There was not a spare seat to be had for the Bodies From The Library event at the British Library last Friday evening celebrating the publication of three Eric Ambler titles by the British Library. Two distinguished panels discussed Ambler and his work.
The first focussed primarily on Ambler and his influences in the context of the Thriller genre which had, up to that point, frequently seen stiff upper lipped Englishmen thwarting Johnny Foreigner types in their dastardly plans.
Panel 1: Camilla Shestopal, John McLaughlin, Martin Edwards, Ayo Onatade
The second panel focussed on Ambler’s legacy and how he privided the bridge from that pre-war era to the modern British Spy Thriller of the type written by such diverse authors as John Le Carre, Len Deighton and Frederick Forsyth.
The event closed with a reception at which the audience was able to quiz the panelists further on their views about Ambler over a glass of wine before the inevitable Friday evening homeward journey during which everyone may have regarded their fellow commuters with an added degree of suspicion – was any of these outwardly ordinary travellers at this moment embroiled in some Ambleresque plot that might destabilise a friendly regime and precipitate unforeseen consequences?