Eric Ambler began his writing career in the early 1930s, and quickly established a reputation as a thriller writer of extraordinary depth and originality. He is often credited as the inventor of the modern political thriller and John Le Carre once described him as ‘the source on which we all draw.’
Ambler began his working life at an engineering firm, then as a copywriter at an advertising agency, while in his spare time he worked on his ambition to become a playwright. His first novel was published in 1936 and as his reputation as a novelist grew he turned to writing full time. During the war he was seconded to the Army Film Unit, where he wrote, among other projects, The Way Ahead with Peter Ustinov.
He moved to Hollywood in 1957 and during his eleven years there scripted some memorable films, including A Night to Remember and The Cruel Sea, which won him an Oscar nomination.
In a career spanning over sixty years, Eric Ambler wrote nineteen novels and was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award for Passage of Arms in 1960. He was married to Joan Harrison, who wrote or co-wrote many of Alfred Hitchcock’s screenplays – in fact Hitchcock organized their wedding. Eric Ambler died in London in October 1998.
The Dark Frontier (1936)
Uncommon Danger (1937), US title: Background to Danger
Epitaph for a Spy (1938)
Cause for Alarm (1938)
The Mask of Dimitrios (1939), US title: A Coffin for Dimitrios
Journey into Fear (1940)
Judgment on Deltchev (1952)
The Schirmer Inheritance (1953)
The Night-Comers (1956), also published as State of Siege
Passage of Arms (1959); Gold Dagger Award
The Light of Day (1962), also published as Topkapi; Edgar Award for Best Novel, 1964
A Kind of Anger (1964)
Dirty Story (1967)
The Intercom Conspiracy (1969), also published as The Quiet Conspiracy
The Levanter (1972); Gold Dagger Award
Doctor Frigo (1974)
Send No More Roses (1977), US title: The Siege of the Villa Lipp
The Care of Time (1981)
Buy it here.
Eric Ambler’s autobiography Here Lies is a rare glimpse inside the mind of one of our greatest thriller writers. Here the famously recalcitrant Ambler recounts the experiences that shaped his life and work with the same extraordinary skill and thrilling pace that made his novels worldwide bestsellers.
His South London childhood; his brief engineering career, which he gave up to work in theater; his time as an advertising copywriter; the publication of his revolutionary spy novels in the 1930s and ’40s, his service in the film division of the British War Office during World War II, which allowed him to write his first screenplays; and his postwar renown as the leading writer in the genre on both sides of the Atlantic.
In these pages this masterful spy novelist has composed a compelling and insightful examination of his life.
JUDGMENT ON DELTCHEV – Buy it here
Foster is the toast of London’s West End theatres and it’s no surprise when the playwright is hired by an American newspaper to cover the high-profile trial of Yordan Deltchev for treason. But all is not as it seems and he is soon drawn into a bewildering web of plots and counter-plots. Foster knows he is a pawn… but in whose game? Accused of membership in the sinister Officer Corps Brotherhood and of masterminding an assassination plot, Deltchev’s trial is clearly for show. But when Foster meets Madame Deltchev, the accused’s powerful wife, he becomes enmeshed in more life-threatening intrigue than he could have imagined.
PUBLISHER: Ipso Books
PUBLICATION DATE: 220th of April 2016
THE SCHIRMER INHERITANCE — Buy it here
Former WWII bomber pilot George Cary is looking forward to a glittering legal career but a chance discovery in what appears to be a dead-end case will leave him fighting for survival.
It wasn’t anyone’s idea of a glamorous first assignment. Newly minted lawyer George Cary, was given the task of going through the tons of files on the Schneider Johnson case, just to make sure nothing had been overlooked. But George did discover something among the false claims and dead-end leads that connect a deserter from Napoleon’s defeated army to a guerrilla fighter in post-war Greece, and lead Cary himself into a dangerous situation where his own survival will depend more on what he learned in the army than anything he learned in law school.
PUBLISHER: Ipso Books
PUBLICATION DATE: April 2016
THE NIGHT-COMERS — Buy it here
Steve Fraser was looking forward to an idyllic final weekend on the Southeast Asian island of Sunda, but things don’t quite go to plan.
All in all Fraser had enjoyed his three-year stint in Sunda, and he’d been well compensated. But the former Dutch colony is newly independent, and not entirely stable. When an opposition faction with fundamentalist Islamic leanings are making moves to overthrow the government. And instead of enjoying a sybaritic weekend with the beautiful Rosalie, Fraser finds himself trapped with her by a fanatical group who’ve taken over the country’s radio station and made their headquarters in his friend Jebb’s apartment. As the government launches a counterattack, the couple are forced to dodge bullets and the shifting loyalties of the coup’s lieutenants if they are to survive.
