Book Notification

Eric Ambler Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Charles Latimer Books

The Mask of Dimitrios / A Coffin for Dimitrios (1939)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Intercom Conspiracy / Quiet Conspiracy (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Valeshoff Books

Uncommon Danger / Background to Danger (1937)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cause for Alarm (1938)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Arthur Abdel Simpson Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Dark Frontier (1936)Description / Buy at Amazon
Epitaph for a Spy (1938)Description / Buy at Amazon
Journey Into Fear (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon
Skytip (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
Judgment on Deltchev (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
Tender To Danger / Moonlight (1951)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Schirmer Inheritance (1953)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Maras Affair (1953)Description / Buy at Amazon
Charter To Danger (1954)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Night Comers / State of Siege (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon
Passport To Panic (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
Passage of Arms (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Kind Of Anger (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Levanter (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Doctor Frigo (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Siege of Villa Lipp / Send No More Roses (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Care of Time (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

The Ability to Kill and Other Pieces (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
Waiting for Orders (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

To Catch a Spy (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Great Cases of Scotland Yard (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
Here Lies Eric Ambler: An Autobiography (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Story So Far (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Eric Ambler was a British author and screenwriter best known for his spy novels. Eric was commended for injecting a unique sense of realism into the genre.


Eric Ambler was born in 1908 into a family of artists. His parents ran a puppet show that he eventually joined and helped manage. However, Eric did not stay in the business for long, eventually finding a place at an engineering company, the result of his time at Northampton Polytechnic Institute.

Eric’s engineering classes didn’t take him far, though. His love for entertainment proved too strong and he eventually went back to his roots, spending more time writing plays than actually pursuing engineering jobs.

After a stint in advertising and following his marriage to a fashion correspondent from the United States by the names of Louise Crombie, Eric Ambler began writing novels. At the time, the author’s stories were heavily defined by his political beliefs.

For instance, because of his strong stance against fascism, Eric had a tendency to make protagonists out of Soviet agents. This was because Eric believed the Soviet Union held the only significant answer to fascism.

When the Soviet Union formed a pact with the Nazis in the late 1930s, the author found his political beliefs challenged and it wasn’t long before his earlier books elicited revulsion from many readers around the world.

As with most people at the time, Eric Ambler was forced to put is publishing dreams aside when the Second World War broke out. He went into the army and found a place in the photography department of the British Forces.

Having attained some film experience in the army, Eric Ambler saw fit to become a screenwriter after putting his army days behind him. He made quick gains in the arena, adapting a novel from Nicholas Monsarrat and receiving an Academy Award as a result. Interestingly enough, Eric spent a couple of years writing novels and screenplays under a pen name, so there are readers out there who have encountered Eric Ambler’s work without realizing it.

Following his divorce in 1958, Eric quickly rebounded with Joan Harrison, a renowned film producer whom he married soon after. The couple lived in Switzerland for a while before finally coming back to Britain.

Eric’s wife died in 1994. He followed her four years later.

+Literary career

With works like ‘The Mask of Dimitrios’ and ‘The Light of Day’ under his belt, Eric Ambler garnered a reputation for creating unique spy thrillers that featured amateurs who were forced to undertake dangerous operations in the company of criminals and revolutionaries.

Rather than creating super sleuths with unrivaled abilities, Eric saw fit to elevate the bumbling hero, a clueless individual that is clearly out of his depth but who always came out on top in a battle of strength and wits against professionals, surprising himself and the audience in the long run.

While Eric Ambler didn’t write series, some of his characters had a tendency to appear in more than one novel.

Eric has been credited for making detective fiction cool by dragging it into the mainstream.


Being a film professional, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Eric Ambler had the fortune to see some of his novels receive film adaptations.

One of the more popular ones is ‘The Mast of Dimitrios’, a novel that was published in 1939 and which became a movie in 1944, directed by Jean Negulesco, featuring Faye Emerson, Sydney Greenstreet, and Zachary Scott.

