Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Journey Into Fear

I love a good thriller — particularly one that conveys a believable sense of time and place. In "The Polished Menace of Eric Ambler," Shmuel Ben-Gad comments on an author I read years ago. I believe I read everything he wrote. I think it may be time I revisited his books.
....Eric Ambler (1909-1998) is unquestionably one of the best writers of spy stories in English. His stories are filled with mystery and menace and are distinguished by an air of realism, sophisticated plots, and polished prose.....

His best novel of this period, and arguably his best novel overall, is A Coffin for Dimitrios (1939, also published as A Mask for Dimitrios). In this tale, an English economics professor turned detective story writer has his curiosity piqued by an enigmatic deceased individual known as Dimitrios. The novel follows his attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding this person. Ambler wrote one more novel, Journey Into Fear (1940), before serving in the British army during the war. ....

Political or not, Ambler’s thrillers are wonderfully entertaining. Perhaps only Graham Greene, John Le Carre, and Charles McCarry rival him, and I would put Ambler ahead of all of them. ....

Goodness knows, the world remains a place of intrigue, plotting, and danger. Eric Ambler provided all this to us convincingly but safely between the covers of his books. I doubt that his works will lose their appeal.... [more]
Orson Welles made a film of Journey Into Fear starring Joseph Cotton which is, unfortunately, not available on DVD in the United States.

The Polished Menace of Eric Ambler | The American Culture