Ability to Kill

Eric Ambler, Author Mysterious Press $29.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-89296-238-9
This first American edition of collected true-crime pieces from the '50s and '60s by the master author of Epitaph for a Spy, Journey Into Fear, The Light of Day et al. belongs on every fan's bookshelves. Ambler's polite, leisurely stroll down memory lane is a delight. He deals with classic villains from England (Jack the Ripper), Scotland (William Burke and William Hare) and France (Marcel Petiot) along with more recent miscreants: England's James Hanratty (1961) and America's Raymond Finch and Carole Tregoff (1960). Ambler also turns his good-natured, sharp eye on film-writing and the pleasures of Maxim's, and there are lovely semifictional pieces on spies and spy-spotting. Especially delicious is the tale of ""Annettee'' in 1937 Tangier. There's nothing heavy here, and even Ambler's opposition to the death penalty is quietly posited. His new introduction has its share of graceful nuggets, too. (October 13)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
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