Get Your Free Audiobook

The Third Man

Narrated by: Martin Jarvis
Length: 3 hrs and 1 min
5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

Non-member price: $19.75

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

The Third Man is one of the truly great post-war films. It's a thrilling story of black-marketeering set against a backdrop of Vienna in the immediate post-war era, when the city was divided into four zones amongst the major powers: Russia, Britain, France, and America.

Although the stars of the film, Orson Welles as Harry Lime and Joseph Cotton as Rollo (changed to "Holly" for the film) Martins were American, the two main characters in the book are quintessential Englishmen who were at the same public school.

Graham Greene wrote the novella first ("to me it is impossible to write a film play without first writing the story" Greene wrote later) and then adapted it for the screenplay.

The story is written in the first person from the point of view of the British chief of police, the part played in the film by Trevor Howard. He is investigating the death of Harry Lime when Rollo Martins, a writer of Westerns, arrives in Vienna to visit his old school friend and gets inextricably involved in the mystery.

©1998 CSA Word (P)2004 CSA Word

Critic Reviews

"Smooth and precise, Jarvis brings Greene's story alive in exquisite detail and with superb characterizations." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb reading of a perfect novella

Greene wrote this as preparation for writing the screenplay. The novella matches the movie, and the performance honours both.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gurth W.
  • Gurth W.
  • 05-03-2010

excellent narration

An excellent narration by Martin Jarvis who has great skill in subtly changing his voice for various characters. I highly recommend this version of a great story

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Darryl
  • Darryl
  • 02-05-2013

Graham Greene is great

While the classic film is slightly different, in general it follows rather closely. but I was struck this time through by some of the literary/symbolic strengths that i had not noticed previously when i listened to it and it will add greater depth to the film as well upon next viewing. I think a nice "paper" could be written on the novel and perhaps a comparison piece. I've read/listened to almost all of Greene and have enjoyed them all and look forward to revisiting a couple of favorites. Similar to LeCarre in the sense that the novels are well written stylistically, and that there is more going on with the language and characters and symbolism than in run of the mill pop thrillers. Hope for Travels With My Aunt someday, very funny and a favorite that should be available.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Martha
  • Martha
  • 10-06-2012

A favorite film becomes a favorite book.

Jarvis is an exceptional reviewer. As a fan of the film, I wondered if the book would live up to Carol Reed's classic. However, Greene's prose is so exceptionally funny and dark that I was on the edge of my seat throughout the reading, even though I already know how it all ends. Wonderful.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for J. Manley
  • J. Manley
  • 12-02-2016

The novella behind the screen play behind the movie

Very nice Graham Greene: taut, great sense of place, frustrating main character, even that theme playing in the background at key spots.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for John Wesley Teets
  • John Wesley Teets
  • 10-09-2015

Great Story and Narration

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I love Graham Greene's work and this is one of his most enjoyable stories. The setting is Austria during the four power occupation just after the end of the last world war. We encounter a down and out western novelist traveling to Vienna at the invitation of his dear old friend. He arrives with little money and no real prospects just in time to attend his friend's funeral. Shortly afterwards the mystery of his friend's death begins to unfold.

What other book might you compare The Third Man to and why?

Any old 1940s detective murder mystery.

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite scene gives too much away for a review. An amusing scene not related to Lime's death is Martins drunken discussion with the "book club" members who have mistaken Martins for another author named Dexter, which is also Matins' pen name. Martins accepts their hospitality and free hotel room. However, their Mr. Dexter does not write cheap paperback westerns and they have a difficult time understanding Martins' references to Zane Grey.

If you could rename The Third Man, what would you call it?

I cannot think of a better title. The Third Man is perfect!

Any additional comments?

Although the book is short, it is a great story with a number of twists. If you have not read Greene, this is a great starter for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for S. Jones
  • S. Jones
  • 25-04-2015

Fans of the Movie, Meet the Book

If you liked the classic movie, you'll enjoy this book, if only to discover how faithful Carol Reed reproduced Graham Greene's classic for the screen. About the only difference is the ending (which I think the movie did better). Narrator Martin Jarvis is excellent, as usual.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anniebligh
  • Anniebligh
  • 27-12-2012

Great stuff

The movie (and naturally including it's music) is my favourite noir film.
Here is the story that was written for the movie, so well read by Martin Jarvis.

Of course as I listened, the imagery from the movie was evoked.

Most interesting for me was in learning that both Harry and Rollo were English, not American. It was the character of Rollo that developed more depth in the story. An English writer of American Westerns who is used to getting the girl he wants becomes a much more likely pal of Harry.
I want to watch the movie again, to see if Rollo still seems as simple as I remember.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jeff Lacy
  • Jeff Lacy
  • 30-08-2019

Greene assembles and executes a good novel

Post WWII Vienna and the black market thrives. Greed among thieves leads to murder. Martin Rollo, a British writer of American westerns, comes to Vienna at the invitation of his long-time friend Harry Lime. When he arrives, he learns that Harry has died after being run over in the street outside his home by a Jeep. Martin soon becomes convinced that Harry has been murdered. Has he? Great writing, wonderful characters, nice performance.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for mr kieran j murphy
  • mr kieran j murphy
  • 20-07-2019

Wonderful

I think this is a wonderful book and really enjoyed the story. The narration is wonderful.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Johan
  • Johan
  • 12-01-2017

Excellent Revisit!

