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Keeping out and coming close

Michael Church, 3 October 1985

Here lies: An Autobiography 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 234 pp., £10.95, June 1985, 0 297 78588 5
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The Levanter 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 99521 9
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Doctor Frigo 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 250 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 76848 4
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The Other Side of the Moon: The Life of David Niven 
by Sheridan Morley.
Weidenfeld, 300 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780297787082
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Secrets: Boyhood in a Jewish Hotel 1932-1954 
by Ronald Hayman.
Peter Owen, 224 pp., £12, July 1985, 9780720606423
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A Woman in Custody 
by Audrey Peckham.
Fontana, 253 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 00 636952 9
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No Gangster More Bold 
by John Morgan.
Hodder, 179 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 26387 3
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... Eric Ambler told an interviewer recently that though he often felt the urge to write for the stage he was put off by the scrutiny to which he would be subjected: and the pun in the title of his autobiography was a precaution against exposure. It proved less necessary than he had feared, but the message underlying the opening chapter is unmistakable: readers, and reviewers in particular, should keep their distance ...

Flitting About

Thomas Jones: Alan Furst, 14 December 2006

The Foreign Correspondent 
by Alan Furst.
Weidenfeld, 278 pp., £12.99, November 2006, 0 297 84829 1
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... with the writers of the period in which his stories take place. Between 1935 and 1940, Eric Ambler wrote six thrillers in which ordinary men – academics, journalists, language teachers, engineers – under the pressure of extraordinary circumstances are compelled to act like heroes. John le Carré once called him ‘the source on which we ...

Author’s Editor

A. Alvarez, 24 January 1980

... was a decent obituary in the Times and a prize named after him for bright young English and American editors. He also had, and still has, the gratitude and affection of a host of authors as different as Edna O’Brien and Eric Ambler, Ronald Blythe and Antonia Fraser. That, perhaps, is the crucial difference ...

Spadework

John Brown, 18 November 1982

Shadow Man: The Life of Dashiell Hammett 
by Richard Layman.
Junction, 285 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 86245 027 6
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... and the five novels that soon made him one of the best-known and most admired of contemporary American writers; and it brings us to the first of Shadow Man’s two major faults. Layman devotes more than a hundred pages to Hammett’s development and stature as a writer of popular fiction, and it soon becomes distressingly clear that he is simply not ...

Madly Excited

John Bayley, 1 June 1989

The Life of Graham Greene. Vol. I: 1904-1939 
by Norman Sherry.
Cape, 783 pp., £16.95, April 1989, 0 224 02654 2
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... equability is found, too, at a much humbler level – that of the best-seller and thriller-writer. Eric Ambler, a craftsman much admired by Greene, would seem not to have needed to make any pact with the Grub Street Mephistopheles: he stays the same whatever he writes. A Greene, though, or an Ian Fleming, may have to become what he writes, exemplify his ...

Bosh

E.S. Turner: Kiss me, Eric, 17 April 2003

Dean Farrar and ‘Eric’: A Study of ‘Eric, or Little by Little’, together with the Complete Text of the Book 
by Ian Anstruther.
Haggerston, 237 pp., £19.95, January 2003, 1 869812 19 0
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... From the 11th century to the 19th not a single Eric was to be found in England, according to the Harrap Book of Boys’ and Girls’ Names. Then in 1858 the schoolmaster Frederic Farrar, not yet a dean, published that passionately morbid tale Eric, or Little by Little ...

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