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No Sale

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  34 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews

For Victor Cox, a professor of film history, the Hollywood films noirs of the 1940s and 1950s are more real than his daily life. When his wife is found drowned, Cox is the first murder suspect. He falls in love with a student who looks like the 1920s film star Louise Brooks, but she disappears at a Belgian seaside resort. Smeared in lipstick in their hotel room are the wor

Paperback, 275 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Bitter Lemon Press (first published 2006)
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Nancy Oakes
This book is way off the scale in terms of normal crime fiction -- one that would appeal to fans of gritty, edgy crime novels. The unique thing about this book is that Conrad layers his murder mystery with several noir films, creating a surreal reading experience in the process. Definitely a winner if you like edgy, dark novels that delve into human nature. For a much longer review, feel free to click through to the crime section of my online reading journal. If anyone's read this, I'd love to ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Tuck rated it really liked it
supposed to be noir's noir

lots of humor, twisty little plot, and sardonic dutch internationalism make for a fun and intriguing read about the films professor slash serial murderer. or IS he? reminds me a bit of james hamilton-paterson, so if you recognize that name, you see the high praise here. Cooking with Fernet Branca

David Marshall
Jul 14, 2012 David Marshall rated it really liked it
This is a magnificent piece of metafiction pretending to be a police procedural where our lead detectives face what proves to be a serial killer selecting his victims because of their links to noir US films.
Clay Stafford
Wow. Having just read this, I’m dumbfounded. Incredible. From the first page two things happened: I was pulled in and I was stumped. This is a grand mystery in the finest of forms, complicated and solid. The story jumps right in with the investigation into the death of American film noir professor Victor Cox’s wife. The prose is fast and clipped. Descriptions of the characters and their world are truly visual. “…touching up her lipstick in the reflection of her knife blade.” Or when a suspect as ...more
Starr Gardinier
“There’s no business like show business.” The same holds true for the murder business. In his award winning novel, Conrad brings the dark emotion of jealousy and the love of movies to light. A serial killer is on the loose and a man is driven to the brink of insanity. “No Sale” is a made for Hollywood must read.

Film buff professor Victor Cox sees similarities to movies in almost every situation. Living in Antwerp, he has collected memorabilia from nearly every time period in Hollywood’s history.
Jul 23, 2012 Tony rated it liked it
Set in Antwerp, this Belgian mystery revolves around a retired film professor connected to a number of recent murders. However, far from being a straightforward whodunit, it's really aiming to be a kind of intertextual thriller playing on the professor's encyclopedic knowledge of classic American film history -- particularly film noir. As he learns of the various murders, he starts to realize that they are based on scenes from films he knows, and the police start to realize that he is the common ...more
Rob Kitchin
Aug 09, 2012 Rob Kitchin rated it really liked it
No Sale is a clever, literary crime novel. It is written and plotted in the style of a noir crime movie, using its stock of characters, sensibilities and tropes, and it is thoroughly intertextual in its make-up, blending together elements of dozens of movies without ever becoming a mere pastiche. Victor Cox is a wonderful character, drifting somewhere between reality and the imaginary, caught in a plot that Alfred Hitchcock would have delighted in committing to film. Whilst the resolution had no ...more
Jun 23, 2013 Andrew rated it liked it
I really want to give this 3.5 as I enjoyed the book and its 'hard boiled' 30's feel but the ultimate villain was so obvious I felt let down at the end. The premise is that a professor of film is connected to a series of murders which echo either classic fim noir killings e.g Psycho and The Big Heat or deaths of starlets from film history. The film really captures that film noir feel and has an interesting twist of madness and sexual obsession with those silent black and white movie stars like L ...more
Oct 04, 2014 Jon rated it did not like it
Jeez, Professor Conrad, you sure know a lot about American film noir.

OK, does that do it for you?

Because this strained, overlong, overly complex, wannabe thriller involving a series of murders aping those of some classic American films noirs adamantly does not do it for me. It comes off as the work of a film noir expert showing off his knowledge. To those reading it in the original Dutch, it must seem even more dismissible, although it won some sort of Dutch crime novel award.

Do yourself a favo
Laura Poynton
Jul 08, 2014 Laura Poynton rated it liked it
If you liked Suspects, the novel by the great film critic David Thomson, then you might get something from this masquerade of a crime novel. Don't get me wrong, I love movies and I love mysteries, so I should have so relished this, but it was just too clever to be enjoyable, and the character of the stunning beautiful young girl who falls for the unlikely older man was just a ludicrous wish-fulfilment fantasy by the author. Even if he tried to cop out of it at the end, the damage has been done. ...more
Aug 14, 2013 Marc rated it liked it
in het Nederlands heeft dit boek als titel Starr. De Engelse titel is eigenlijk nog beter. Merkwaardig boek. Het eerste van Conrad dat ik lees sinds ik decennia geleden een dichtbundel kocht en las van hem. Het boek is geschreven vanuit de auteur, terwijl een thriller of misdaadroman normaal vanuit de speurder of de dader geschreven wordt. Bij deze gelegenheid heeft de auteur zich gehuld in het personage van prof. Victor Cox. Het heeft niettemin een spannend boek opgeleverd. Spijtig van de twee ...more
David Bernstein
Jan 20, 2013 David Bernstein rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this thriller (another great title from Bitter Lemon Press). Well written, full of cinematographic references, not entirely what it seems on its surface, intriguing psychological twists.... Well worth four stars.
Jul 07, 2014 Kathlyn rated it liked it
A little too full of film plot references and totally predictable ending. Boring.
Aug 02, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
Very unusual book. Excellent read, particularly for movie fans.
Kestrell rated it really liked it
Jun 22, 2012
Emma Morgan
Emma Morgan rated it it was ok
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