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...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.
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