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The Unquiet Night [Paperback]

Patricia Carlon
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Crime; Reprint edition (Feb 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569472130
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569472132
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 12.6 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,945,738 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Why, Hello To You, Too 6 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Unquiet Night is the story of Rachel who is spending time looking after her young niece. One day while with her in in the park, she is greeted by a passer by, Martin Deeford - who, unbeknown to her, is fresh from murdering his date there and concealing the body.

Later the image of Rachel and her niece preys on Deeford as he realises that if questioned they could put him in the park on the same day as the murder, and he plots to kill them.

What follows is his determined and occasionally confusing attempts to track down who they are and where they live, from checking the girl's description with the school to whittling down their location street by street by ringing neighbours, who aren't always completely accurate with information.

At first, with the story being told quite often from Deeford's perspective, there was a bit of a Catcher in the Rye element to it in his actions and subsequent rambling thought processes. But it soon turns to a more basic "race against time" scenario, with the reader rooting for Rachel while the police are looking for Deeford.

The Unquiet Night was written in the 1960s and set in Australia, and has the feel of a traditional English small-town murder-mystery to it (one where we know who the killer is from the off). The innocence of the early '60s setting makes for added interest - the concept of young girls regularly dolling themselves up and hanging about alone at bus shelters in the hope of a spin in a random guy's car may seem antiquated, but the cases recently of girls being "groomed" in England are not so very different in their circumstances.

Patricia Carlon is one of the writers featured in Christopher Fowler's "Independent On Sunday" (UK) newspaper column and book Invisible Ink, on much missed out-of-print authors.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Small Town Suspense 9 Jun 2000
By Suzanne Epstein - Published on Amazon.com
Patricia Carlon is a popular Australian writer. This book, originally written in 1965, is one of a series being published in the United States by Soho Press. This slim volume of about 190 pages is a tale of suspense, similar to the work of Ruth Rendell or Mary Higgins Clark. Rachel Penghill takes her nine-year-old niece for a picnic near a lake. When it begins to rain, they grab their belongings in order to leave, and Rachel notices a strange young man looking at them. Martin Deeford has just strangled a young woman and dumped her body in the lake. He becomes obsessed with the idea that Rachel can identify him and connect him to the crime.
The events that follow create a tangled web of confusion and stir the residents of the village into an assorted range of reactions...fear, denial, and rationalization. Martin's delusional thought processes lead him from one plan to another, and alll who become involved have their own interpretation. Even the local radio news broadcaster puts his verson of a spin on the events.
Eventually he does locate Rachel, and he creates a situtation that is the heart of the book's suspense. Again, various characters come close to resolving the situation, only to convince themselves that things are different. Rachel's very survival hinges on the outcome.
I read this book in a day. It is one of those "can't put it down" reads. Although the village is quaint, and the procedures a bit dated by today's standards, the plot was very clever. The twists and turns lead to a resolution that still has the reader wondering what could happen next.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb thriller just recently published in the U.S. 22 Aug 2002
By Catherine S. Vodrey - Published on Amazon.com
An independent-minded young jeweler, a lonely and deranged man, an innocent child--take these three ingredients, mix them together, let your imagination run wild, and boom! You have the well-oiled engine which begins running from the moment you open up Patricia Carlon's superb 1965 thriller "The Unquiet Night" (only published in the U.S. in the last few years). Carlon, an Australian writer, has published only a handful of books and this is the only one I've read thus far--but it's made me want to pick up her other work as well.
The tale is set in Australia. Rachel Penghill is the independent young jeweler, feeling a bit at odds with her boyfriend, trying to make a go of her business, and spending time with her nine-year old niece to try to take her mind off her own problems. Thus is the action set into place (after a very scary first chapter which actually involves another female character--can't say much more without giving too much away). Martin Deeford, the off-balance, enraged man Rachel has the misfortune to meet up with, is convinced of something about Rachel which actually turns out to be untrue--but he doesn't know this yet, and his beliefs about Rachel are enough to send him stalking and finally finding her.
I can say little else without giving away too much of the plot, and I will say that I found the ending unsatisfactory. Without going into detail to ruin it for those who haven't read "The Unquiet Night," the ending somehow struck a false note for me--as though Carlon had simply and suddenly tired of the book and decided to slam the covers shut. Other than that though--and it is a fairly minor quibble--this is a taut and worthy thriller.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bone-chilling thriller! 14 May 2003
By CoffeeGurl - Published on Amazon.com
The Unquiet Night has bone-chilling thriller written all over it! I couldn't put it down -- the haunting scenes made me curious about what would happen next. What I first considered to a desperate attempt at reading something different and obscure turned into one of the best reading investments I've made in quite a long time.
Set in Australia, Carlon tells the story of Martin Deeford -- a lonely and deranged man who seeks the company of someone who can understand him. He sees Rose as his saving grace, but his disarming attempt at having a faithful listener ends in murder. Martin thinks that the murder will never be traced back to him -- but little does he know that the nightmare has just begun...

Patricia Calon writes with a penchant for mind-boggling suspense. Hers is a talent that shouldn't be taken lightly. Her writing is quite similar to Penelope Evans's (The Last Girl and Freezing). I shall spread the word about this wonderful yet underrated piece of work. Good thrillers are scarce these days, and we must embrace hidden treasures such as this one...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And yours may be too 12 Jun 2002
By A. C. Seligman - Published on Amazon.com
Don't start this book shortly before going to bed - it sucks you right in and you'll be up all night and spooked as well as tired.
Though short and a quick read, this book covers a lot of ground by presenting lots of short scenes, which really keep the pace up. In fact, though there's quite a lot of internal dialogue, I'm really surprised this book was never made into a movie, because the cover blurb comparison with Hitchcock is an obvious one. The technique of presenting multiple viewpoints is done very effectively. The writing is (rarely) a bit awkward (or maybe typos?), but this reader at least was so engrossed in the unfolding plot that I skimmed right over them. In some ways Carlon's style reminds me of Patricia Highsmith, one of my favorite authors.
The only disappointment is the ending, and I won't say why.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling atmosphere drives psychological suspense 15 Aug 2000
By Lynn Harnett - Published on Amazon.com
An Australian whose psychological suspense novels are appearing in the US some thirty-plus years after their original publication, Patricia Carlon, like Ruth Rendell, is a master of tense, claustrophobic suspense. The sixth to be published here, "The Unquiet Night" focuses on a woman and child in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A young man, Mart, strangles a disrespectful pick-up date and dumps her body in the lake at a nature reserve. Leaving, he spies a woman with a playing child. Their eyes meet.
Putting the nervous fellow from her mind, Rachel Penghill takes her niece home, her mind on her unhappy love life and her new business, unaware she has panicked a killer who is now feverishly tracking her.
Point of view shifts primarily between Rachel and her stalker but also encompasses other players - the mother spooked by a strange man's phone call to her nine-year-old daughter, the radio newsman determined to protect Rachel from involvement in his uncertain prospects, the policeman jaded by human nature. Tension mounts as luck, weather and circumstance form a suspenseful counterpoint to the killer's cold-blooded deviousness, culminating in an agonizing, protracted climax.
This is classic Carlon - a compact, sparely written story with well-drawn characters. Rachel is appealing and resourceful while the killer is deeply chilling yet pitiful.
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