Just as importantly, Ambler conscripts the reader into his antihero's plight.
Only a year after publishing Epitaph for a Spy, while England was bracing for another conflagration, Ambler sharpened his invective against what he regarded as history's frightening new logic.
Much later in the novel, by way of suggesting what this man of dubious background and numerous surnames represents, Ambler interjects this striking commentary:
The larger issue, then, that Ambler examines through his protagonist's obsessive fascination with Dimitrios is what he articulated only a year later in Journey into Fear--namely, the morass of danger within the quotidian world "waiting to make nonsense of all your comfortable ideas about your relations with time and chance, ready to remind you--in case you had forgotten--that civilisation was a word and that you still lived in the jungle" (70).
In his exemplary study titled Cover Stories, after positing that thrillers "foreground questions of point of view" (80), Denning observes that Ambler usually employs by way of narrators either an "actor telling his own tale after the event" (Epitaph for a Spy) or a "cynical historian showing us the ironic twistings of those who think they are more than puppets" (A Coffin for Dimitrios).
Though Marukakis, and by extension Ambler, concedes that his rhetoric is colored by phrases borrowed from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' The Communist Manifesto (1848), (11) he propounds the following indictment of a hypothetical representative of "big business" and Dimitrios's alliance with its Darwinian practices:
The story of Dimitrios had no proper ending," writes Ambler, by virtue of his typifying the corruptive "principle of expediency" that the novelist sees as regulating society worldwide (283, 253).
Exactly thirty years after the publication of his fifth novel, temporarily resurrecting Latimer in The Intercom Conspiracy, Ambler updates us on the fate that evasion and denial of this kind can expect in the Cold War era.