The Mysterious Bookshop

Ambler, Eric - Passage of Arms

In this classic thriller, two American tourists find more adventure than they bargained for when they get involved with Chinese gun smugglers and Muslim revolutionaries, learning first hand about the intrigue of the post-colonial world.

Greg and Dorothy Nilsen had wanted to go on an adventurous trip, see some of the more out-of-the-way places. But the cruise they were on was turning out to be a bore. So when the gracious Mr. Tan requests that Greg take a side trip to Singapore to resolve a bureaucratic detail involving a consignment of small arms, Greg is surprisingly receptive. All he has to do is sign some papers, he’s told, and he’ll be paid a handsome fee. And everything does go smoothly, until it comes to getting a check co-signed by the rebel leader…

The idea of acting as front man for a Chinese pirate appeals to Nilsen's sense of humor. But what begins as a simple, if not entirely legal, matter of paper-shuffling ends up with Nilsen in an Indonesian jail. "Tops for its picture os Southeast Asia, in all its color and turmoil."--James M. Cain, The New York Times Book Review.