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Eric Ambler (1909–1998)

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Eric Ambler was born in London on June 28, 1909. Ambler toured in the late 1920s as a music-hall comedian and wrote plays, following in the footsteps of his parents, who were entertainers. After studying engineering at London University from 1924 to 1927, he took an apprenticeship in engineering at näytä lisää the Edison Swan Electric Company. When the company became part of Associated Electrical Industries, he worked in its advertising department and wrote avant-garde plays in his spare time. By 1937 he was the director of a London ad agency. He later resigned and moved to Paris where he dedicated himself to writing. In 1936, his first novel, The Dark Frontier, appeared and followed by another five by 1940, as well as working as script consultant for Alexander Korda. During World War II he joined first the artillery and was then later posted to a combat photographic unit. He served in Italy as assistant director of army cinematography and during this period, wrote and produced nearly one hundred training and propaganda films. After the war Ambler was screenwriter for the Rank organization and starting from 1951 he published a number of novels with Charles Rodda under the pseudonym Eliot Reed. Several of his novels were made into films, including A Coffin for Dimitrios in 1944, Journey into Fear in 1942, and Topkapi in 1964. Ambler also wrote screenplays, including those for The Cruel Sea in 1953 and The Guns of Navarone in 1961. In the 1960s he moved to Hollywood and was responsible for the TV shows Checkmate and The Most Deadly Game. Ambler received the Gold Dagger in 1959 for Passage of Arms, in 1967 for Dirty Story and in 1972 for The Levanter. He also received the Diamond Dagger in 1986 plus an Edgar in 1964 for The Light of Day and was nominated Grand Master in 1975. Ambler was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1981, and received other literary awards in France and Sweden. He died in London in October 1998. Ambler published 23 novels total, 19 under his own name and four in collaboration Eric Amber died in London on October 22, 1998, at the age of 89. (Bowker Author Biography) näytä vähemmän


Tekijän teokset

Oikeuden pitkä käsi (1939) 1,846 kappaletta
Journey into Fear (1940) 838 kappaletta
Hautakirjoitus vakoojalle (1938) 737 kappaletta
Topkapi : jännitysromaani (1962) 621 kappaletta
Aihetta levottomuuteen (1938) 530 kappaletta
Epätavallinen vaara (1937) 463 kappaletta
The Schirmer Inheritance (1953) 352 kappaletta
Aseita Singaporeen (1959) 348 kappaletta
Judgment on Deltchev (1951) 334 kappaletta
Mies Libanonista (1972) 326 kappaletta
State of Siege (1956) 307 kappaletta
Pelon kierre (1964) 241 kappaletta
The Care of Time (1981) 232 kappaletta
The Dark Frontier (1936) 228 kappaletta
Suuren miehen varjo (1974) 211 kappaletta
The Intercom Conspiracy (1969) 204 kappaletta
Send No More Roses (1977) 203 kappaletta
Dirty Story (1967) 192 kappaletta
Great Cases of Scotland Yard (1978) 128 kappaletta
Here Lies (1985) 75 kappaletta
Ability to Kill (1987) 67 kappaletta
A Night to Remember [1958 film] (1958) — Screenwriter — 67 kappaletta
Oliver Twist [1948 film] (1948) — Writer — 54 kappaletta
To Catch a Spy: An Anthology of Favourite Spy Stories (1964) — Avustaja — 46 kappaletta
Waiting for Orders (1841) 34 kappaletta
The Maras Affair (1953) 24 kappaletta
Tender To Danger (1951) 24 kappaletta
The Intriguers (1959) 24 kappaletta
The Cruel Sea [1953 film] (1953) — Screenwriter — 23 kappaletta
Selected Works (1978) 22 kappaletta
The Purple Plain [1954 film] (1954) — Writer — 19 kappaletta
The Light of Day | Dirty Story (1990) 15 kappaletta
Skytip (1791) 14 kappaletta
Passport to Panic (2010) 13 kappaletta
Charter to Danger (2010) 10 kappaletta
The Passionate Friends [1949 film] (1949) — Screenwriter — 9 kappaletta
Das große Krimi- Lesebuch. (1992) 8 kappaletta
Omnibus (1972) 6 kappaletta
The Card [1952 film] (1952) — Writer — 5 kappaletta
The Army of the Shadows (1997) 4 kappaletta
Yangtse Incident [1957 film] — Screenwriter — 2 kappaletta
Els visitants nocturns (1986) 2 kappaletta
The Blood Bargain [short story] (1977) 2 kappaletta
Insolito peligro 1 kappale
Highly Dangerous [1950 film] — Screenwriter — 1 kappale
Epätavallinen vaara (1989) 1 kappale
El proceso Beltchev (1974) 1 kappale
Tocaia grande 1 kappale
Ambler Eric 1 kappale
Cloak And Dagger 1 kappale
The Seige of Villa Lipp (1977) 1 kappale
Gün Isigi (2021) 1 kappale
No Envie Mas Rosas (1991) 1 kappale
O LEVANTINO 1 kappale

