- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Allison & Busby; New edition edition (29 Aug. 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0749002751
- ISBN-13: 978-0749002756
- Package Dimensions: 17.8 x 10.6 x 1.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,004,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Banshee Paperback – 29 Aug 1994
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Top Customer Reviews
Too often now, contemporary novels are much too long for their theme, written in an undisciplined manner by un-edited authors, and many crime writers have become pornographic in their depiction of cruelty and torture - the victims often women.
Margaret Millar's books, by contrast, are short, elegantly written, cunningly plotted, authentic in terms of setting, background, character and dialogue.Her intelligence shines through her writing, and she never patronises her reader. I urge any fan of the classic detective novel to seek out her work.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Let me just say that the first chapter is one of the most effective I've ever read. Millar makes you fall in love with a child, Annamay Hyatt, who is found dead at the start of Chapter 2. This knocked me for such a loop that I ended up reading the first 100 pages with tears in my eyes. Then, by the end, I started tearing up again. I had remembered Millars' wise-alecky characters and her strong women, but I didn't remember her earlier books packing the emotional punch that this one did.
BANSHEE is fairly short, and while Millar's books are often peopled by characters on the fringes of society, I found several of the secondary characters here to be more caricatures than real people. The fact that they seemed only tangentially related to the plot kept me a bit frustrated, but that's how Millar operates so I put myself in her capable hands. I don't know that the overall result, as a mystery/suspense book, is as stunning as it is in some other books (I particularly love ASK FOR ME TOMORROW), but it's still a fine piece of writing by one of the all-time greats. And I'll never forget Annamay Hyatt, or her mother and father, or the preacher whose faith is sorely tested by the little girl's death.
A young darling of a girl, who is called Princess, prances about and delights the reader at the beginning of the story. She has been built an out-sized doll house, where she plays out her imaginary fairy-tale life. Sometimes strangers come by - stragglers off the highway - looking for food. But they, too, are enchanted by the child's innocence and beauty. This is, after all, California's lush countryside, where nothing goes wrong. She shares her idyllic life with her young cousin, who lives nearby. Others in the neighborhood, a retired "Madam," for one, have curiously mysterious lives but then they maintain their privacy as well as respecting that of their neighbors.
The inevitable happens. Princess disappears and only months later, her decomposed body is found within her play area, along the stream, bordering the neighborhood. Who, amongst the neighbors and friends and strangers, has committed this heinous crime? The father desperately spends endless days searching for clues but is finally defeated. He cannot solve the mystery. Can you? This seems to be Margaret Millar's question, throughout. Yes, vintage Millar.