Epitaph for a Spy (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 28 May 2009
|New from||Used from|
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
'A genuine classic' The Times 'If you want to experience the feel of the Continent in the 1930s, you will find few better guides' - Robert Harris
From the Publisher
'Unquestionably our best thriller writer ever' Graham Greene
'Unquestionably our best thriller writer ever' Graham GreeneERIC AMBLER 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 Hitchcocks screenplays - in fact Hitchcock organized their wedding. Eric Ambler died in London in October 1998.
THE PAN CLASSIC CRIME SERIES The idea for the Pan Classic Crime series was sparked by two separate incidents my struggle to find a new copy of MALICE AFORETHOUGHT by Francis Iles (one of my favourite crime novels), and a newspaper article about Eric Ambler which claimed that none of his novels was available in the UK. I then began six months of research to discover which other classics had shockingly been allowed to go out of print (concentrating particularly on novels published 1930-1960). And so the Pan Classic Crime series was born, launching in April 1999 with six titles including two by Eric Ambler and, of course, MALICE AFORETHOUGHT.
Before my research began I must admit my knowledge of pre-1970s crime fiction was restricted to the giants Doyle, Christie, Highsmith, Chandler. And I must admit, too, that I was hesitant about how well these lost treasures would stand up to modern crime fiction. How wrong I was the novels I read and am now publishing were remarkably sophisticated, skilful, innovative, insightful, and full of character and wit. I felt suitably ashamed for having doubted them! By July this year we will have published 18 titles in the series. One of our aims has been introduce new readers to these authors and, with this in mind, each edition is introduced by a well-known crime writer of today. For example, Colin Dexter, P.D. James, Robert Goddard and Robert Harris have all contributed to the series. What pleased me the most was the phrase that popped up again and again in the letters that accompanied their introductions: Id forgotten just how good they were!
Also in the series
1) The Mask of Dimitrios by Eric Ambler With an introduction by Robert Harris
2) Malice Aforethought by Francis Iles With an introduction by Colin Dexter
3) The Beast Must Die by Nicholas Blake With an introduction by P.D. James
4) Journey Into Fear by Eric Ambler With an introduction by Robert Harris
5) Green for Danger by Christianna Brand With an introduction by Lindsey Davis
6) Love Lies Bleeding by Edmund Crispin With an introduction by Jonathan Gash
7) Before the Fact by Francis Iles With an introduction by Colin Dexter
8) Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler With an introduction by Robert Harris
9) Tragedy at Law by Cyril Hare With an introduction by Frances Fyfield
10) Last Seen Wearing . . . by Hillary Waugh With an introduction by Reginald Hill
11) Cause for Alarm by Eric Ambler With an introduction by Robert Goddard
12) A Tangled Web by Nicholas Blake With an introduction by P.D. James
13) Buried for Pleasure by Edmund Crispin With an introduction by Jonathan Gash
14) Judgment on Deltchev by Eric Ambler With an introduction by Robert Goddard
15) My Name is Michael Sibley by John Bingham With an introduction by John le Carre
16) Passage of Arms by Eric Ambler With an introduction by Robert Goddard
17) Death of a Doll by Hilda Lawrence (pub July 2001) With an introduction by Minette Walters
18) Five Roundabouts to Heaven by John Bingham (pub July 2001) With an introduction by John le Carre --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
In a footnote written in 1951 Ambler states that he "wrote Epitaph for a Spy in 1937 and it was a mild attempt at realism". 1937 was certainly a good year for realism in Europe and Ambler does an excellent job setting a realistic mood for a continent on the brink of another major war.
The story begins with an itinerant language teacher, Josef Vadassy, returning to Paris from his summer holidays. Vadassy stops off at a little town, St. Gatien, on his return journey. An amateur photographer, Vadassy drops off a roll of film at the local chemists for development. When he goes to pick up the photographs he finds himself under arrest by the French authorities. His film contains photos of a top secret French naval installation. Vadassy has no idea how the photos got there. One of the French agents, recognizing that he did not take the pictures advises Vadassy that he will be free to leave town if he goes back to the hotel and finds out which of the guests is the actual photo-taking spy. Vadassy, a stateless Hungarian traveling on a Yugoslav passport has no choice but to play along.
The rest of the book is devoted to Vadassy's efforts to uncover the spy.Read more ›
It would appeal to someone who wants a gripping read and a change from the usual spy authors of today.
Just start reading it and you will be hooked.
Vadassy, a language teacher, stays in a hotel in the south of France. By chance he picks up the wrong suitcase and a plot is born, because it belongs to a spy. He's arrested and agrees to become a police informer. It is very dangerous and very much an Agatha Christie type mystery-who are the villains? We only find out at the end as you may imagine. It is written with the usual Ambler word economy and I enjoyed it.
The twist comes when Vadrassy is not only accused of spying (taking pictures of a naval base) but also the suspect is then called upon to help solve the crime that he has been accused of. Vadrassy is in a very tenuous position being a stateless person and he has no choice other than to play along with police requests to uncover the real spy. Mr Vadrassy emerges as something of a bungler rather than a resourceful Richard Hannay type. To say that Mr Vadrassy is not cut out for spying might be something of an understatement as his investigations degenerate into comedy, largely stemming from his inability to do anything properly.
The novel is a good read and genuinely innovative. Choosing a clumsy Hungarian refugee who fears deportation as the principal hero of a spy novel was a risky move but it works very well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
EA knocked out five superb thrillers just before the war and this is one of my favourites. Its trademark hapless hero, Joseph Vadassy, is traduced by the French police and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mike Collins
Disappointing. I've tried a couple of Ambler's novels now, but doubt I'll proceed further. I can absorb myself in the worlds of Hammett, Chandler (of course), Wallace, and many... Read morePublished 15 months ago by colinr
This charming story set just before the war, where we find some
ordinary young man on a summer break. His hobby of photography
soon finds him accused of being a spy. Read more
If you haven't read Eric Ambler before, I urge you to give him a try. You'll discover quality writing, description and plot. A master.Published on 4 April 2013 by AC Stevenson
Having heard a review of Ambler's work on BBC Radio 4 a few weeks ago, I was looking forward to reading his work and actively sought out two of his spy novels. Read morePublished on 24 Dec. 2012 by Amazon Customer
"between 7pm Tuesday and 8:30am (breakfast-time) Wednesday, somebody had taken my camera from my room, put a new spool of film in it, gone to Toulon, penetrated a carefully guarded... Read morePublished on 30 Oct. 2012 by travelswithadiplomat