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Beast in view

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  243 ratings  ·  50 reviews
A psychological thriller by a mistress of suspense at the top of her form and 1956 winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award.

What starts with a crank call from an old school chum sets the lonely, aloof, financially comfortable Miss Helen Clarvoe on a path as predictable only as madness. Lured from her rooms in a second-rate residential Hollywood hotel, she finds herself stranded
160 pages
Published July 29th 1993 by Penguin (first published 1955)
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A gripping and unsettling thriller that's brilliantly written.

Margaret Millar was the wife of Ross MacDonald. What a talented couple! This is considered to be her masterpiece, winning the Edgar Award over another wonderful literary thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley and finding a place in Crime and Mystery: The 100 Best Books as chosen by H.R.F. Keating amongst other similar lists.

Helen Carvoe receives a crank call, with the help of her semi-retired stockbroker cajoled in to working as a reluctant
Nancy Oakes
Like a 3.75 rounded up. My first, but not last, novel by Margaret Millar, Beast in View is really more of a story of psychological suspense rather than a full-blown crime novel, set in Southern California of the 1950s.

Helen Clarvoe, a young woman now 30, lives alone in a small hotel in Hollywood. Her mother, with whom she only rarely communicates by mail, lives six miles away with her brother Douglas. Helen lived there in a self-imposed isolation from the rest of the world, "behind her wall of m
Don't let the quaint 1950s setting and dated social attitudes mislead you. This is a first-rate psychological suspense mystery. Devastating climax helps to make it MM's masterpiece. Won the Edgar in 1956.
This psychological novel must have seemed very new and shocking at the time it was written, but feels quite old hat now. Another book with truly unengaging characters, it was the third winner of the Edgar for Best Novel. It took me 6 weeks to get through this rather short book, as it was a distasteful subject and (once again) not a
classic detective story. I would term it a psychological thriller.
Helen Clarvoe, a wealthy recluse although she is only 30-ish, calls her attorney to report that she
Bev Hankins
Beast in View is a suspenseful psychological thriller by Margaret Millar. Winner of the 1956 Edgar Award for Best Novel and also named one of the Top 100 Mystery Novels of All Time by the Mystery Writers of America, the novel may be a bit dated in its views of homosexuality and use certain psychological terms but it still packs quite a punch.

At thirty, Helen Clarvoe may be rich but she is lonely. Her only visitors are the staff at the hotel where she lives and her only phone calls come from a st
After that disappointing Vargas experience, I was very pleased to have read Millar’s book that same day I checked it out of the library. I came to this book, published in 1955, after having read an article about “Gone Girl”, by G. Flynn. It had been out of print for some time, but it seems to be back. It is a psychological thriller written in the likes of Highsmith and Rendell. The ambiance is definitely 1950s LA, which I really enjoyed; and do I dare mention there is something about this book t ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
This seems to be my season for reading about fragmented and disintegrating personalities. An isolated, neurotic woman starts receiving nasty phone calls from a mysterious stranger. As more people start to receive these calls, always containing information, true or false, that has a devastating impact on their lives, it turns out that the caller is no stranger at all. How little of a stranger she is becomes clear only as the story reaches its perfectly-pitched climax. Millar's writing is impeccab ...more
Sherry Schwabacher
I was twelve when this book was first published. It is so easy to forget how different the world felt to women, gays, African-Americans back then. If you wonder if we are making any social progress, read this. Millar was known for the psychological depth of her books and the plot of Beast in View certainly plays that up. You may find yourself shaking your head, wondering "How can they think that way?" Well, remember, they really did!
Dated, but who gives a ship. This was a thorny, garish little novel with a dark dark heart, and worth it for that astonishing last line alone.
Aaron Martz
As I was reading this I was thinking what a good movie Alfred Hitchcock would have made of it. Turns out it was adapted for his TV show. That is fitting. Millar's writing is concise and very cinematic and her characterizations of the upper class Clarvoe family reminded me of the Glass family from Salinger's stories. The opening chapter is creepy, instantly suspenseful, and the continual shifts in perspective and sudden shocking deaths keep you off balance throughout, but what sticks with you lon ...more
What a delicious little suspense! Helen Clarvoe is a wealthy LA spinster with few friends and a solitary life. She contacts her attorney, widower Paul Blackshear after receiving disturbing phone call from her former sister in law. She has made an enemy. Paul investigates, combing through information until he, and we, arrive at the truth. When he does, and the darkness is revealed we are horrified to knows the truth of the matter. This book will stun you. Written in 1962, author Margaret Millar w ...more
I usually trust the Crime Masterworks series but I can honestly say this is one of the worst books I've ever read. It's a complete mess that blunders along in an extremely poorly written and boring fashion to an obvious conclusion. I didn't believe a word of it; found the characters and situation unengaging; and the author's persistence in changing POV throughout the book undermined what little plot there was to be had. In my opinion, if it had been written entirely from the main character's per ...more
Phillip Thurlby
An absolute masterpiece, they should stick this in some sort of series of masterpieces of crime...

...oh yeah - "Crime Masterworks" - they did it already.

So not surprisingly this was a brilliant work. It was deeply dark in a elegantly sinister way that not so much stabs you in the back but convinces you that you need to stab yourself in the back. The perpetrator leaves no evidence and does nothing criminal but drives their victims to destruction in such a way as to make the evil undeniable.

