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Summary

Includes an interview with Gillian Flynn.

To everyone around them, Melinda and Vic Van Allen are the perfect couple - young, wealthy and attractive. But when their love sours, their mind games reach a twisted, dangerous climax.

"If I really don't like somebody, I kill him.... You remember Malcolm McRae, don't you?"

Melinda Van Allen is beautiful, headstrong and sexy. Unfortunately for Vic Van Allen, she is his wife. Their love has soured, and Melinda takes pleasure in flaunting her many affairs to her husband. When one of her lovers is murdered, Vic hints to her latest conquest that he was responsible. As rumours spread about Vic's vicious streak, fiction and reality start to converge. It's only a matter of time before Vic really does have blood on his hands.

©1957, 1993 Patricia Highsmith, Diogenes Verlag AG Zurich (P)2017 Isis Publishing Ltd

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If Carlsberg did Thrillers

Any additional comments?

...they'd probably write thrillers like this. This isn't a whodunit or even a whydunnit. It's more of a howdunnit. Nobody does the IKEA flat pack assembly instructions of a murder - usually of someone rather unlikable - better than Highsmith. Few writers can, with a surer hand, sketch the arc of relationships fraying and tearing, or better show how oddness or eccentricity with the slightest of pushes, can turn to madness or evil. This book is gripping and in the last chapter almost as horrific as the story of a real murder. We grow so involved with all of the characters involved: killer, prey, cats-paw, child, a puppy playfully gamboling around a scene of brutality, self-righteous enablers and innocent friends offstage. Yet she can be so funny and of course cutting while she's being funny. Of one character she writes, "He looked as if he had spent all his life dodging blows that were probably aimed at him for good reason." I'm stopping here to order my next Patricia Highsmith, which will probably be The Price of Salt/Carol.

7 people found this helpful

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  • 24-01-19

Vic the hero!

Great story, I was really rooting for Vic! I really enjoy Patricia Highsmith’s quirky stories and characters and this is now another favourite.

2 people found this helpful

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Thrilling and suspenseful

Loved this all the way through. A slow building but relentless tension. Thought the ending was a little rushed, but still enjoyed it. Fantastic narration.

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Gripping

The nerdy husband with the faithless wife who humiliates him by making him a public cuckold... fabulous, gripping. Love the relationship between Vic and Melinda and the descriptions of small town hedonism, high balls, scotch and soda at 2 pm , swimming pool parties. Great stuff.