Graham Greene's Thrillers and the 1930s


237 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7735-1433-3
DDC 823'.912




Reviewed by Bert Almon

Bert Almon is a professor of English at the University of Alberta and
the author of Calling Texas and Earth Prime.


Graham Greene was unique in his ability to write serious novels and
thrillers. Indeed, his thrillers often have high literary merit, and his
serious novels use the devices of thrillers. Brian Diemert’s fine
study explores this unusual overlap, illuminating Greene’s work and
examining some important aspects of the politically obsessed literature
of the 1930s.

Diemert’s research is excellent and his insights are important.
Especially interesting is his analysis of the detective in Greene’s
novels, who is traditionally an authority figure, knowing and capable.
But Greene’s detectives are usually haunted by uncertainties, a trait
that seems strikingly contemporary (we too are uncertain about the
truth) and that illustrates Greene’s brilliant anticipation of the

Although Diemert’s argument overflows a little too often into his
copious footnotes, the notes are worth reading. And there is a very
thorough bibliography. This is a valuable book on an important novelist
and a historical period that anticipates some of our own social and
political dilemmas.


Diemert, Brian., “Graham Greene's Thrillers and the 1930s,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,