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The Ability to Kill

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Publisher: Ipso Books
Language: English
Pages: 214

Renowned thriller writer Eric Ambler turns his attention to true crime—with an emphasis on murder.

In five essays, he presents a sampling of famously intriguing (and often disturbing) cases of the last few hundred years, including 19th-century Edinburgh’s Burke and Hare, who supplied the medical school with ill-gotten cadavers; Victorian London’s infamous Jack the Ripper; the Frenchman Henri Desiré Landru, an early 20th century serial killer; and the Californian doctor Bernard Finch and his lover Carole Tregoff, who conspired to murder his wife in 1961. Rounding out the collection are a few lighter pieces on spies and how to spot them, and novelists in Hollywood. In Ambler’s capable hands, these stylish examinations of often serious, sometimes grim topics are a pure pleasure to read.


“Delightfully macabre. . . . A diverting scrapbook of ‘true tales of bloody murder.’”
Chicago Tribune

“A charmer. . . . Ambler makes his own neat and wry contribution to true crime writing.”
The Washington Post Book World


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“Unquestionably our best thriller writer ever” – Graham Greene


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