Saturday, August 29, 2009

Five best novels on political conspiracy

Joseph Finder is a member of the ­Association of Former Intelligence Officers. His ­novels include Paranoia, High Crimes, and the recently released suspense thriller Vanished.

For the Wall Street Journal, he named a five best list of books on political conspiracy. One title on the list:
The Ministry of Fear
by Graham Greene
Viking, 1943

Set in London during the Blitz, "The Ministry of Fear"—the only novel Graham Greene wrote during the war years—opens with a ­now-familiar Hitchcockian gambit: An innocent man stumbles upon a secret and is marked for death. Arthur Rowe, a loner who has just been released from an insane asylum, wins a cake at a carnival by guessing its precise weight. Concealed in the cake is a spool of film intended for a Nazi spy. Rowe becomes the target of a ­shadowy international espionage ring bent on stealing vital British war plans. On this slim armature Greene constructs a richly atmospheric thriller, one of the classics of the genre. His prose is spare and elegant, his pacing masterly. The protagonist, haunted by a terrible crime in his past, loses his memory and comes to feel "directed, controlled, molded, by some agency with a surrealist imagination," pursued through a city where entire buildings can disappear overnight in a bombing raid.
Read about another novel on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue