Author(s): Orson Welles
Set in the seedy underworld of postwar Europe, Orson Welles' novel focuses on the sinister figure of Gregory Arkadin, a fabulously wealthy and influential financier who enlists the services of a small-time smuggler and rackateer, Van Stratten, for an extraordinary assignment. Arkadin claims that he can remember nothing of his life prior to the moment in 1927 when he found himself alone in Zurich with 200,000 Swiss francs in his pocket - a sum with which he subsequently built his vast fortune - and Van Stratten's task is to investigate Arkadin's mysterious past and prepare him a confidential report on it. Welles wrote, directed, and starred in the film version of Mr. Arkadin, which was released under the title Confidential Report in 1955, but believed that only the novel remained the definitive expression of his intentions. A haunting exploration of typically Wellesian themes, it is an enduring example of his unique genius.