Charles Latimer is a mild, agreeable, former British professor who left academia to become a modestly successful writer of detective stories. While vacationing in Turkey in the 1930's, he meets Colonel Haki, an important official in the Turkish police, and a serious fan of Latimer's novels. At first, Haki would like to supply mediocre plots for Latimer's next book, but eventually the conversation turns to real criminals that Haki has known, particularly an arch-fiend named Dimitrios Makropolous, whose body has just been recovered by a fisherman. Certain portions of Dimitrios's criminal career are well-established, but there are several large holes in the timeline. Latimer is fascinated by Dimitrios's story, and decides to travel through the various locales where Dimitrios was known to have engaged in criminal activities (drug dealing, murder, espionage, and political assassination, among others), to see if he can uncover more of the story. As Latimer meets Dimitrios's former associates, he is increasingly drawn into the criminal underworld, until he is indistinguishable from the villains he studies.
This report prepared by A. J. Bell