Review: The Third Man and The Fallen Idol – by Graham Greene

Graham Greene is a classic early twentieth century English novelist. I remember studying Brighton Rock for my school GCSEs.
The Third Man is set in the murky underworld of post World War 2 Vienna. The Austrian capital has been quartered into four allied zones: English, French, American and Russian. A front of the Cold War there are often tensions between Communist Russia (Soviet Union) and the Western powers. Our antihero is Harry Lime, who has the mystery unfolds has a dirty racket selling fake penicillin at huge profit. Lime invites his old school chum Rollo Martins over to visit and when this small time writer arrives from London, penniless, he is shocked to discover that Harry Lime is dead and attends the funeral where he meets some of the other main protagonists of the tale. Colonel Calloway is the British policeman who is the one to provide the welcome party for Martins in lieu of his dead friend. Martins is hostile to the policeman and sad at his friend’s death. As he starts to investigate the whole matter a series of inconsistencies start to be thrown up. Martins falls in love with the Hungarian ex girlfriend of Lime who has a family history of Nazis and has trouble with the Russians. He encounters Harry’s mates and their tales about the car accident that killed him just doesn’t seem to add up. was it suicide or was it murder? Eventually the mystery deepens to the point that Martins discovers that Lime is so deep into a nasty drug dealing Penicillin racket that he’s actually faked his death and he eventually meets up with Harry’s ghost in the flesh, clandestinely in the shadowy depths of the snowy Vienna night. Ultimately Harry is exposed and the police encounter him and Martins even turns on his old friend and after a shootout in the underground sewer system our mysterious antihero Harry Lime is sent off to a second funeral.
The Fallen Idol is a short story which seen from a young child’s view is very descriptive and quaint. The child’s inability to keep secrets about the adults who are caring for him leads to a love truss and the murder of his friend’s wife. The child can’t help but reveal his friend’s identity as the assassin and the criminal is brought to justice.

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