Cause for Alarm, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


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 fiancee 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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288 pages, No illustrations
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Espionage & spy thriller
  • ISBN: 9780141190327

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

A strong and surprisingly modern spy story. An engineer finds a job representing a British firm in Milan in the late thirties. He becomes more and more caught up in the world of espionage. A decent but naive man, he muddles through and survives. An enjoyable read.

Review by

Published in 1938, this political spy novel can still entice the modern reader with a fast-speed, racy story. Surely, some of it seems dated, murder in an alley of long shadows, but this is only because we have seen to many movies from or about the same period. Retrospectively, we can see how well Eric Ambler caught the spirit of the day, with rising fascism in Italy. I am sure that, as more fiction from the 1930s comes into the public domain, or is re-issued, as this edition is in Penguin Modern Classics, and we will read more fiction from that period, we will have to re-evaluate the view that people did not see fascism coming.

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