Passing time while waiting to recover from illness is always tough duty, especially when the illness in question includes a wracking cough that makes even reading itself difficult. But I selected wisely from among my old treasures and found a friend who helped me while away the hours most admirably. That friend? The intricate, probing, highly descriptive writer who blazed the trail for sophisticated, complex political thrillers, Eric Ambler.
I have read all of Ambler's books before and found them quite fascinating but it had been long enough for my poor memory to fade and re-reading Cause for Alarm (1938), Journey Into Fear (1940) and The Care of Time (1981) this past week gave me fresh excitement and enjoyment. Ambler is deep on detail and marvelously perceptive when it comes to the real-life politics which are described in his novels. Reading him (like another of my favorites, John Buchan) is an excercise in geography, history, culture, economics, and psychology -- as well as a stimulating ride into matters of espionage, romance and adventure.
But don't wait for a sickbed experience to try Mr. Ambler's skills in keeping you entertained. Give him a tumble when you're hale and hearty enough to enjoy to the full his exceptional talents.