- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Sceptre (2 Jun. 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1444731114
- ISBN-13: 978-1444731118
- Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.6 x 22.2 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 319,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Crime Writer Hardcover – 2 Jun 2016
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It's brilliant (Paula Hawkins)
THE CRIME WRITER represents an astonishing act of literary ventriloquism, easily on a par with THE MASTER, Colm Tóibín's fine novel about Henry James. (Craig Brown Mail on Sunday)
Ventriloquy is Dawson's forte . . . this fascinating, skilfully constructed novel builds a convincing picture of Patricia Highsmith (Andrew Taylor Spectator)
You do not need to be a passionate Highsmith fan to admire this beautifully written and elegant novel, but I think it will particularly appeal to those who have read her books and know something about her life; they should recognise many of the allusions and ideas (Jessica Mann Literary Review)
An ingenious concept . . . Dawson can be applauded for her passionate immersion in her subject, and for creating a novel as dark and odd as the subject herself. (Joanna Briscoe Guardian)
A beautifully crafted and utterly riveting blend of fact and fiction about a fascinating 20th-century figure. (Carla McKay Daily Mail)
An assured and visceral page-turner, as convincing as it is bold (Stephanie Cross Lady)
Dawson has drawn a witty, creepy plot as well as a convincing character sketch of a woman all too easy to caricature (Jake Kerridge Daily Telegraph)
An intoxicating, shadowy narrative . . . [Dawson's] imagined version of events will delight Highsmith's fans (Crime Scene magazine)
Dawson skilfully constructs a dark tale that Highsmith fans will love (Nick Rennison Sunday Times)
This novel is the real deal. Beautifully written and a must for all Highsmith fans. (Phyllis Nagy, scriptwriter of the film CAROL)
A dark tale of madness and murder, of obsession and delusion, that's worthy of Highsmith herself (Sarra Manning Red)
This novel is one wonderful long riff on Patricia Highsmith . . . Unsettling, sexy and gripping. (Tim Pears)
Fantastically moody and appealingly unhinged - a piece of sophisticated literary ventriloquism that achieves a wonderful blurring of the lines between fact and fantasy. (Sarah Waters Summer Reads, Guardian)
[An] impeccable portrait . . . a hugely compelling read, jam-packed full of tensions and psychological insight, all beautifully observed. (Eithne Ferry Sunday Express)
By the Orange Prize-shortlisted Jill Dawson, a riveting novel that folds a brilliant portrait of Patricia Highsmith into a tale of duplicity, madness and murder.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This book begins in Sussex, where Patricia Highsmith is living in Bridge Cottage. It is 1964 and Beatlemania is the talk of the times, but Pat only wants peace and quiet. She was previously living in France, where she received anonymous letters – a possible stalker. Now, she has her friend Ronnie, who visits and, apart from that, wants only to be left alone. That, however, is easier said than done. Invading her peace are nosy neighbour, Mrs Ingham and a young journalist; Virginia Smythson-Balby.
One of the reasons that Pat longs to be left alone is that she is having an affair with a married woman, called Sam. Sam lives in London with her husband, Gerald and has a young daughter. Meetings involve furtive calls in phone boxes, cancellations, frustration and jealousy.Read more ›
Highsmith herself was fascinating and Jill Dawson captures that very well, as she does the sense of time and place. But there's something about the book that, enjoyable and engaging as it is, held me back from taking to it fully. Put bluntly, I suppose it seems a good many steps too far to fictionalise a real person's life to the point where they become available as murderers: why stop there? I wonder whether we would accept this presentation of a writer as a rapist, say, or paedophile.
I know this sounds very 'sniffy', but I couldn't help finding the whole idea a little distasteful. And at least one other reviewer here shares a similar response.
Patricia Highsmith is probably best known for the stories that became films (The Talented Mr Ripley, Ripley's Game, Carol) and also for writing the screenplay of Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train. Her characters are unsettling: good people disappoint, everyone has a streak of evil. I was familiar with her writing but I knew little about her as an individual - for example, she had an obsession with snails. It's fascinating to read the author's acknowledgments at the end about the different strands of Highsmith's life and writing that inspired this novel.
The plot of The Crime Writer (somewhat ironical given that Highsmith hated to be described in that way), concerns her relationship with two women. There is Sam, her elegant and unhappily married lover, and there is Ginny, a pushy yet evasive young journalist who comes to interview her. When a murder is committed, it will impact on all of their lives.
I really liked the writing in this book and I thought that the plot was very clever, but it also felt very disjointed. The crime felt almost secondary and I wanted it to have more focus. Ultimately I just found this a little dragged out and lacking momentum.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the concept that the, 'Crime Writer' is the actual criminal in this tale! It also made me think, do those that write about crime actually consider murder?Published 1 month ago by Raven
The concept was interesting but sadly the standard of writing left me bored and I had to "fight" not to give up. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Howard Posner
Not a bad novel, but I rather felt I'd have better used my time re-reading one of Patricia Highsmith's own books again.Published 5 months ago by Pelican
Dawson does Highsmith. I've never read Jill Dawson before (and probably won't again) but I'm a big Highsmith fan so this potentially out-to-lunch retelling of her sojourn in 60's... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bela Lugosi's Dad
Dark, rich, poignant, and so skilfully plotted that you are both thoroughly drawn into the heroine's fearful viewpoint and bewitched by her fertile mind. Read morePublished 6 months ago by K H Kirklin
Excellent, punchy thriller interweaving the real life (scandalous in its day) lifestyle of Patricia Highsmith with a fictional story. Read morePublished 6 months ago by M. W. Hatfield
I have admired all of Jill Dawson's books but I think 'The Crime Writer' has raised her achievement to a new level. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Charles Pargeter