Books: Capital Gains

THE SIEGE OF THE VILLA LIPP

by ERIC AMBLER 275 pages. Random House. $8.95.

After 40 years, Novelist Eric Ambler, 68, has traded in the cloak and dagger for a trust fund and pocket calculator. Ambler's 15 earlier tales of espionage and intrigue created a shadow world of border crossings and doublecrosses that was both distinctly his own and widely (and successfully) imitated. Such younger writers as John Le Carré and Len Deighton are firmly in the Ambler tradition. The Siege of the Villa Lipp tries a new route. The most imaginative shady deals, it says, are no longer concocted by world-weary agents...

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