I loved the revisit to a familiar story in audible form and the reminder of the film in the tune.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Frankiesam
  • Frankiesam
  • 01-12-2015

Excellent novel and narration

What did you like most about The Third Man?

The narration is excellent. The novel and film are so well known that it is difficult to believe that the narration would add an extra dimension to the work but, amazingly, Martin Jarvis narrates so well - the pace and tone is outstanding, that the tension and ambiance of the era is communicated so well.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Third Man?

Scene setting at the start is excellent.

What does Martin Jarvis bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The tone and pace is excellent throughout.

Any additional comments?

I thoroughly recommend this book. It is well narrated, the plot and characterisation excellent throughout.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Bel
  • Bel
  • 17-05-2018

Just like I remembered it

I watched the film decades ago, so I remembered roughly what it was about.
When I got hold of a cheap copy of the audio book, I thought it was a great chance to actually get to know the original story.
Although my memory of the film is hazy at beast, my impression was, that it is a good adaptation.

I really enjoyed the book. Martin Jarvis' narration was perfect, and I didn't even mind that the audio was interspersed with the Harry Lime Theme which is so well known from the film. In fact, I actually enjoyed it.
If you don't know the story, go ahead and listen to it, then go on and watch the film if you can get a copy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Renzo
  • Renzo
  • 08-06-2017

Time to revisit a classic we grew up with.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Third Man to be better than the print version?

No. Different, not better. A book can be kept, dipped into and enjoyed.

What did you like best about this story?

Another world, defeated WW2 Europe.
We studied this in English at school early 1970's. We grew up with the atmospheric film and I have the soundtrack.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for bill
  • bill
  • 10-01-2019

Truly wonderful

A Europe worn out and angry after a devastating war. Victims feeding off victims. Truth and love only flickering faintly in the darkness.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-09-2017

Classic Tale

I have read the book, seen the film and now heard the audio: wonderful reading of a marvellous book.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gary B.
  • Gary B.
  • 04-10-2019

Short but excellent

A classic because of the movie - I wonder if it would still be remembered without it? That said, it should be! Great vibe and movement in this short story - I really enjoyed it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Norma Miles
  • Norma Miles
  • 19-09-2019

"The whole past moving off under a cloud. "

Set in post war Vienna, when the city was divided between the occupying forces of Britain, France, America and Russia, The Third Man is a noir thriller, arguably better known as an intensely atmospheric film, produced by Carol Reed, and starring Joseph Cotton and the wonderful Orson Welles and featuring the Anton Karas musical score: the Harry Lime theme, played on a zither.

I have loved the film for over half a century (plus a decade and some) but had never read Mr.Greene's novella, written about the same time as the screenplay. So glad that I finally did. Very similar to the film, as would be expected, the story of Rollo Marten's search for the truth behind the death of his friend, Harry Lime, is told in the book from the point of view of Colonel Calaway, a British policeman. The atmosphere of the city is there, the poignancy of the big wheel surviving against the damaged city, all that is missing are the shadows on the wall. So much has changed since the 1940s, this is a step back into time and a city in despair and people doing what they can to survive with elegance.

The book is beautifully narrated by Martin Jarvis, his interpretation flawless, his rounded English voice perfect for the telling of this tale. There are a couple of differences between book and film, notably an alternate (and, though slight, much improved) film ending and the omission of the famous cuckoo clock reference from the book. I had expected to be disappointed by the novella, so ingrained were the visuals in my mind, but I was not. Far from it. The tension of friendship under duress, the strangeness of the protagonists encountered, the mystery of what happened to Lime, the humour of mistaken identity, the atmosphere of division and despair, all are here still, written with impeccable Greene prose. And in this audio edition, a superb narration with wisps of that memorable Harry Lime theme drifting in at odd moments.
Excellent.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 15-09-2019

Just the best

Martin Jarvis is one of the greatest readers of novels for audio alongside Timothy West.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mr. R. Jarmain
  • Mr. R. Jarmain
  • 04-09-2019

Great story but narration could have been better.

I enjoyed this book but felt that the performance could have been better. It was difficult at times to distinguish which character was talking. Perhaps better had Rollo been given an accent? Nevertheless overall I still enjoyed it

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lee
  • Lee
  • 04-08-2019

The Third Man

Saw the film years ago and I enjoyed It. I believe Greene wrote the book as the screenplay for the film.

Gets a bit muddled in the middle but its expertly read by Marin Jarvis. Black market racketeering and espionage sets the stage for The Third Man.