On 26th January 2023, Penguin Modern Classics will publish three wildly enjoyable novels from the father of the spy thriller, Eric Ambler: Passage of Arms, The Light of Day and A Kind of Anger. Ambler is often said to have invented the modern suspense novel, and his disciples include John le Carré, Alfred Hitchcock, Graham Greene and Len Deighton. These are a must-read for fans of the genre.
Eric Ambler (1909-98) was born in London to parents who were part-time entertainers. He studied engineering but left college without taking a degree and became a copywriter in the advertising industry. Between 1937 and 1940, he published his great anti-fascist spy thrillers: Uncommon Danger, Epitaph for a Spy, Cause for Alarm, The Mask of Dimitrios, and Journey into Fear. In 1940, he joined the Royal Artillery and was later transferred to the army film unit. After the war he worked as a screenwriter in England and Hollywood and married his second wife, a leading Hollywood producer. Passage of Arms, The Light of Day and A Kind of Anger are his post-war novels.
A Kind of Anger
The last time anyone saw Lucia Bernardi, she was driving at top speed away from a Swiss villa - leaving the body of her murdered Iraqi lover behind. Now she has vanished, along with a potentially explosive set of papers, and disgraced journalist Piet Maas has been sent to follow her trail to the South of France. But finding her is just the start of his problems. Soon, amid a cast of con men, secret agents and revolutionaries, he must decide whether to land the scoop of his lifetime - or follow Lucia into ever more dangerous waters.
A Passage to Arms
An Indian clerk, Girija Krishnan, sees the opportunity of his lifetime when he stumbles on an abandoned cache of arms hidden in the Malayan jungle. If he can sell the weapons, he will be able to achieve his lifelong dream of owning a bus company - although the penalty for gun-running is death. Soon his decision becomes the catalyst for a chain of events involving an entrepreneurial Chinese family, a corrupt Colonel and, finally, a naïve couple of American tourists who find themselves horribly out of their depth.
The Light of Day
Small-time hustler Arthur Abdel Simpson ekes out a living in Athens by robbing gullible tourists. But when an attempted theft backfires, he finds himself out-smarted and blackmailed into driving a highly suspicious car across the border to Istanbul. Then the Turkish secret police get involved, and Simpson becomes embroiled in something far deeper, and more dangerous, than he could imagine. Featuring a heart-stopping jewel heist, this compulsive, morally complex thriller became the basis for the classic filmTopkapi.