Then there’s ‘Topkapi’, a Technicolor heist film from 1964 that was adapted from the novel ‘The Light of Day’. The movie was a box office success, earning one of its actors an Academy Award nomination. The movie’s use of wire stunts also had an impact on Hollywood in the long run. The movie features a number of differences with the novels but Eric Ambler never suggested that the alterations bothered him.

A lesser-known Eric Ambler adaptation is ‘Journey into Fear’, a 1943 film which was plagued by numerous problems and eventually lost the production companies behind it a lot of money.

+A Coffin for Dimitrios

Charles Latimer is a British author famous for his crime novels. When Charles goes to Istanbul, a chance encounter with a colonel changes his life. Charles is introduced to the notorious Dimitrios.

His hope was to use the figure as inspiration for his next novel. Charles is instead drawn into a sinister world filled with political intrigue, drugs, and assassins.

This Eric Ambler novel takes place in the 20s and 30s around the Eastern Mediterranean Rim. The book is narrated by Charles who meets Dimitrios Makropolous, a corpse in a morgue in Istanbul.

Eric nurtures an obsession with the deceased Dimitrios, making it his mission to learn the history behind the figure. This leads Charles on a mission around Europe as he looks for and interviews anyone he can find who knew Dimitrios.

Each new setting Charles encounters has its own story to tell, with a unique set of characters that engage with and challenge him. This book set the stage for Eric’s future works. It featured an average individual who was suddenly caught up in international intrigue, a plot that is common in Eric’s novels.

+Epitaph for a Spy

As the Second World War approaches, Joseph Vadassy turns up at the Hotel de la Reserve. Joseph just wants to spend the next few days relaxing before his inevitable return to Paris.

But the Hotel isn’t the safest place, not at that point in history, not when there’s so little trust abounding. It doesn’t take Joseph long to find himself under suspicion for photos he does not remember taking.

Epitaph for a Spy follows the exploits of a photographer and teacher who gets arrested after he goes to collect the prints for pictures he took only to find that some of them feature military installations.

Joseph has been mistaken for a spy. He quickly realizes that someone at his hotel must have exchanged cameras with him and that person is probably the real spy. So Joseph undertakes an investigation, determining to figure out which one of the people at his hotel might have sinister motives.

What starts out as a mystery/spy thriller takes a turn as Joseph becomes engrossed in the stories of the people he should be investigating.

Eric Ambler was an influential author of thriller novels, especially spy novels. Apart from being an author, Ambler also worked as a screenwriter. Born in London, Eric Ambler was raised in a family that was full of entertainers. Ambler’s family was in charge of a puppet show, where Amber played a key role during his early years. Later on, Eric Ambler joined Northampton Polytechnic Institute, which is located in Islington, where he studied engineering. After he completed his University degree, Eric Ambler served as a trainee in one the local engineering companies. In the long run, his upbringing as an entertainer eventually proved to be dominant, and it did not take long before he moved to writing plays. In the early 1930’s, Eric Ambler worked as a copywriter for a leading advertising agency in London. After he resigned, Eric Ambler relocated to Paris, where he met one Louis Crombie, who worked as an American fashion respondent.

The two, Eric and Louis fell in love, and eventually married. During this period, Eric Ambler was a devoted anti-fascist and thus, regarded the Soviet Union as the only real counterbalance towards the fascist aggression. This is evident in some of his earlier books that he portrayed Soviet agents as sympathetic characters. The Mask of the Dimistrios, which was published in the year 1939, is one of Eric Ambler’s best-known book. In the year 1944, the novel was made into a feature film. Another novel that Eric Ambler is best known for is The Light of Day, which was adapted into a screenplay in the year 1964. Eric Ambler was also a successful screenwriter. Some of the classic films that were based on his works include The October Man and Journey into Fear, which features renowned actor, Joseph Cotton.

