OUR MAN IN HAVANA
BY GRAHAM GREENE
A witty and entertaining spy vintage classic from the English novelist Graham Greene. Set in exotic Cuba, ‘Our Man in Havana’ (published in 1958) predates the missile crisis but presents the Cold War tensions that were rising with the real threat of a communist take over.
The story revolves around the novel’s comic character and British expat, Wormold, who is a vacuum cleaner salesman in Havana selling the latest ‘Atomic Pile Cleaner' in a city prone to power cuts making his pitch somewhat tough. Meanwhile his teen daughter is living well beyond her means so when a mysterious Englishman (and spy) offers extra income for local intel Wormold is tempted. In return, all he has to do is carry out a little espionage and file a few reports. As the reports are heading back to MI6’s HQ in England, Wormold decides to send fake reports, but when these start coming true Havana becomes a more threatening place!
The Den enjoyed being whisked away to another world and time in which spy activity was rudimentary and channels of communication unreliable. We also enjoyed the characters, all lightly drawn and woven into the carefully crafted spoof caper and it was a wonderful treat to enjoy a spy thriller that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Entertainment at its best.
The Den has also reviewed ‘The End of the Affair’ which can be found in the library.