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The Schirmer Inheritance

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  470 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
It wasn’t anyone’s idea of a glamorous first assignment at a white shoe law firm. George Cary, former WWII bomber pilot and newly minted lawyer, was given the ignoble task of going through the tons of files on the Schneider Johnson case, just to make sure nothing had been overlooked. But, as luck would have it, George did discover something among the false claims and dead- ...more
Paperback, 219 pages
Published December 2nd 2003 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 1953)
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Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spy-mystery
This book is not quite as ambitious as either Passage or Deltchev - but no less masterful for that. Despite a slower beginning (for me), the book picks up and is flawless, once again, in its construction. Clearly Ambler is a man who does not write until he knows what it is he wants to say. How refreshing! and while he chooses to use the style of the political thriller, it is nothing less than the anatomy of man, that "ape in velvet", that he has firmly in his sights.
Aug 19, 2013 rated it did not like it
The usually skillful Ambler spends 100 pages on back-story & exposition as an American legal treks post-war Europe looking for an heir to a million bucks. His aide-de-camp, born in Yugoslavia, was traumatized by invading troops and she now likes to be abused, but not by our Harvard sleuth. There's a lotta trek in this hasty pudding.
Sean O
Nov 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the part with the lawyer and the translator trying to solve a mystery.

The rest of it? Ugh.

If the story was just about George Carey,
it would have been four stars.

It wasn't a bad story, just not as good as Raymond Chandler.
Carl Dixon
Sep 08, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Slow & Tedious

Starts slowly but with promise & the search for the beneficiary has promise but it is never fulfilled. Never gets above walking pace & I lost interest way before I'd finished it - end is as disappointing as the rest. Really not worth the time.
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Eric Ambler’s 1953 novel The Schirmer Inheritance isn’t quite a crime novel, or at any rate certainly not a conventional one. It’s perhaps best described as a mystery thriller with a dash of international intrigue. It’s somewhat in the style of Graham Greene’s cloak-and-dagger novels. Ambler and Greene took the spy/adventure story as written by people like John Buchan and seasoned it with lots of cynicism, and a certain amount of black humour. The Schirmer Inheritance is typical of Ambler’s work ...more
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
A post war tale centered on an estate lawyer combing Europe for a lost heir to millions. A fascinating premise, but....

Zzzzzzzzzzzz...whazzuh??! No more peanut butter, mommy....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Huh?! I'm up! Sorry, must have dozed off there. Where was I? Oh yeah, the estate lawyer sitting in dimly lit rooms searching through family records and......


Snork! I'm awake! I lost my train of thought. Is it warm in here? Something about a lawyer and paperwork and Germans. Germans?
Scott E
Sep 17, 2009 rated it it was ok
Not really spy fiction, not very thrilling or intriguing. All in all, I hope this is one of (only?) the underwhelming efforts by Ambler because I want to read more. The first 50 pages or so led me to think this was going to be very interesting. Then nothing happened...seriously, nothing was added to the story again until the final 40 pages or so, and the final 40 pages didn't serve any purpose other than to wrap up and get out of town. If you're an Ambler completest, read until George leaves for ...more
Mary-alice Frank
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you enjoy old time espionage books, you will enjoy Eric Ambler, who is most known for Coffin for Demetrious. Ambler's ordinary characters find themselves in the middle of intense espionage activities, often at their peril. His focus is the WWII era.
The Shirmer Inheritance focuses on the role of Greece in the war its the freemdom fighters and the communists ( something that most WWII books do not focus on). Many twists.
Jul 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I like Eric Ambler's books because they often combine a suspenseful tale with a dose of little known Balkan history. Always some total innocent gets caught in an intrigue beyond his capability to handle. This one is about an American attorney trying to find the potential heirs to a large estate somewhere in Eastern Europe. The time is the early 1950s in the wake of WWII and the civil war in Greece. Although I generally enjoyed this book, it seemed to me it wasn't Ambler's best.
Jun 17, 2015 rated it liked it
good plot and character development; kept my interest all the way through
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The Schirmer Inheritance tells the story of a three million dollar inheritance, and the lawyer who makes it his mission to find an heir. From the prolog set during the Napoleonic Wars to the investigation of heaping mounds of civil claims, letters, photographs and verbal testimonies, our hero tracks down his quarry and delivers an inheritance, but not the one he had in mind.

The story showcases Ambler's trademark hero, an ordinary man at sea in circumstance, and his trademark wry humor. It'
Paul Jellinek
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love Eric Ambler, but I have to admit this is not one of his best. That said, even when he's not at his best, Ambler is head and shoulders above just about any of the more recent thrillers I've come across over the past few years. A good one for your next cross-country flight.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not Amber's best. It held my interest for a while, with a mystery concerning a missing heir, interesting locations, etc. But the ending, especially the part that concerned Miss Kolin, was strange, made no sense, and seemed to be the machination of a masogonist's fantasy. I might switch back to Graham Greene.
Kind of dull investigation story without the suspense and action of other Ambler books. Felt kind of plodding and lacked stakes.
Procyon Lotor
Un'eredit� controversa con un lascito agognato. Il titolo � stato cambiato da "l'eredit� S." al pi� vasto "il caso S.", ma sempre di un eredit� si tratta. Ci sono soldati, e un paio di guerre ma non � solo un libro di guerra. Terroristi e partigiani e politica e spie ma non � solo un libro di intrighi, pure amore ma non � solo un libro romantico. E un personaggio importante � pure avvocato, pur non essendo solo un legal thriller. In sintesi � un Ambler. Uno che si documenta benissimo, sui comple ...more
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It must be something to do with my levels of middle-aged cynicism, but when I entered my forties I found myself being increasingly drawn to novels about spying and espionage. Having successfully dived into John Le Carre and being on the point of starting a new relationship with Alan Furst, a friend asked me if I had ever read any of Eric Ambler's novels.

