DOCTOR FRIGO by Eric Ambler


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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. 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 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. 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.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1974
Publisher: Atheneum