Cause for Alarm (novel)

Cause for Alarm (novel)

"Cause for Alarm" is a novel by Eric Ambler first published in 1938. Set in Fascist Italy in that year, the book is one of Ambler's classic spy thrillers.

Plot summary

Nicholas Marlow, an English engineer engaged to a young doctor, one day, out of the blue, loses his well-paid job. After several months of sheer desperation, he is offered by an English armament manufacturer the post of the firm's representative in Italy. Able to speak some Italian, Marlow gladly accepts, secretly deciding that he will quit the job again as soon as possible to go back to England and get married.

On arrival in Milan, he realizes that there is a huge backlog at his office, and that both Bellinetti, his personal assistant (male), and his secretary (female) are highly inefficient co-workers. What is more, a lot of his time is diverted by the Italian authorities, to whom he has to report on a regular basis and who eventually inform him that they have misplaced his passport so that he is temporarily unable to leave the country.

There is growing uneasiness on Marlow's part when he happens to notice that his private correspondence with his fiancée has been steamed open. When he makes friends with Andreas Zaleshoff, an American businessman of Russian descent whose office is in the same building, he learns from the latter that Bellinetti is an agent for the OVRA and watching each and every step Marlow takes, and that his predecessor's accident—he was run over by a car in a dark and foggy street of Milan—was in fact cold-blooded politically motivated murder. On top of all that, Marlow is contacted by a General Vagas who informs him that he has no choice but to work as a Yugoslav spy.

There is no way Marlowe could legally leave Italy, especially after an arrest warrant has been issued for him by the authorities. Assisted by Zaleshoff, he succeeds in making his escape from Milan. Together, the two men embark on a several day long odyssey through the North of Italy—by train and on foot—until they finally, in the midst of a snowbound forest, reach the Yugoslav border. (Their flight takes up more than one third of the novel.) From Zagreb, Marlow can safely travel home to England.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cause for Alarm — may refer to:* Cause for Alarm (novel) , a 1938 novel by Eric Ambler * Cause for Alarm! , a 1951 film noir by Tay Garnett starring Loretta Young, Barry Sullivan and Bruce Cowling (not a filmed version of Ambler s novel) * Cause for Alarm , a 1986 …   Wikipedia

  • Cheers for Miss Bishop — Directed by Tay Garnett Produced by Richard A. Rowland Written by Bess Streeter Aldrich (novel) Stephen Vincent Benet Sheridan Gibney Adelaide Heilbron …   Wikipedia

  • The Victim (novel) — For the 1980 martial arts comedy film, see The Victim (film). For other uses, see Victim. Infobox Book name = The Victim image caption = author = Saul Bellow country = United States language = English genre = Novel publisher = The Vanguard Press… …   Wikipedia

  • Bourbon Restoration — For the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty following the First Spanish Republic, see Spain under the Restoration. Kingdom of France Royaume de France ← …   Wikipedia

  • Battle of Bunker Hill — For a list of numerous places and things that are named after this battle, see Bunker Hill (disambiguation). Battle of Bunker Hill Part of the American Revolutionary War …   Wikipedia

  • United States — a republic in the N Western Hemisphere comprising 48 conterminous states, the District of Columbia, and Alaska in North America, and Hawaii in the N Pacific. 267,954,767; conterminous United States, 3,022,387 sq. mi. (7,827,982 sq. km); with… …   Universalium

  • Calendar of 2001 — ▪ 2002 January America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these principles …   Universalium

  • Valentin Rasputin — Valentin Grigoriyevich Rasputin ( ru. Валентин Григорьевич Распутин) (born March 15, 1937) is a Russian writer. He was born and lived much of his life in the Irkutsk Oblast in Eastern Siberia. Rasputin s works depict rootless urban characters and …   Wikipedia

  • 1938 New England hurricane — New England Hurricane Category 5 hurricane (SSHS) Weather map from September 21, 1938 featuring the storm Formed September 10, 1938 Dissipated September 22, 1938 …   Wikipedia

  • MarilynManson.com — URL www.marilynmanson.com/ Commercial? No Type of site Rock band website Owner Marilyn Manson Created by Marilyn Manson, Rob Anderson, Ca …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”