Of course, this was a name that was familiar to me from a time when publishing was a much quieter business and authors seemed more generic: it w
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ambler is one of those old school spy/espionage authors that is heavy on atmosphere. In this time out, he writes about an American lawyer searching in Greece for a long lost heir to a fortune. The book opens with a brief synopsis of Schirmer's forebear, and it really gives you a taste of what was going on in 1950's post-WWII Greece. The political strife and the intense betrayals that had gone on for decades is really brought home very well. So using this as a backdrop, the American lawyer follow ...more
Oct 03, 2016 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alan Gallauresi
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Eric Ambler is the master of the unglamorous spy novel where everyday people fall into complex but comparatively bookish intrigues in a believable way. That's as opposed to, say, Graham Green winking at you from underneath a hat at the bar as he introduces characters tailored for the silver screen -- Ambler's plotting and characterization is natural, almost unremarkable. In some cases, a little too unremarkable: The Schirmer Inheritance is a fair procedural but not a memorable classic, reminisce ...more
Thomas Burchfield
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Schirmer Inheritance (Knopf; 1953) is the second novel Eric Ambler wrote after he returned to fiction writing following his service in World War II. His previous novel, Judgment on Deltchev mirrored—brilliantly, I thought--the collapse of Ambler’s Marxist idealism and passion for politics after the scouring betrayal by Soviet collaboration with the Nazis and the subsequent Communist tyranny. Deltchev was an angry novel written by a bitten and burnt soul."

You can read the rest of my review a
Danny M
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spies
Later espionage writers owe a lot to Eric Ambler; I thought the scope and theme of this novel, in which a lawyer's attempts to trace the heir to a small fortune uncovers secrets and conspiracies in Europe, were very Helen MacInnes, while the character studies were pure Ian Fleming:

"He would never admit to such an unreasoning and childish superstition, of course; but if he ever married, it would be to some girl who would not weep even if he beat the living daylights out of her. Let her scream as
May 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Different from other Amblers I have read, in that it takes place after WWII and the protagonist is an American. The plot (a young American lawyer is sent to Europe to search for a possible German heir to a U.S. fortune) isn't much, but much of it is set in Greece and deals with the German occupation and the post-occupation political struggles, which is very interesting. As usual, Ambler writes well and moves the story along. There were some character surprises along the way, which added to the ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Very entertaining!
William S.
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
As a thriller, this is just about perfect. As a beach read, it IS perfect! The first half of the book is absolutely stunning. The second half is highly imaginative, with forays into the poitics of Greece and Yugoslavia diuring the Greek Civil War that I didn't know, and I served in Athens at the Embassy! Perfect for the summer. I was sorry when it ended. I lent it to a friend, a cancer patient, who told me the story was so good that it took her away from her surroundings for several weeks. I can ...more
Nov 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This a an unexpected Ambler gem. Although the hero does end up in Yugoslavia for a bit, it is not a rifle-butt-on-the-shoulder like some of his earlier works. There is a bit of unevenness, and it's not easy to know why come bits are included, by an enjoyable set of characters and plot. Ambler sure seemed to know a lot of history
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Αυτό το βιβλίο περίηλθε στην προσοχή μου τελείως τυχαία. Για την ακρίβεια η αδερφή μου το έπιασε τυχαία από τον πάγκο με άλλα βιβλία και το αγοράσαμε λόγω της αναφοράς του στη Φλώρινα. Είναι ένα εξαιρετικο πολιτικό θρίλερ με βαθιά γνώση των γεγονότων που περιγράφει και χαρακτήρες απόλυτα ρεαλιστικούς.... Σίγουρα θέλω να διαβάσω κι άλλα βιβλία από το συγκεκριμένο συγγραφέα...
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Ambler è un classico della letteratura investigativa. I suoi romanzi sono sempre scritti con grande eleganza e precisione, senza eccedere mai nei toni e dando largo spazio all'umanità dei personaggi.
In più c'è questa sua predilezione per l'Europa balcanica di inizio secolo che mi intriga molto.
Ogni tanto mi piace ritornare ai suoi libri per respirare le atmosfere all'Orient-Express.
Mark Wilson
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent read by a master

Ambler starts this tale at the beginning of the 19th century, in order to set the stage for a twentieth-century problem: finding an heir who may or may not exist. From this, as always, he has constructed an engrossing tale that moves along briskly to its satisfying (and to me unexpected) end.
Fredrick Danysh
Aug 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Former bomber pilot and lawyer George Carey gets an assignment from his law firm that calls for him to call on his military experience to survives he discovers information about a former Greek guerrilla fighter and Napoleon.
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Eric Ambler began his writing career in the early 1930s, and quickly established a reputation as a thriller writer of extraordinary depth and originality. He is often credited as the inventor of the modern political thriller and John Le Carre once described him as 'the source on which we all draw.'

Ambler began his working life at an engineering firm, then as a copywriter at an advertising agency,
More about Eric Ambler...

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