And then followed the inevitable question.
“Why are you interested?”
It had occurred to Latimer that this question was going to crop up again and again. He had accordingly prepared his explanation. To have told the truth, to have explained that he was trying, for purely academic reasons, to trace the history of a dead criminal named Dimitrios would have been a long and uneasy business. He was, in any case, not anxious to have a second opinion on his prospects for success. His own was depressing enough. What had seemed a fascinating idea in a Turkish mortuary might well, in the warm light of a Greek autumn, appear merely absurd. Much simpler to avoid the issue altogether.
He answered: “It is in connection with a new book I am writing. A matter of detail that must be checked. I want to see if it is possible to trace an individual refugee after so long.”
Siantos said that he understood and Latimer grinned ashamedly to himself. The fact that one was a writer could be relied on to explain away the most curious extravagances.
Kinks: He's Evil (Link)
Eric ambler: the mask of dimitrios (1939)