Eric Ambler began his writing career in the early 1930s, and quickly established a reputation as a thriller writer of extraordinary depth and originality. He is often credited as the inventor of the modern political thriller.
Ambler began his working life at an engineering firm, then as a copywriter at an advertising agency, while in his spare time he worked on his ambition to become a playwright. His first novel was published in 1936 and as his reputation as a novelist grew he turned to writing full time. During the war he was seconded to the Army Film Unit, where he wrote, among other projects, The Way Ahead with Peter Ustinov.
He moved to Hollywood in 1957 and during his eleven years there scripted some memorable films, including A Night to Remember and The Cruel Sea, which won him an Oscar nomination.
In a career spanning over sixty years, Eric Ambler wrote nineteen novels and was awarded the Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award for Passage of Arms in 1960. He was married to Joan Harrison, who wrote or co-wrote many of Alfred Hitchcock’s screenplays – in fact Hitchcock organized their wedding. Eric Ambler died in London in October 1998.
‘Eric Ambler was a giant, a writer who transformed the old-fashioned detection story into mainstream fiction. Grand English country mansions where posh people were murdered gave way to Ambler’s more dubious and ambivalent political milieu of dark, cobbled alleys in Balkan sea-ports where exotic women and sinister villains plot crimes of international magnitude.
Today Ambler’s influence remains strong and his writing is as fresh as ever. I urge you to read the books of the man who lit the way for us all.’ – Len Deighton