able to enlist his cooperation. . . up to a point. The story is told through alternating, questioning (an American journalist) and sympathetic (his mistress’) eyes and it’s a sinuous, chancy and altogether nervy affair. You’ll probably find Ambler’s Levanter the most attractive antihero who’s been around in some time.