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The Ability to Kill

by Eric Ambler

With The Ability to Kill, first published in 1963, renowned thriller writer Eric Ambler turns his attention to true crime--with an emphasis on murder. In five essays, he presents a sampling of famously intriguing (and often disturbing) cases of the last few hundred years, including 19th-century Edinburgh's Burke and Hare, who supplied the medical school with ill-gotten cadavers; Victorian London's infamous Jack the Ripper; the Frenchman Henri Desiré Landru, an early 20th century serial killer; and the Californian doctor Bernard Finch and his lover Carole Tregoff, who conspired to murder his wife in 1961. Rounding out the collection are a few pieces on lighter topics such as spies and how to spot them, and novelists in Hollywood. Though his subjects are sometimes grim, Ambler's deft touch makes this examination of homicide and other matters pure pleasure to read.

Background to Danger

by Eric Ambler

Kenton's career as a journalist depended on his facility with languages, his knowledge of European politics, and his quick judgment. Where his judgment sometimes failed him was in his personal life. When he finds himself on a train bound for Austria with insufficient funds after a bad night of gambling, he jumps at the chance to earn a fee to help a refugee smuggle securities across the border. He soon discovers that the documents he holds have a more than monetary value, and that European politics has more twists and turns than the most convoluted newspaper account.From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Care of Time

by Eric Ambler

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.

Cause for Alarm

by Eric Ambler

Nicky Marlow needs a job. He's engaged to be married and the employment market is pretty slim in Britain in 1937. So when his fiancé points out the Spartacus Machine Tool notice, he jumps at the chance. After all, he speaks Italian and he figures he'll be able to endure Milan for a year, long enough to save some money. Soon after he arrives, however, he learns the sinister truth of his predecessor's death and finds himself courted by two agents with dangerously different agendas. In the process, Marlow realizes it's not so simple to just do the job he's paid to do in fascist Italy on the eve of a world war.From the Trade Paperback edition.

A Coffin for Dimitrios

by Eric Ambler

A chance encounter with a Turkish colonel with a penchant for British crime novels leads mystery writer Charles Latimer into a world of sinister political and criminal maneuvers throughout the Balkans in the years between the world wars. Hoping that the career of the notorious Dimitrios, whose body has been identified in an Istanbul morgue, will inspire a plot for his next novel, Latimer soon finds himself caught up in a shadowy web of assassination, espionage, drugs, and treachery.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Doctor Frigo

by Eric Ambler

Dr. Frigo is a change of scene for acclaimed spy thriller writer Eric Ambler, moving from the European theater to an equally intriguing Caribbean political stage.Dr. Ernesto Castillo has shunned politics and shut himself off from the world since his father, a Central American leader, was assassinated years ago. In fact his cool, detached demeanor has earned him the nickname Dr. Frigo. The doctor is more than 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, who are still numerous and necessary to help Villegas win power in a planned coup. Ignoring the advice of his mistress, whose marriage to a French intelligence officer made her an expert player of political games, the doctor unwisely stumbles his way forward, risking his profession--and then his life.

Epitaph for a Spy

by Eric Ambler

When Josef Vadassy arrives at the Hotel de la Reserve at the end of his Riviera holiday, he is simply looking forward to a few more days of relaxation before returning to Paris. But in St. Gatien, on the eve of World War II, everyone is suspect-the American brother and sister, the expatriate Brits, and the German gentleman traveling under at least one assumed name. When the film he drops off at the chemist reveals photographs he has not taken, Vadassy finds himself the object of intense suspicion. The result is anything but the rest he had been hoping for.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Here Lies: An Autobiography

by Eric Ambler

Winner of the Edgar Award, Eric Ambler's autobiography Here Lies is an intriguing look inside the mind of one of our greatest thriller writers. Here the famously recalcitrant Ambler peels back the layers of experience that affected his life with the same skill he uses to unfold the plots of his novels. 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, including such early classics as A Coffin for Dimitrios and Journey into Fear; 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.

The Intercom Conspiracy

by Eric Ambler

Thirty years after Eric Ambler introduced the world to his unlikely hero, the academic and novelist Charles Latimer, in A Coffin for Dimitrios, Latimer returns in The Intercom Conspiracy. Now a successful, bestselling author on the trail of a new book, Latimer steps in to help Theodore Carter, the hapless, hard-drinking editor of Intercom, a small, international political newspaper, investigate his bosses and the sources of the secrets he's publishing. It was recently purchased by two magnates who are, unbeknownst to the frazzled Carter, chief intelligence officers in two minor NATO countries. Not all of Intercom's readers are happy with some recent stories, which are surprisingly more truthful and a lot more dangerous than the rumors and fictions that used to fill its pages--and some of those readers will go to any length to keep their secrets safe. As Latimer and Carter get closer to the truth, they realize they're jeopardizing more than just their careers.

Journey Into Fear

by Eric Ambler

Returning to his hotel room after a late-night flirtation with a cabaret dancer at an Istanbul bTMite, Graham is surprised by an intruder with a gun. What follows is a nightmare of intrigue for the English armaments engineer as he makes his way home aboard an Italian freighter. Among the passengers are a couple of Nazi assassins intent on preventing his returning to England with plans for a Turkish defense system, the seductive cabaret dancer and her manager husband, and a number of surprising allies. Thrilling, intense, and masterfully plotted, Journey Into Fear is a classic suspense tale from one of the founders of the genre.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Judgment on Deltchev

by Eric Ambler

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.From the Trade Paperback edition.