PUBLISHER: Ipso Books
PUBLICATION DATE: August 2015
Thirty years after Eric Ambler introduced the world to unlikely hero, academic and novelist Charles Latimer in The Mask of Dimitrios, Latimer returns in The Intercom Conspiracy.
Now a bestselling author promoting a new book, Latimer steps in to help Theodore Carter, the hapless, hard-drinking editor of international political newspaper Intercom. A small paper suddenly publishing big secrets, Intercom has recently been purchased and the once frivolous publication is causing a stir. Carter suspects something is amiss and sets about investigating his mysterious new bosses and the sources of the suddenly serious secrets he’s publishing.
As Latimer and Carter get closer to the truth, they realize they’re jeopardizing more than just their careers.
THE LEVANTER — Buy it here
Winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award
Syria, 1970. Michael Howell has kept his family’s Middle Eastern business enterprises going through a decade of takeovers, war, and revolution, but he is about to meet his deadliest challenge yet.
Howell is working late with his office manager and mistress, Teresa, when the pair discover men working overtime—producing unauthorized bombs for the Palestine Action Force. The guerrilla terrorist group is not deterred by their discovery—rather, they enlist Howell and Teresa’s unwilling help in carrying out their plan.
DOCTOR FRIGO– Order here
Dr. Ernesto Castillo has shunned politics and shut himself off from the world since his father, a Central American leader, was assassinated years ago. The doctor is content to live quietly on a small island, keeping busy with his practice and his mistress . . . but now his late father’s political party comes calling. Its rising leader, Manuel Villegas, hopes to put Dr. Castillo to work as his physician and as a rallying figure for the elder Castillo’s supporters.
“As subtle, clever and complex as always” – Sunday Telegraph
“The book is a triumph ” Sunday Times
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PUBLISHER: IPSO Books
PUBLICATION DATE; 23rd August 2015
SEND NO MORE ROSES – Buy it here.
Noted criminologist Frits Krom has built a career on studying “The Able Criminal”. Virtually uncatchable, he strikes with no discernible pattern or method, and flies below the radar of crime syndicates and law enforcement agencies alike.
Krom knows that Paul Firman, the director of an ostensibly legitimate international investment firm, is in fact an expert in tax avoidance and a textbook Able Criminal. Krom is surprised when Firman agrees to an interview with Krom and his colleagues at his secluded villa on the French Riviera. But it soon becomes evident that the host and his guests are under siege by a third party, one whose motives and violent intentions are unclear. If they are to survive, the criminal and the criminologists will have to band together.
PUBLISHER: Ipso Books
PUBLICATION DATE: 20th April 2016
One Monday, Robert Halliday receives a bomb threat in the mail. Two days later, the bomb arrives—accompanied by an offer of employment from one Karliss Zander, an international fixer. Unless Halliday agrees to help him edit the memoirs of a 19th century Russian terrorist and ghostwrite an exposé of modern terrorist governments, Zander will detonate the bomb.
For the sake of self-preservation, Halliday joins the project—but quickly discovers that Zander requires more than mere literary assistance: He and his daughter are in mortal peril from a Middle Eastern terrorist group. Now tangled in this massive international web of danger, Halliday wonders if it wouldn’t have been far less painful if that bomb had just gone off.
The Care of Time, Eric Ambler’s final novel, is a carefully constructed, utterly absorbing story of intrigue and suspense, one of the most acclaimed works of his more than sixty year career.
Buy it here.
Foster’s dramatic skill is well-known in London’s West End theaters. So perhaps it wasn’t so surprising when he was hired by an American newspaper publisher to cover the trial of Yordan Delchev for treason. Accused of membership in the sinister Officer Corps Brotherhood and of masterminding a plot to assassinate his country’s leader, Delchev may in fact be a pawn and his trial all show. But when Foster meets Madame Delchev, the accused’s powerful wife, he suddenly become enmeshed in more life-threatening intrigue than he could have imagined.
“The maestro is back again, with all his sinister magic intact.” –The New York Times Book Review
“Genuine excitement . . . neat, brisk and altogether admirable.” –The New Yorker
ABILITY TO KILL – Buy it here
True tales of bloody murder.
In The Ability to Kill, Eric Ambler turns his attention to true crime—with an emphasis on murder – in this collection of five essays exploring famously intriguing and disturbing cases of the last few hundred years. He delves into the dark tale of Edinburgh’s Burke and Hare who supplied the medical school with ill-gotten cadavers and the infamous Jack the Ripper of Victorian London. Though these subjects are sometimes grim, Ambler’s skill at story telling make this examination of homicide and criminal activity a pleasure to read.
