By Fiona Kelleghan (ed.)
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Extra info for 100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction (Magill's Choice)
In the end, however, Vautrin goes over to the other side and becomes head of the Sûreté, just as his model, François-Eugène Vidocq had done. Vidocq, whose mémoires had been published in 1828-1829, was a good friend of Balzac and often told him of his police adventures or his prison escapes, as numerous as they were extraordinary. Besides Vidocq, Vautrin is said to resemble other historical figures such as Yemelyan Pugachov and Louis-Pierre 20 100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction Louvel, a result of Balzac’s technique of using historical originals, which he reinterprets, re-creates, and ultimately transforms.
In The Light of Day, Simpson, who works as a guide in Athens in order to pursue his career as a minor thief and pimp, is caught rifling a client’s luggage and is blackmailed into cooperating with him. Later, when arms are found behind a door panel of the car he agrees to drive across the Turkish border, the Turkish police force him to cooperate with them. Simpson’s neutral position, in between two forces which in his view are equally exploitative and threatening, would seem to be Ambler’s comment upon the modern dilemma.
He later studied at University College, Oxford, where he earned a degree in classics. After World War I started in 1914, he enlisted in the British Army and eventually attained the rank of lieutenant. However, he became a victim of gas warfare on a French battlefield and left the army with permanently damaged health. In 1917 Berkeley married Margaret Fearnley Farrar. That marriaged ended in 1931 and was followed a year later by Berkeley’s marriage to a woman variously identified as Helen Macgregor or Helen Peters.
100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction (Magill's Choice) by Fiona Kelleghan (ed.)