Associated Works

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892) — Johdanto, eräät painokset15,660 kappaletta
The Spy's Bedside Book (1957) — Avustaja — 354 kappaletta
A Treasury of Great Mysteries, Volumes 1-2 (1957) — Avustaja — 263 kappaletta
A Treasury of Great Mysteries, Volume 1 (1957) — Avustaja — 207 kappaletta
Masterpieces of Mystery and Suspense (1988) — Avustaja — 190 kappaletta
The Book of Spies: An Anthology of Literary Espionage (2003) — Avustaja — 172 kappaletta
The Oxford Book of Villains (1992) — Avustaja — 136 kappaletta
Great Spy Stories From Fiction (1969) — Avustaja, eräät painokset76 kappaletta
2nd Culprit: A Crime Writers' Association Annual (1993) — Avustaja — 64 kappaletta
Great Tales of Mystery and Suspense (1981) — Avustaja — 62 kappaletta
Five Spy Novels (1962) — Avustaja — 55 kappaletta
The Arbor House Treasury of Mystery and Suspense (1981) — Avustaja — 52 kappaletta
Cloak and Dagger: A Treasury of 35 Great Espionage Stories (1988) — Avustaja — 44 kappaletta
65 Great Murder Mysteries (1983) — Avustaja — 41 kappaletta
The Queen's Book of the Red Cross (1939) — Avustaja — 36 kappaletta
Mysterious Pleasures (2003) — Avustaja — 34 kappaletta
The Mammoth Book of Movie Detectives and Screen Crimes (1998) — Avustaja — 20 kappaletta
Journey into Fear [1943 film] (1942) — Original book — 16 kappaletta
The Gourmet Crook Book (1976) — Avustaja — 13 kappaletta
The Man Who ... (1992) — Avustaja — 13 kappaletta
The Ethnic Detectives: Masterpieces of Mystery Fiction (1985) — Avustaja — 12 kappaletta
Encore (1952) — Avustaja — 6 kappaletta
Crime Without Murder (1970) — Avustaja — 6 kappaletta
John Creasey's Crime Collection, 1984 (1984) — Avustaja — 4 kappaletta
The Spy in the Shadows [Anthology 8-in-1] (1965) — Avustaja — 3 kappaletta
John Creasey's Crime Collection, 1978 (1978) — Avustaja — 3 kappaletta
Spionhistorier fra hele verden (1959) — Avustaja — 2 kappaletta
Journey Into Fear [1975 film] — Original novel — 1 kappale
The Penguin Film Review 9 — Avustaja — 1 kappale

Merkitty avainsanalla


Virallinen nimi
Ambler, Eric Clifford
Muut nimet
Reed, Eliot
Maa (karttaa varten)
England, UK
London, England, UK
London, England, UK
Paris, France
University of London
British Army (Filmmaking unit)
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Cartier Diamond Dagger (1986)
Lyhyt elämäkerta
Eric Ambler was born in London in 1909. Before turning to writing full-time, he worked at an engineering firm and wrote copy for an advertising agency. His first novel was published in 1936. He was awarded two Gold Daggers, a Silver Dagger, and a Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain, was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers Association of America, and was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth. In addition to his novels, Ambler wrote a number of screenplays, including A Night to Remember and The Cruel Sea, which won him an Oscar nomination. Eric Ambler died in 1998.



My copy of this one is in a Penguin Modern Classic edition, with that seductive eau de nil spine. Maybe I'm just being impressed by the cover, but I think this is the first of the run that I would recommend even to those without much interest in the genre.

If it's not the cover, it might be the setting that's getting to me. We seem to have spent a lot of time recently in dingy, straitened parts of southern England, and so it's a pleasant change to be instead in the South China Sea in the post-war era. I really don't know as much about this time and place as I might, but the picture painted here is of a febrile set of countries, bubbling with revolutionaries of various kinds, jockeying for political and territorial position to take advantage of the inevitable withdrawal of British colonial power—but, importantly, safe and exotic enough to allow enterprise and attract tourists.

The plot concerns the arms of the title: an abandoned cache of weapons, discovered by a lowly Indian clerk, Girija. He wants to sell them. He needs a middleman, for which he enlists a fairly shady family of Chinese businessmen with connections around the Sea. The need a dupe to launder the arms and present them for sale to a group of guerrillas, for which they enlist an overconfident American cruise-tourist and his wife. The plot follows the progress of this convoluted deal.

There are two things that are done wonderfully as the plot unfolds, and these are the things that lead me to recommend the book widely. The first is structural. The book starts with Girija and ends with him, but in between the focus shifts further and further out from him, towards the Chinese and then the Americans, and then back again in the opposite direction. It's as if the book slowly takes in a big breath of air, holds if for a while, and lets it out again. It's a very, very neat structural trick if you can pull it off, and Ambler does.

