Epitaph for a Spy

Eric Ambler

Introduced by Stella Rimington
Illustrated by Paul Blow

In this masterly 1938 thriller, a hapless teacher is plunged into a perilous yet believable mission.

Published price: US$ 62.95


Epitaph for a Spy

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.

Production Details

Epitaph for a Spy book
  • Bound in cloth.
  • Blocked with a design by Paul Blow.
  • Set in Photina.
  • 240 pages.
  • Frontispiece and 7 colour illustrations.
  • 9" x 6¼".

A powerful psychological thriller

‘A genuine classic’

In this masterly 1938 novel, Eric Ambler takes a hapless everyman and plunges him into a mission that is both understated and believable. There are no car chases, bombs or gunfights, yet Ambler is capable of building scenes to a point of almost unbearable tension, as when Vadassy breaks into a suspect’s bedroom. A casualty of the upheavals of the 20th century, Vadassy is a refugee who lives in fear of being deported. Though Ambler believed that casting his hero as a refugee 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.

‘Ambler is the greatest spy novelist of all time’

Eric Ambler enjoyed great success with his 20 novels, winning four Dagger awards from the Crime Writers’ Association of Great Britain as well as becoming a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers’ Association of America. This edition of Epitaph for a Spy contains stylish, graphic illustrations by Paul Blow, who also illustrated our edition of Ambler’s The Mask of Dimitrios. 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.


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