I remember watching this movie on tv as a kid. From my mind, it was Obi Wan Kenobi walking around Cuba and just talking to people. I didn’t like it. Thirty years later, I really liked the book.
This one of Graham Greene’s “Entertainments” which are usually crime novels or spy novels. This one is more or less a spy novel, or more specifically it wasn’t supposed to be a spy novel until it became one.
Wormold is a vacuum cleaner salesman in Cuba before the revolution. It should be noted that the novel was also written before the revolution and sort of predicts major world events in the same sense that The Quiet American accurately predicted US involvement in Vietnam. Wormold’s daughter wants a horse, her mom isn’t around anymore, and Wormold wants to indulge her elaborate tastes.
So when he’s recruited to be a field captain for MI6 and run an office, he jumps on it. The idea is that if he can supply London with enough believable and contradictory reports he can draw salaries for himself and all his “contacts” a bunch of made up people. Problem is, they believe one of his more ridiculous reports, essentially drawings of missile platforms that he made based on vacuum cleaner parts. So do the Russians, who now maybe want to kill him.
It’s really funny, it’s really British, and I would probably like the movie better now too. I have only before read Graham Greene’s “serious” novels, but this was just as enjoyable.