Eric Ambler Best Books

A Coffin for Dimitrios

In a Coffin for Dimitrios, author, Eric Ambler introduces the readers to the protagonist, one Charles Latimer. Charles serves as a professor at a leading local university and just like most men who serve as professors; Charles Latimer also doubles up as an author of espionage thrillers. The book begins as Charles is on vacation, in Istanbul. While on vacation, Charles Latimer receives an invitation to view the body of one of the most notorious criminals in Istanbul, named Dimitrios. The invitation to view the body, in turn, sets the protagonist, Charles Latimer on a path that he did not expect. To build an odyssey file on the criminal, Charles Latimer begins to work on Dimitrious’s file. However, this journey was more about the satisfaction of his curiosity rather than about the criminal. What initially begins as an inquiry eventually turns into a journey of obsession.

The journey eventually sees Charles travel around Europe, to meet old acquaintances. In the process, he learned that Charles was involved in some exceedingly serious business including assassination attempts, spies, drug smuggling, false identities and many others. Eventually, Charles Latimer realizes that Charles Latimer was a very clever and cunning individual. A coffin for Dimitrios was published in the year 1939, a time when the German republic declared war on Poland. Author, Eric Ambler had fully expected the Soviet Union to be an ally with Britain.

Epitaph for a Spy

Epitaph for a Spy was published in the year 1938 and is a great example of the author’s rather distinctive approach to the spy fiction genre. The hero’s that author Ambler created are not professional spies but were normal people who were caught at the center of normal espionage. Thereby these heroes do not metamorphose into noble and brave heroes. These individuals remain, normal, ordinary people, who are desperately struggling to survive and blundering through as best as they can. In Epitaph for a Spy, Ambler introduces the readers to Josef Vadassy. Vadassy is a man who does not have a nationality. Born in Hungary, which eventually became a part of Yugoslavia, after the national frontiers were redrawn, Josef eventually relocated to Britain. He eventually found it exceedingly hard to obtain a valid Yugoslavian or Hungarian passport.

Furthermore, he was also unable to obtain a British passport either. Thereby, Josef had no option but to relocate to France, where he took up a teaching position. Upon talking to the France officials, they informed him that they were going to allow him to stay, but if he deiced to leave, they were never going to allow him back into the country. Josef Vadassy settled in France and earned a living through teaching languages. Despite the fact that the payment was not over-generous, he was simply content with his way of life. Apart from being a teacher, Josef also had a hobby. He was a keen photographer, who was able to save more money to purchase one of the best cameras’s in the market, the Zeiss camera. Furthermore, Josef was also able to save enough money for a holiday trip in St. Gatien, located on the French Mediterranean side. However, when holiday, misfortune strikes, when an unlucky incident occurs.

While seated next to the beach, Josef had left his camera on a chair, and a person, who was seated next to him took it accidentally and left his camera behind; a similar camera to the one the protagonist had in his possession.

Journey into Fear

In Journey into Fear, author Eric Ambler has selected an everyman to be the main character in this highly suspenseful novel. Graham is not only nice; he is an intelligent engineer, who hails from northern England. He has just finished a rather long business trip, where he was advising the British Navy. As he was heading to his hotel room, a man charges towards him, while shooting several times at him. Eventually, the man disappeared out of the window. Fortunately enough, Graham is not injured at all. Initially, Graham thought that the intruder was a thief. However, he eventually comes to realize that the man was working for the Nazis. World War II is about to begin, and the Nazis are more than determined to ensure that Graham does not hand the classified armaments information to Britain. Graham’s plan to travel to Britain is temporally hampered, and thus he finds himself on a freight ship to Italy.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Eric Ambler

One Response to “Eric Ambler”

  1. Andrew L Akins: 2 years ago

    I enjoyed each and every one of his paper back books during my military stay in 1978 in Korea. I still have each book to this day.


Leave a Reply