Finally, a Graham Greene book I sort of liked (following disappointing experiences with Stamboul Train and This Gun For Hire)! That said, it's not great stuff, but it's at least fairly entertaining, diverting, and sad. The tale is of Henry, a middle-aged bachelor (and presumably virgin) who has been forced to retire from his bank job after 30 years. He's a total zero, dull and timid, with nothing to look forward to but 30 years of watering his dahlias. At his mother's funeral he meets his Aunt Augusta for the first time since his baptism, and she immediately rocks his world by announcing that his mother was in fact not this biological mother. She then proceeds to disrupt his empty life by insisting on his accompaniment for a various trips, notably a ride on the Orient Express to Istanbul, and a furtive trip to Paraguay. She's old, but with way more zest than her nephew, and their interplay is a clear call for everyone to live life and not let it drift by (carpe diem and all that). Of course, her interpretation of this involves smuggling a gold ingot, running around with a young Sierra Leonian pot merchant, and tracking down her Italian war criminal lover-all while spinning tales of her life and loves. Of course, it's obvious to everyone except Henry that his "aunt" is his real mother, but that the one story which goes untold. In the end, it's hard not to feel sad for the pitiful Henry, whose passive approach to life is characterized as being a product of his upbringing.