“Delightfully macabre. . . . A diverting scrapbook of ‘true tales of bloody murder.’” —Chicago Tribune
“A charmer. . . . Ambler makes his own neat and wry contribution to true crime writing.” —The Washington Post Book World
PUBLISHER: Ipso Books
PUBLICATION DATE: 18th February 2016
THE LIGHT OF DAY — Buy it here
Arthur Simpson – ‘British to the core’, but without a passport to prove it – lives in Athens, scraping by as a driver, journalist and petty thief. When Simpson spots Harper at the airport he recognises him as a tourist new to the city and in need of a private driver. But an ill-judged attempt to relieve Harper of his traveller’s cheques reveals him to be a highly sophisticated criminal, and entangles Simpson in a complex double blackmail. Simpson becomes an unwilling member of an armed gang in Istanbul, tasked with driving a suspicious car across the border. Soon he is an even less willing agent for the Turkish secret police, who suspect Harper of planning a coup – but his plans are far more audacious than that, and Simpson is in very deep water indeed.The Light of Day won the Edgar Award for best novel in 1964, and was the basis for the classic film Topkapi. Like much of Ambler’s finest work, the novel focuses on an innocent man caught in a web of intrigue and deceit, and Simpson is one of the most memorable heroes in any classic thriller.
PUBLISHER: The British Library
PUBLICATION DATE: 10th March 2016
EPITAPH FOR A SPY — Buy it here
Josef Vadassy, a Hungarian refugee and language teacher living in France, is enjoying his first break for years in a small hotel on the Riviera. But when he takes his holiday photographs to be developed at a local chemists, he suddenly finds himself mistaken for a Gestapo agent and a charge of espionage is levelled at him. To prove himself innocent to the French police, he must discover which one of his fellow guests at his pension is the real spy. As he desperately tries to uncover the true culprit’s identity, Vadassy must risk his job, his safety and everything he holds dear.
‘Unquestionably our best thriller writer ever’ Graham Greene
‘A genuine classic’ The Times
PUBLICATION DATE: 28 May 2009
JOURNEY INTO FEAR – Buy it here
It is 1940 and Mr Graham, a quietly-spoken engineer and arms expert, has just finished high-level talks with the Turkish government. And now somebody wants him dead. The previous night three shots were fired at him as he stepped into his hotel room, so, terrified, he escapes in secret on a passenger steamer from Istanbul. As he journeys home – alongside, among others, an entrancing French dancer, an unkempt trader, a mysterious German doctor and a small, brutal man in a crumpled suit – he enters a nightmarish world where friend and foe are indistinguishable. Graham can try to run, but he may not be able to hide for much longer …
PUBLISHER: Penguin Classics
PUBLICATION DATE: 28th May 2009
CAUSE FOR ALARM – Buy this book HERE
Nicky Marlow needs a job. He’s engaged to be married and the employment market in Britain in 1937 is pretty slim. So when his fiancée points out the position with an English armaments manufacturer in Italy, he jumps at the chance. Soon after he arrives, however, he learns the sinister truth about his predecessor’s departure and finds himself courted by two agents with dangerously different agendas. In the process, Marlow realizes that it’s not so simple just to do the job he’s paid for – not in fascist Italy, on the eve of a world war.
Publication Date: 28th May 2009
Kenton’s career as a journalist depends on his facility with languages, his knowledge of European politics and his quick judgement. Where his judgement sometimes fails him, however, is in his personal life. When he travels to Nuremberg to investigate a story about a top-level meeting of Nazi officials, he inadvertently finds himself on a train bound for Austria after a bad night of gambling. Stranded with no money, Kenton jumps at the chance to earn a fee helping a refugee smuggle securities across the border. Yet he soon discovers that the documents he holds have far more than cash value – and that they could cost him his life …
‘A crackerjack spy story, jammed with action, intrigue, thrills and super-villainy’ Saturday Review
‘If you want to experience the feel of the Continent in the 1930s, you will find few better guides’ – Robert Harris
Publication date: 28th May 2009
Buy the book HERE
THE MASK OF DIMITRIOS — Buy it here
English crime novelist Charles Latimer is travelling in Istanbul when he makes the acquaintance of Turkish police inspector Colonel Haki. It is from him that he first hears of the mysterious Dimitrios – an infamous master criminal, long wanted by the law, whose body has just been fished out of the Bosphorus. Fascinated by the story, Latimer decides to retrace Dimitrios’ steps across Europe to gather material for a new book. But, as he gradually discovers more about his subject’s shadowy history, fascination tips over into obsession. And, in entering Dimitrios’ criminal underworld, Latimer realizes that his own life may be on the line.
PUBLICATION DATE: 28th May 2009