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Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Ambler Into Fear

Good news. One of Eyewear's favourite authors - British spy-book Thirties genius Eric Ambler - is back in print, after a decade in the wilderness. 28 June marks the start of his centenary birth year, and Penguin's done a good job on five of the books. Pity they haven't reprinted his first - the spy spoof The Dark Frontier, which I think is one of his best.

I loved Ambler almost more than Greene. His books made great noir films, too - The Mask of Dimitrios, with Peter Lorre, was one of my boyhood faves, and inspired one my earliest poems (in an Audenesque style).

We often think of the Thirties landscape as ambiguous amoral territory, with debates between fascists and socialists, in a crumbling Europe, as mapped by Auden or Greene, but Ambler is the third part of that imaginary triumvirate, I think (well, one might want to add Orwell). Speaking of which, Orson Welles (there is a weird name echo there) quasi-directed the Ambler classic Journey Into Fear, and made it a madcap farce, with the infamous assassination scene in the rain (with the grossly obese killer, and the Victrola).
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