Nicky Marlow needs a job. He's engaged to be married and the employment market in Britain in 1937 is pretty slim. So when his fiancée points out the position with an English armaments manufacturer in Italy, he jumps at the chance. Soon after he arrives, however, he learns the sinister truth about his predecessor's departure and finds himself courted by two agents with dangerously different agendas. In the process, Marlow realizes that it's not so simple just to do the job he's paid for - not in fascist Italy, on the eve of a world war.
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Interesting inter-war espionage thriller
A well plotted thriller set in Northern Italy where the naive English protagonist becomes embroiled in corruption and espionage in the context of the Berlin Rome axis pact. Fascinating insights into European politics and attitudes before the outbreak of war, highly recommend.
Ambler's understated style and ragtag assortment of heroes are very compelling. Cause for Alarm places a vulnerable, everyman engineer in Italy as war in Europe is beginning, and his realisation of how dark the world is becoming is as much part of the drama as the various plot twists.