Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Folio Editions of Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler and Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham

Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler
Eric Ambler’s masterly 1938 novel, Epitaph for a Spy, is invigorated by Paul Blow’s stylish, graphic illustrations in this new Folio Society edition. Stella Rimington, a former Director General of MI5 and now a novelist herself, has contributed an introduction in which she celebrates Ambler’s unique position in the pantheon alongside Buchan and le Carré.   

©Paul Blow. 2013
Josef Vadassy, a Hungarian refugee and language teacher, has saved up enough money to take a short holiday, his first in five years, at a small hotel on the Côte d’Azur. When he brings his photographs to be developed by a local chemist, he finds himself arrested on suspicion of being a spy, accused of photographing a secret naval base.  The discovery that his camera has been switched is no guarantee of freedom; in order to escape imprisonment, he must find out which of his fellow guests at the Hôtel de la Réserve is the true spy.

A multi award-winning crime writer, Eric Ambler takes a hapless everyman and plunges him into a mission that is both understated
©Paul Blow. 2013
and believable. There are no car chases, bombs or gunfights, yet Ambler is capable of building scenes to a point of almost unbearable tension. A casualty of the upheavals of the 20th century, Vadassy is a refugee who lives in fear of being deported.
While Ambler believed that casting his hero in this way made the book less popular, it was nonetheless filmed in 1944 as Hotel Reserve
with James Mason as Vadassy. Today it remains a powerful psychological thriller. 

Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler is due to be published on 5th September 2013. £27.95

The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham

Considered one of the finest thrillers in the English language, The Tiger in the Smoke by Margery Allingham is the gripping story of a ruthless killer and his victims, hunters and allies. The Folio Society’s new edition features a specially commissioned introduction by Alexander McCall Smith, who writes that it is both for its ‘vivid characterisation and its social detail’ that The Tiger in the Smoke remains a classic. Illustrations by Finn Campbell-Notman evoke the ghastly charisma of malevolent Jack Hovoc – the ‘Tiger’ of the title – and the atmosphere of the ‘Smoke’, the ineluctable fog that creeps through the dingy alleyways and secluded squares of post-war London.

© Finn Campbell-Notman 2013
While ranking alongside crime classics such as The Franchise Affair and Cover Her Face, The Tiger in the Smoke is also unusual among golden-age mystery novels for its meditations on human imperfection, in particular the notions of madness and evil. Allingham’s characters and settings are beautifully drawn, among them Albert Campion, the reserved, likeable sleuth who appeared in 14 of her novels and remains her most famous creation. Margery Allingham deserves to be seen as a master of the genre.  The Tiger in the Smoke is published on 15th September 2013.
© Finn Campbell-Notman 2013

For over 65 years The Folio Society has been publishing beautiful illustrated editions of the world's greatest books. We believe that the literary content of a book should be matched by its physical form. With specially commissioned illustrations, many of our editions are further enhanced with introductions written by leading figures in their fields: novelists, journalists, academics, scientists and artists.

© Finn Campbell-Notman 2013
There are hundreds of Folio Society editions currently in print covering fiction, biography, history, science, philosophy, children's literature, humour, myths and legends and more. Exceptional in content and craftsmanship and maintaining the very highest standards of fine book production, Folio Society editions are created to last for generations.

Folio Society titles can be bought from, by telephone on 0207 400 4200 or by visiting The Folio Society Bookshop, 44 Eagle Street, London, WC1R 4FS. 

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