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August 26 , 2010

The Maltese Agent and Trois


The Maltese Agent is Robert Overhall's story inspired by an investigation in the 1960's into a lost ship off Malta. The narrator, a loss adjuster working in Lausanne, Switzerland, handed a file which had never been closed, sets out to discover the facts and in the process unearths a scandal. The story gathers pace as the truth unfolds, ending in a tense and chilling climax in Venice.
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On one level The Maltese Agent is the straightforward narration of search and discovery; into it, however, are interwoven all Robert Overhall's major themes, betrayal, innocence and guilt, and the shadow of destiny over all our lives. For these reasons The Maltese Agent is rightly described as a psychological thriller.

Trois is the story of three young anarchists who conspire to blow up a building in an unspecified North African country. The date is equally unclear, but perhaps the first two decades after the Second World War span the period concerned. It is the reasons why the perpetrators should bring about such a terrible incident which eventually becomes the theme of the novel soon after the facts of their conspiracy have been established. But the reasons the three offer are false, not only to the outside world but to each other, and like all false reasons they falter and change and fall away until we are left with something destructive in the human psyche which ought surely in some way to be matched by something beautiful and worthwhile. It is the reconciliation of these opposites, if it be possible, which lies at the heart of the human condition, and becomes the foundation stone of the story as well.

Robert Overhall was an awarded writer in 2012, Oxford Today competition.
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