Books: Forever Ambler

THE CARE OF TIME by Eric Ambler Farrar Straus Giroux 277 pages; $11.95

After 45 years in thriller country, Eric Ambler is still the master of murk. Ironic, cerebral, smooth as vintage port, he has created an all-too-familiar world of doublecross and blackmail where the heroes are unheroic and the villains almost likable. The Care of Time is quintessential Ambler from the very first sentence: "The warning message arrived on Monday, the bomb itself on Wednesday. It became a busy week."

A bit of an understatement. The bomb, a very sophisticated one, is intended...

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