This is a curious book. A pioneer in the espionage novels, casting an unwitting foreign (a Brit in the two Ambler books I've read) in an espionage plot he only slowly realizes he's entangled in, Ambler created a template that's been used over and over again and remains surprisingly contemporary. Yet, I can't imagine this book being published today because it so often violates the "show, don't tell" rule. For extended passages—sometimes entire chapters—the story is told in letters or paraphrased exposition that the protagonist meets with. The protagonist has little to say during these stretches and while the exposition is well-crafted and engaging, it never rises to "showing."I some ways, this is an argument against the "show" rule. Ambler creates a gripping story with few cliff-hangers, too much show, and just about everything else thriller writers are supposed to avoid. While not reaching the masterly levels of Ambler's contemporary, Graham Greene, or the current works of Phillip Kerr, A Coffin for Dimitrios is as enjoyable and well crafted as any of Alan Furst's novels—which is by no means damning with faint praise.