Our Man In Havana by Graham Greene is a satirical tale of espionage and intrigue. Jim Wormold is selling vacuum cleaners in Cuba before being enlisted by a fellow Brit named Hawthorne to spy on Cuba for England! Wormold is out of his league in the world of cloak and dagger missions, sensitive information gathering, and covert operations. He is a middle-aged father of a 17 year-old beauty named Milly, his wife ran off with an American some years before. Running a small vacuum cleaner business in Havana with an assistant named Lopez, the British Secret Service has completely misjudged who he is. Unwilling to disappoint them or to give up the $150 a month salary plus $150 a month expenses, he fabricates coded reports of military construction sites (drawn by tracing vacuum cleaner parts), expenses accounts, and lists of fictitious operatives and informants. Things get really complicated when the home office in London is impressed with his efforts and sends him a secretary named Beatrice and a radio operator named Rudy.
Meanwhile his daughter has grown accustomed to the money her father is bringing in and she spends it accordingly on a horse, saddle and tack, riding lessons at the country club, stable fees, etc. His good friend Dr. Hasselbacher has his residence ransacked and his daughter has an admirer in Captain Segura, the chief of police who is reputed to torture criminal and tourists alike. Wormold finds himself in one scrape after another but learns that Segura is a good name to drop to make people fear harming him. He flies to Jamaica, returns with an invitation to speak at the annual lunch of the European Traders' Association. Seated with Carter, MacDougall, Dr. Braun and a Swede, an attempt is made to poison him but he proves smarter than his enemies. As his cover is blown he is told to depart Cuba at once. Back in England he is mildly reprimanded but given a position with the British Secret Service and awarded the Order of the British Empire. He and Beatrice have fallen in love and will marry with Milly's blessing.
The review of this Book prepared by David Fletcher