2007: 4. The Ministry of Fear

“There was something about a fete which drew Arthur Rowe irresistibly, bound him a helpless victim to the distant blare of a band and the knock-knock of wooden balls against coconuts.”

The Ministry of Fear, Graham Greene

I’m sure that I have said this before, but my husband is a HUGE fan of Graham Greene. We have almost an entire shelf of his books, and accordingly, he is often my go-to guy for commuting books in the “G’s” . And even though I rarely think to pick up a Greene book otherwise, I am never disappointed when the letter G rolls around. He is just such a great writer – whether it be his “entertainments” or his more serious novels, they are always great reads.

This book would be absolutely suited for a movie treatment – or at least for a miniseries by the BBC (I envisioned Clive Owen as the main character, but maybe it calls for someone slightly less charismatic)**. The book starts with Arthur Rowe attending a sad and shabby wartime fete – he is obviously burdened with a dark secret and is one of those men with no life at all. He accidentally trips into a spy plot (telling you how would ruin the fun) and finds himself on the run. Because of his past, he has almost no one to turn to. It is a pretty standard thriller, but the character of Rowe is so interesting that it pushes the book from merely enjoyable to something a little more. I can’t say that I will pick up a Greene novel anytime soon,* but I know I will love it when I do.


Recommend for: People who like spy novels, people who like Greene (which should be everyone! He writes so well!!), people interested in what it was like to live in London during wartime or to be 1930’s murderer.

* Further examination shows it was turned into a movie, in the 1940’s but the plot does not seem exactly the same.  Anyway, its due for a remake, then.

** At this rate, I may never get back to “G”. I have been reading my “H” book forever – to be fair, it is Les Miserables.

Date/Place Completed: 01/04/07, DC

Categories: Fiction, Commuting Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017