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The blank wall;: A novel of suspense Hardcover – 1947

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 231 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (1947)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006AR7BO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,942,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Helen S VINE VOICE on 14 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
The Blank Wall is a suspense novel set during World War II. Lucia Holley is living with her two teenage children and her father in their lakeside home, while her husband, Tom, is serving in the navy somewhere in the Pacific. Her daughter, Bee, has been having an affair with an older man who Lucia considers to be entirely unsuitable. Things quickly start to spiral out of control and Lucia finds herself involved in murder, blackmail and a series of other crimes, all of which she attempts to conceal from her family. But as she desperately tries to protect her loved ones and avoid a scandal, could Lucia actually be putting herself and others in danger?

With the story being told from Lucia's perspective, we are given lots of insights into her thought processes as she tries to cope with the disruption to her previously peaceful life. I could really feel Lucia's fear and panic as everything seemed to be closing in around her. I didn't always understand her actions and there were times when I felt frustrated with her because some of her decisions were clearly silly and irrational, but it was an interesting study into the way a 1940s woman of Lucia's class and background might have reacted. It was easy to see why Lucia felt under so much pressure. She was doing her best to take care of her family during wartime and provide meals for them despite rationing and shortages, as well as trying to solve their personal problems and keep them safe - while continuing to send letters to her husband assuring him that everything at home was fine.

The pages of The Blank Wall are filled with tension and suspense. The plot is exciting and fast-paced and I could never guess what might happen next.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lynrow Kernow on 8 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
Lucia Holley, is a wife and mother, living with her daughter, her son, and her father, while her husband serves in the navy during WWII.

Lucia's daughter, Bee, is a worry to her. She has become involved with an older man who her mother thinks is quite unsuitable, and Lucia is determined to put a stop to the relationship.

Her efforts though lead to a whole series of events - murder, blackmail, fraud - that threaten to destroy the very things that Lucia is trying to protect.

It's a simple story, but it's so terribly well executed.

Lucia, her family, and their relationships are so well drawn. The central conflict between mother and daughter is particularly well done. Lucia went straight from school to marriage and motherhood, but her daughter wants a very different life. Neither can understand the other.

That spoke loudly and clearly of the changing times. So did the many small inconveniences of daily life in a small America town during wartime

Lucia's life, once so certain, was certain no more.

She had to keep her family safe, but she struggled to balance that with the demands of her children, her father, her home, her community.

Her behaviour, her attitude, became less and less rational, and at times I was infuriated as I watched her, but I really couldn't have come up with a better plan.

Overall the balance of the book is lovely: perfect family and domestic details on one side of the scale, and classic suspense on the other.

And a mystery driven so well by character is a wonderful thing.

The ending maybe tilted a little too much towards melodrama, but it didn't matter. I was already hooked by the story and the characters, and it did round things off nicely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Brown TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One thing a thriller should always do is grip you and keep you guessing as to what will happen next. It helps if it is pervaded by a sense of mystery and danger. It should be well paced to keep you turning the page and written in a language that doesn't get in the way of the action. You should be rooting for the main characters too or at least sympathise with their motives. All these qualities are present in this Persephone Books' reprint and if you like this sort of narrative you unlikely to be disappointed.

It takes an ordinary American family in the early 1940s - mother (Lucia), father (away in the war), grandfather, a seventeen year old daughter, a fifteen year old son - living by a river in a nice house with a loyal and intelligent black servant. Into this placid, rather dull family steps a cardboard cut-out crook, Ted Darby, who has dazzled the inexperienced daughter. He has love letters from her and tries to use them to extort money. This accidentally leads to his death. Thinking her father has unknowingly caused Derby's death, the mother, Lucia, tries to cover it up by dumping the body on a nearby island. She then becomes the victim of blackmail at the hands of one of Derby's criminal associates...

Soon, she is entangled in a web of deceit and fear. Struggling to save the good name of her family and her daughter's tender feelings, she gets involved in another murder and its cover up. She forms an unlikely and ultimately crucial friendship with one of the blackmailers. She fends off inquisitive journalists and the police, trying to keep a semblance of normality in front of her family.
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