The gripping tragi-comedy of a bungled kidnapping in a provincial Argentinean town tells the story of Charley Fortnum, the 'Honorary Consul', a whisky-sodden figure of dubious authority, who is taken by a group of revolutionaries.
As Eduardo Plarr, a local doctor, negotiates with revolutionaries and authorities for Fortnum's release, the corruption of both becomes evident.
©1973 Graham Greene; (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
Tim Pigott-Smith does an excellent job of reading this book, creating a series of readily indentifiable voices for all of the protagonists.
The story itself is classic Greene and it authentically captures the humidity, sleaze and ennui of it's setting in a town on the banks of the river that marks the border between Argentina and Paraguay. It is well plotted, has great characters and explores issues of nationality, idealism and, as always with Graham Greene, the catholic church.
Why only four stars then? Well, there is a section in the book in to which the author uncharacteristically clumsily shoehorns a discussion on religion that goes on rather longer than necessary to drive the plot and is presumably there to allow Graham Greene a platform on which to share his views of the roman church. Please don't let this put you off though - this is a really good story, beautifully read.
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