Item #6890 THE ABILITY TO KILL AND OTHER PIECES - INSCRIBED, WITH CORRESPONDENCE. Eric Ambler.
THE ABILITY TO KILL AND OTHER PIECES - INSCRIBED, WITH CORRESPONDENCE
THE ABILITY TO KILL AND OTHER PIECES - INSCRIBED, WITH CORRESPONDENCE

THE ABILITY TO KILL AND OTHER PIECES - INSCRIBED, WITH CORRESPONDENCE

London: The Bodley Head Ltd., 1963. First Edition. Item #6890

First Impression, second state of the text, with the suppressed chapter on the John Bodkin Adams murder trial (potentially libelous) replaced with that of James Hanratty. Octavo (20.5cm); red cloth, with titles stamped in gilt on spine; dustjacket; [10],11-222,[2]pp. Inscribed by Ambler in a contemporary hand on the front endpaper: "Thomas M. McDade / with warmest wishes / Eric Ambler '63." Recipient's pictorial bookplate mounted to front pastedown, some scattered foxing to upper edge of textblock, else Near Fine. Dustjacket is unclipped (priced 16s net), with wrinkling to the laminate, and a thin strip of dust-soil along the upper and lower edges; Very Good or better. Laid into this copy is the recipient's Mystery Writers of America (MWA) membership card for 1960-61.

Laid into this copy are three pieces of correspondence between McDade and Ambler, written between 1956-1963. The first piece is a carbon copy of a letter from McDade to Ambler (February 7, 1956), after attending the Lizze Borden Memorial Lecture, which Ambler delivered before the Incorporated Society of British Murder-Tasters. He goes on at length about the lecture, and on behalf of the Society invites Ambler to speak on his next visit to the U.S. Ambler responds at length with a two-page TLS, dated 6 March, 1956. He explains that Holiday magazine has given him a grant to focus his research into the present state of murder homes of England and Scotland, and asks McDade's permission to quote him, from his letter of February 7th. The final letter is a brief TLS from Ambler to McDade, dated October 3, 1963, again declining an invitation to the Society's monthly meeting, but stating "I have found your THE ANNALS OF MURDER most helpful. Under separate cover I am sending you a copy of THE ABILITY TO KILL, a British collection of pieces some of which you may recognize. See particularly page 106." Indeed, on p.106, Ambler has mentioned McDade by name at the beginning of his chapter on Scotland, following by a block of text quoted from his February 7, 1956 letter. Two letters stapled together; old folds, some tears and creases, but generally Very Good and sound.

Inscribed copies of this title are uncommon, with the only presentation copy found in the auction record being a later inscription to Otto Penzler. This copy, with its contemporary inscription and collection of correspondence, shows a compelling relationship between Ambler and a real enthusiast on the subject of the present work.

Price: $1,250.00

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