A Kind of Anger

by Eric Ambler

Piet Maas, the narrator, is no average newspaperman. The girl he is searching for is far from being a routine poule-de-luxe. What Maas unearths is full of danger, intrigue, and human revelation.

The Levanter

by Eric Ambler

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, thanks in part to his office manager, Teresa, who is also his mistress. One late night at the office, they discover men working overtime--producing unauthorized bombs for the Palestine Action Force. Worse, this guerrilla terrorist group is not deterred by their discovery--rather, they will enlist Howell and Teresa's unwilling help in carrying out their plan.

The Light of Day

by Eric Ambler

The Light of Day was the basis for Jules Dassin's classic film, Topkapi.When Arthur Abdel Simpson first spots Harper in the Athens airport, he recognizes him as a tourist unfamiliar with city and in need of a private driver. In other words, the perfect mark for Simpson's brand of entrepreneurship. But Harper proves to be more the spider than the fly when he catches Simpson riffling his wallet for traveler's checks. Soon Simpson finds himself blackmailed into driving a suspicious car across the Turkish border. Then, when he is caught again, this time by the police, he faces a choice: cooperate with the Turks and spy on his erstwhile colleagues or end up in one of Turkey's notorious prisons. The authorities suspect an attempted coup, but Harper and his gang of international jewel thieves have planned something both less sinister and much, much more audacious.From the Trade Paperback edition.

Passage of Arms

by Eric Ambler

In this classic thriller, two American tourists find more adventure than they bargained for when they get involved with Chinese gun smugglers and Muslim revolutionaries, learning first hand about the intrigue of the post-colonial world.Greg and Dorothy Nilsen had wanted to go on an adventurous trip, see some of the more out-of-the-way places. But the cruise they were on was turning out to be a bore. So when the gracious Mr. Tan requests that Greg take a side trip to Singapore to resolve a bureaucratic detail involving a consignment of small arms, Greg is surprisingly receptive. All he has to do is sign some papers, he's told, and he'll be paid a handsome fee. And everything does go smoothly, until it comes to getting a check co-signed by the rebel leader...From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Schirmer Inheritance

by Eric Ambler

It wasn't anyone's idea of a glamorous first assignment at a white show law firm. George Cary, former WWII bomber pilot and newly minted lawyer, was given the ignoble task of going through the tons of files on the Schneider Johnson case, just to make sure nothing had been overlooked. But, as luck would have it, George did discover something among the false claims and dead-end leads that made this into more than just another missing-heir-to-a vast-fortune case. And what he found would connect a deserter from Napoloeon'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.From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Siege of Villa Lipp

by Eric Ambler

The "Able Criminal", as defined by noted criminologist Frits Krom, strikes with no discernible pattern or method, and flies below the radar of crime syndicates and law enforcement agencies alike. He is virtually uncatchable--but Krom is willing to try. He 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. Surprisingly, Firman agrees to submit to an interview with Krom and his two colleagues at his secluded villa on the French Riviera. He's more than a little curious about what they really want from him and confident he can avoid implicating himself. 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.The Siege of the Villa Lipp is a classic Eric Ambler tale of suspense in which a man thrust into a high-stakes situation, far outside of his usual expertise, finds himself at the mercy of forces beyond his control.

State of Siege

by Eric Ambler

All in all Steve Fraser had enjoyed his three-year stint in the former Dutch Southeast Asian colony of Sunda, and he'd been well compensated. But now he was looking forward to a last weekend in the capital before heading home. But Sunda was newly independent, and not entirely stable. An opposition faction with fundamentalist Islamic leanings was set on overthrowing the provisonal government. And instead of enjoying a sybaritic weekend with the Eurasian beauty 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's survival depends on their ability to dodge bullets and the shifting loyalties of the coup's liuetenants.From the Trade Paperback edition.

This Gun for Hire

by Eric Ambler

First published five years after he introduced Arthur Abdel Simpson in the comic thriller The Light of Day, Eric Ambler turns the spotlight back to his compelling antihero--a man you can't help but root for.Arthur Abdel Simpson counts himself lucky to have survived his adventure at Istanbul's Topkapi Museum. Now living in Athens, Greece, he finds the British Consul has seized his passport--they don't care to renew passports for people who have committed criminal acts or renounced their British citizenship, and Simpson has done both. Now he needs to obtain a fake passport and visas to stay in country. But his inept attempts to do so leave him in debt to multiple shady operatives. Before he knows what's happened, Simpson finds himself on a boat to Port Said, en route to a new--and potentially short-lived--career as an officer with a group of mercenary soldiers preparing for a major operation in the Central African jungle.

Waiting for Orders

by Eric Ambler

Waiting for Orders collects nine short stories that span the sixty-year career of master spy novelist Eric Ambler. The stories include thrilling portrayals of wartime Europe in "The Army of the Shadows" (1939); six cases featuring a refugee Czech detective, Dr. Czissar (1940); "The Blood Bargain" (1972), a Central American political thriller; and "The One Who Did for Blagden Cole" (1992), a detective story of sorts about the death of a painter. In four accompanying essays, Ambler shares intriguing anecdotes from different phases of his career, offering unique insight into his writing process. This intriguing and varied collection is a perfect introduction to the life and writing of one of the twentieth century's greatest thriller writers.

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