Unabridged and read by James Mason. 2 hours 49 mins duration. 2 Cassettes. (Fraunhofer CBR 32 kbit/s 22050 Hz Mono).
The Third Man, written originally as the outline for the screenplay of Carol Reed's famous 1949 film of the same name, is set in Vienna just after World War II, when the conquering British, Americans, French, and Russians have divided the city into four separate zones. Residents and visitors alike must deal with four different governments, four sets of officials, four collections of laws, and four sets of mutual resentments as they try to navigate the city, and Greene uses these divisions to provide tension, mystery, and an almost palpable aura of menace to his story.
Rollo Martins, an author of cowboy novels, arrives in Vienna to visit an old school friend, Harry Lime, only to find that he has arrived on the day of Lime's funeral. Investigating Lime's death, Martins learns that a neighbor saw the traffic accident that killed Lime and observed three men carrying Lime's body from the scene. Only two of those men have been identified--the third man has vanished. As Martins investigates Lime's death, the novel is by turns exciting and darkly humorous, intensely visual in its descriptions and action, but lacking the characterization and thematic focus which one associates with most of Greene's work. The story is full of wit and dark theatrics, and includes everything from a chase through the sewers to a love story.