Charles Latimer, an English writer of detective stories in his early forties. Formerly, Latimer was a professor of political economy at a minor English university; the success of his stories freed him from academe. On a visit to Istanbul in 1938, Latimer meets Colonel Haki, an admirer of detective novels, who in passing gives Latimer the opportunity to view a body that the Turkish police have identified as that of Dimitrios Makropoulos, known to them since 1922. Latimer, on a whim and as an exercise in detection, decides to trace Makropoulos’ career. In Paris, he discovers the real Makropoulos and only narrowly avoids being murdered by him.
Dimitrios Makropoulos, also known as Talas, Taladis, Rougemont, and Monsieur C. K., a murderer, thief, spy, pimp, drug dealer, and businessman. Makropoulos, of Greek extraction, was born in 1889. Coming to the attention of the Turkish police in 1922, in subsequent years he engaged in various illegal activities in several European countries. By 1938, he is a director of the Eurasian Credit Trust. It is not Makropoulos’ body that is discovered floating in the Bosporus but that of Manus Visser, who had been blackmailing the Greek. Makropoulos killed Visser and disguised the corpse, making it appear to be the body of the long-sought Makropoulos. Makropoulos is blackmailed again, and he and his new blackmailer kill each other in a shootout.
Mr. Peters, also known as Frederik Petersen, a drug dealer and former convict. A fat and unhealthy-looking Dane of fifty-five, Peters first knew Makropoulos in the late 1920’s in Paris, where Peters owned a nightclub. Makropoulos persuaded Peters, along with several others, to work for him in what became a widespread and profitable drug operation. Eventually, Makropoulos absconded with the profits, but he first turned Peters and the...
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