Mr. Arkadin AKA Confidential Report
IT (HarperCollins), Apr 6 2010, $13.99
Just after the war, Chesterfield smuggler Guy van Stratten and his girlfriend Mily find the dying man with a knife in his back near their boat the Queenie. Marcel Bracco tells them to find Gregory Arkadin if they want to make a fortune. The cops arrive as Bracco dies, but also look on board the Queenie where they find the illegal contraband. Guy spends the next three months behind bars.
After his release, Guy searches for and finds Mily who works on board Arkadin’s ship. However, Guy also learns the great international financier has a daughter Raina and knows she is the best ticket to get to her father and subsequently a lot of money though he remains unsure how. Guy maneuvers a dance with Raina and a ride to Marseille. Guy meets Arkadin who hires him to find out who he was before arriving in Zurich in 1927 with 200,000 Swiss francs.
Although the novelization of the Welles’ unfinished movie (as described by John Parker in the forward: apparently there were several versions but none finished by Welles) is an intriguing character study starring individuals who are shady and most often on the wrong side of the law. Although the tale is slow at first, once Guy and Raina meet, the action picks up until a final confrontation. Fans of Orson Wells will enjoy this entertaining reprint of a 1950s thriller as his antiheroes work post Europe with a capitalist need at the bottom line at all costs.