The Ability To Kill. True Tales of Bloody Murder (1963). Eric Ambler (1909-1998). London: The Bodley Head. First edition. Original dust jacket.
True-crime pieces from the ’50s and ’60s. Ambler deals with classic villains from England (Jack the Ripper), Scotland (William Burke and William Hare) and France (Marcel Petiot) along with more recent miscreants: England’s James Hanratty (1961) and America’s Raymond Finch and Carole Tregoff (1960). There are lovely semifictional pieces on spies and spy-spotting. Especially delicious is the tale of “Annettee” in 1937 Tangier.