A chance encounter with a Turkish colonel with a penchant for British crime novels leads mystery writer Charles Latimer into a world of sinister political and criminal maneuvers throughout the Balkans in the years between the world wars. Hoping that the career of the notorious Dimitrios, whose body has been identified in an Istanbul morgue, will inspire a plot for his next novel, Latimer soon finds himself caught up in a shadowy web of assassination, espionage, drugs, and treachery.
"To say he is held in high esteem by his writing colleagues would be an understatement," Symons remarks in an article for the London Times. At a lunch held in honor of Ambler, Symons reports, such writers as John le Carre, Frederick Forsyth, Gavin Lyall, and Lionel Davidson were in attendance. Le Carre said that Ambler's novels "were the well into which everybody had dipped," while Graham Greene cabled a greeting: "To the master from one of his disciples."