1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Dated but readable in places,
This review is from: Epitaph for a Spy (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
"Epitaph for a Spy" is, in some ways, more like an old-fashioned whodunnit than spy novel in the modern sense. Ambler can certainly construct and tell a good story, but in places this one reminded me a little of Agatha Christie and something from the golden age of crime stories, than a spy novel based on the suspicions and fears that swilled around Europe in the late 1930s.
Set in a hotel with a curious mix of characters - all of them potentially the spy at the heart of the story - Ambler's prose is fast-paced in places, a little lacklustre elsewhere, but it's all held together well by a central character very much out of his depth in the world of espionage, and certainly someone the reader can identify with.
There are shades of Dashiel Hammett in places, and the finale develops in a sudden and violent way that is rather like Ambler's most classic of novels The Mask Of Dimitrios. He's great at developing characters with a real sense of backstory and motive, but inevitably it all feels a bit dated at times.