Epitaph for a Spy
Josef Vadassy, a Hungarian refugee and language teacher living in France, is enjoying his first break for years in a small hotel on the Riviera. But when he takes his holiday photographs to be developed at a local chemists, he suddenly finds himself mistaken for a Gestapo agent and a…
Why read it?
2 authors picked Epitaph for a Spy as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
I read Eric Amber when I was young, and again when I was invited to take part in Andrew Marr’s BBC4 documentary Sleuths, Spies and Sorcerers.
Ambler’s books have no heroes or jingoism. He revolutionized spy fiction by injecting realism. He portrays the chaos of Europe in the 1930s, with people trying to survive without papers. In Epitaph for a Spy, Josef Vadassy, a Hungarian refugee, has become stateless after the Treaty of Trianon. In France, he is arrested for spying because of a mix-up with camera film. He is told to find the real spy or be deported,…
Another book published in 1938, so it was written in the period. It’s argued that Ambler created the mould for modern thrillers, so it’s another essential stop for anyone interested in pre-War spy fiction. I loved the fact that the hero is an amateur in this story, something that I took into The Fulcrum Files.
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