His other neat trick is tonal. We start in a faintly comic mood, and we barely notice as things become more and more serious, until they're suddenly somewhere close to horrific. A lot of books (and perhaps even more films) aim for this shift, but don't manage it nearly as well; you can feel the wrench as the ratchet is turned. This is much more subtly done, more like that poor frog you hear of in the slowly heating water.

You can see from these two things why Ambler was highly regarded in his time and considered worthy of Penguin reissue today (my copy is from 2023, though whoever had it before me gave it quite some reading). Both Greene and Le Carré are mentioned in the blurb, and you can also see how he stands somewhat in between the two—the righteous adventuring of Greene dissolving slowly into the amoral stalemate of Le Carré (perhaps that's unfair. I really should re-read some of the tougher Greene).

One might worry that the combination of settings, peoples, and author (very much British, very much 1950s) would lead inevitably to a degree of stereotyping, if not outright racism, sufficient to spoil all the good things of the book. But I think Ambler still gets away with it. There certainly is national stereotyping, some vital to the plot, some not (there's a French character who seems only to be French to afford an opportunity to poke fun at the French), but it's not egregious for the most part, and it's probably the Americans who come off worst. In fact, at a couple of points, there is some subtle stuff about who is offended by what that shows at least some authorial awareness of how the sausage is being made. I even wonder if one could read the book as allegorical: it seems plausible that the preoccupations and preferences of the various characters are synecdochical for their nations' policies and politics in the region, though I would need to do a fair bit of reading to substantiate that hunch.

Anyway, the point is, one could find offence here if one were looking for it, but one can also certainly find a very well-structured, tonally assured, tightly written book. I enjoyed it very much and I certainly intend to read more Ambler. Give it a go if a copy comes your way.
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hypostasise | 5 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 3, 2024 |
For me this had a slow start as I had some difficulty getting interested in the plot and more so, the characters. Once Theodore Carter ran into difficulties with the KGB and the CIA, the story picked up some steam. Carter was the editor of a monthly magazine financed by rich man who saw conspiracy theories in every government action. With his passing, Carter continued to be editor of the newsletter which was now financed by a mystery man. The articles he now was order to publish made him a target of the Intelligence Agencies.

A complicated plot.
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lamour | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 29, 2024 |
Excellent book that did not lose anything with the passage of time - everything described in it, from activities of organized crime to the way business sometimes works hand in hand with gangsters in order to raise profits is applicable to our times as it was in late 1930's.

Highly recommended to anyone enjoying a great thriller.
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Zare | 49 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 23, 2024 |
Decades after the WW2 ended were marked by anti-colonial movements and fierce fights for independence throughout the Africa and Asia. Fighting in these dirty wars on the side of European settlers were mercenaries. Some where rag tag groups, some were professional outfits but common denominator was the type of man fighting in these troops - they were usually battle veterans from the WW2 and earlier colonial conflicts that just could not get back to civilian society. But then there were also true wanderers/adventureers and petty criminals that just found themselves in the middle of the conflict with no idea what is going on and trying to find the way to survive.

And in this second group we can place our protagonist Arthur Abdel Simpson. Petty criminal operating in Athens he will find himself in quite the predicament when British Embassy decides to put him on the so called black list. For all means and purposes stateless Arthur tries to find the way out (as he says getting on the wrong end of Greek immigration is not something to aim for) but his further scheming just gets him deeper and deeper in trouble until finally he finds himself on the ship running away from Greek imprisonment. This short break ends in East Africa only for Arthur to find out that East African authorities look down on people like him. This (and his uncontrollable blabbering that constantly puts him in danger) will bring him to attention of one of the mysterious companies mining ore in the dark jungles of Africa. Presenting himself as a former soldier Arthur gets recruited into mercenary outfit alongside several unsavory characters and finds himself in the middle of the conflict around ore deposits.

Ambler presents the reality of conflict in Africa in a very non-nonsense way. Told from the perspective of a petty thief story shows how he is able to look at all the business vying for the foothold in Africa as nothing more that global scale pirates that play now independent nations one against another in order to achieve their goals. As Arthur is hunted by police because of few hundred drachma's these global robbers are pardoned after instigating wars and looting treasures. So when he sees opportunity he tries to play them one against the other in order to earn some money but of course nothing goes according to the plan.

Excellent book, story flows very fast and gives portrayal of Africa as seen by Europeans in the period.

Ending is priceless - I could envision Dereck Trotter from "Only Fools and Horses" saying the words at the end :) Once a shady character, always the shady character :)

Recommended to all fans of thrillers.
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Zare | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 23, 2024 |



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Charles Dickens Original novel
Leslie Norman Producer
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Josephine Tey Contributor
Dorothy L. Sayers Contributor
Rex Stout Contributor
Lawrence Earl Original book
Keye Luke Actor
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James Fenton Introduction
Peter Fischer Translator
Paul Blow Illustrator
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Mitchell Hooks Cover artist
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