London: William Heinemann, (1932). Single volume, measuring 7 x 4.5 inches: , 307, . Original black boards, spine lettered in gilt, original unclipped color pictorial dust jacket. Inscribed on front free endpaper: “For Martin, / from Graham Greene. / Not yet an Entertainment!” Book Society bookplate to front pastedown. Occasional light browning to first and last leaves, expert repair to verso of jacket.
First edition, second issue, of Graham Greene’s thriller, focused on an uneasy group of passengers on the Orient Express as they make their way from Ostend to Constantinople: “the windows shook and sparks flickered like match heads through the darkness.” The first issue of the novel was suppressed by Heinemann in response to novelist J.B. Priestley’s complaint that the character of “Q.C. Savory” was too obviously a caricature of himself. In this second issue, the character of “Q.C.” is renamed “Quin.” Following two commercially disappointing novels, Greene was determined to have a success with Stamboul Train: “for the first and last time in my life I deliberately set out to write a book to please, one which with luck might be made into a film.” Greene has inscribed this copy with the rueful remark, “Not yet an Entertainment!” Stamboul Train would, however, be repeatedly adapted for film, radio, and television, most notably in the 1934 American picture Orient Express. A near-fine inscribed copy.