- Richard Farr
The uselessness of Eric Ambler
In the years leading up to the Second World War, Eric Ambler wrote some of the most influential thrillers ever published - more or less invented the genre, in fact. They were not only a huge commercial success but were listed as a major source by everyone from Graham Greene to John Le Carré.
Apparently, when he gave up writing to go into the army, the recruiting officer learned about his work and asked in all sincerity "But is there anything you can actually do?"