The Blank Wall: A Novel of Suspense/the Innocent Mrs. Duff : A Novel of Suspense/Two Books in One
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The Blank Wall: A Novel of Suspense/the Innocent Mrs. Duff : A Novel of Suspense/Two Books in One

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  47 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Raymond Chandler called Mrs Holding "the top suspense writer of them all." Now together in one volume, these two celebrated mysteries can be sampled by a new generation of readers. Each features a strong yet ordinary protagonist who makes a careless mistake and gets caught up in bizarre circumstances.
Paperback, 431 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Academy Chicago Publishers (first published 1946)
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Mary Ronan Drew
Wow! This book crept up on me. I was doing laundry and noticed it on the shelf, picked it up and dusted it off, and started reading. I couldn't stop. I have no idea where I got it and I had never heard of the author before.

The Innocent Mrs Duff is a psychological novel of suspense, seen from the point of view of Jacob Duff, husband of the innocent Mrs Duff, a young woman half his age whom he has recently married. Since he was a child Duff has been easily bored and he has now become bored with hi...more
Michelle
Another book I read because of a movie tie-in---The Blank Wall was the basis for the 2001 movie The Deep End, a psychological thriller featuring a wonderfully grim performance by Tilda Swinton as a mother caught up in a child's scandal while her husband is absent. The material is surprisingly fresh for a book written in the 1940s. This book led me to discover Persephone Books, a UK publisher that prints mostly "neglected" works by and about women. Too bad this book is still hard to find.
Dick Edwards
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cerealflakes
I liked both of these books. While the stories of each book were different, the themes were very similar. They were both upper crust people with servants who were worried about manners and how they appeared to those around them. They were quite concerned with keeping up appearances.

Holding's writing is quite good. With few words, she's able to set a scene and explain a lot about the characters. Both of these books would make for interesting movies, and I am surprised this hasn't been done. She's...more
Bibliophile
I think this suffered from my inflated expectations: having recently read an "appreciation" of the hitherto unknown to me Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, I thought she might be like a less well-known Vera Caspary (who's still my gold standard for women writers of noir in the 1940s! Laura the novel is even better than "Laura" the film and that's saying something.) But instead, I found these two novels kind of pedestrian, and they are supposedly Holding's best, so I'll pass on the rest.
Stven
Apr 24, 2012 Stven rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stven by: library
I've yet to read The Blank Wall, but The Innocent Mrs. Duff is good enough that I will. This peculiar story from the point of view of a man going off the deep end was nicely written and suitably lurid. I'd never heard of Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, but she has a strong narrative style and it's not difficult to see why her books would have been bestsellers.
Remy
"The Innocent Mrs. Duff" is suspense melodrama more than mystery. It was dark in an interesting way; strong Highsmithian themes- except this is from 1946, some four years before Highsmith's debut with "strangers on a train." So that was interesting. But, truth be told, I was still rather bored.
Kathleen Meehan Lorenzo
Two good stories in one - the edition I read even had one book on the flip side of the other - just like those books I had when I was a kid!

These novels (novellas?) were recommended on the Seattle Public Library blog, Shelf Talk, as great psychological thrillers. They did not disappoint!
Darrell Kastin
It was okay, but after reading everything by Chandler he's ruined me for a lot of fiction written during that era. It's not fair to compare, but although it was an enjoyable read, everything seems a bit pale after Chandler.
Beth
Hello, brilliant interior monologues! Thanks to Sarah Weinman (Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives) for reviving my favorite genre ever. If you like this, also try Charlotte Armstrong and Margaret Millar.
Jeremy
Superb! These novels must be given a new generation of readers a thrill. Hopefull Holding's increased presence in print will be acknowledged on a greater level of American literature.
Rosie
easy read

two books in one

CJ - Drop Dead Cute
Favorite was The Blank Wall.
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Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (1889-1955) was born and brought up in New York and educated at Miss Whitcombe's and other schools for young ladies. In 1913 she married George Holding, a British diplomat. They had two daughters and lived in various South American countries, and then in Bermuda, where her husband was a government official. Elisabeth Sanxay Holding wrote six romantic novels in the 1920s bu...more
More about Elisabeth Sanxay Holding...
The Blank Wall The Innocent Mrs. Duff . The Death Wish: Net Of Cobwebs The Old Battle Ax / Dark Power Lady Killer

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