The ra
Βρήκα την Ιταλική έκδοση του βιβλίου της Margaret Millar Beast in view τυχαία σε μια μικρή καφετέρια δίπλα από το αεροδρόμιο Μυκόνου. Μέσα στα πολλά βιβλία βρήκα και αυτό και για να πω την αλήθεια αν δεν ήταν για το έντονο κίτρινο εξώφυλλο δεν θα το είχα ξεχωρίσει. Ξεκίνησα να το διαβάζω στο αεροπλάνο και αμέσως με συνεπήρε. Το πρώτο στην ουσία βιβλίο μυστηρίου που διάβασα διότι πιο πριν κακώς σνόμπαρα το είδος. Η Κα. Μίλαρ πλάθει μια όμορφη ιστορία με ανθρώπους που μπορούν κάλλιστα να είναι φίλ ...more
Jul 26, 2012 rabbitprincess rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of psychological thrillers or Ross Macdonald
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: Top 100 list
Helen Clarvoe picks up the phone one day and finds a mysterious caller at the other end: someone claiming to be a school friend of hers, whom she had long since stopped thinking about. The friend happens to have an unnerving way of poking at people's deepest insecurities, saying just the right thing to drive them to despair. And she seems to be leaving a trail of devastation in her wake… can she be stopped before too many lives are ruined?

I really liked the writing in this book. Margaret Millar
Colleen Venable
Bought it entirely on a whim after falling in love with the original cover. 75 cents on ebay later and it was MINE! Unfortunately when it arrived from ebay it was a horrible 80's painting instead of a woman starring blandly out a window with a half smirk like she has gas and not some horrible problem/secret. (Well I guess if the gas is bad enough that COULD count, but still, not exactly the thriller I was hoping for.) If I had to give stars for the writin ...more
Oct 21, 2010 Philip rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ruth Rendell fans.
It’s on page 223 of BEAST IN VIEW [the original Random House edition] that the title is used in a phrase, in a paragraph which continues from the previous page, and we begin to be certain of what’s been going on. As with any good mystery/suspense novel, we known that the clues have been there all along:

". . . Only one face stood out among the others, pale, composed, half-smiling. Evelyn Merrick. She was standing in the shadowed doorway of a small TV repair shop, leaning idly against the plate-gl
Ant Harrison
Beast in View is a gripping psychological thriller by the largely forgotten American author Margaret Millar. Published in the mid-1960s it tells the story of Helen Clarvoe and her pursuit by her former best friend Evelyn. There's a lot of personal history between these two ex-friends, primarily because Helen's always been in Evelyn's shadow and it's this that eventually unlocks the mystery of her stalker.

Millar shows a real skill in creating a relatively small cast of characters and teasing out
An intriguing and highly readable novella with a nice touch of sexual deviancy is completely undermined by its shock-denouement feeling a little 'old hat'. About a third of the way in I started to realize the outcome and it soon became blindingly obvious. From this point on it was a bit of a chore to finish the book so that by the time of the 'big reveal' I was thinking "ho-hum..."
Very much of it's time in it's portrayal of gays and lesbians - weak suicidal homos and twisted predatory dykes. Bu
Jul 08, 2010 Judy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery fans

The Edgar winner for 1956 is an intersection of the mystery genre and Freudian ideas. One of the characters has a split personality, called schizophrenia in the 1950s but now called multiple personality disorder. The mystery comes into play because the reader does not know until the end which character is afflicted. According to the author's bio, she made an extensive study of psychiatry as part of her education.

The writing is mediocre and the story gets off to a slow start. But homosexuality
Shane Malcolm
This deserves high marks based on the writing alone. Superb characterization and pacing, particularly for such a short novel. I wish I could give half stars, as this would rate 3.5. I can't wait to read more by Millar, although this is considered her masterpiece.
Not great. Very dated. Writing is stilted. Characters are one-dimensional (though this is something of a paradox). This is a book of the 1950s. The ending has an interesting twist, but it doesn't fix what's wrong with the rest of the book.
David Rickert
This book is now dated, as many people mentioned - a very '50s treatment of the topic of homosexuality along with some psychological content that was probably in style at the time. I will say that I didn't see the end coming (I guessed a completely different solution) but I wasn't really pulled along by it. I did enjoy that each chapter begins with a different character in a different scene, making the beginning of each chapter a little bewildering as you find your bearings. It's interesting tha ...more
Pretty good noir. I'm not a connoisseur of the genre but it seemed less tramlined than most of the (male authored) ones I've read.
Julia Alberino
Some books on this topic are really gripping. This one can be summed up in one word: creepy.
A noir-ish psychological thriller set in 1950s LA and Hollywood about mental illness and a woman spiralling out of control. It's full of appropriately seedy settings and people--bars, a second-rate hotel, drunken telephone operators, artists, publicity-hungry nude models, photographers in sordid studios shooting dirty pictures, sexual hangups, superannuated trophy wives--everything you need. I brought this in to read while I proctored an exam and I had it almost finished by the time the exam was ...more
No idea how this ended up on my book shelf as I don't recall buying it or being given it, but still having found it here recently I thought I'd give it a go. The first 30 or 40 pages nothing much happened in a very old fashioned way before suddenly it opened out into a very cool little story that is far more modern than I was expecting as it concerns stalking by Phone and bi-polar rages and some homophobic murders which wasn't what I was expecting. a far better second half.
Excellent thriller. Read it in one sitting.
The Wee Hen
Not a bad little mystery novel. Started out very promising but then kind of fell apart in the middle when the "detective" decided he was in love with the protagonist and I was never sure why. There was a surprise "twist" at the end which didn't get very well explained and frankly, I'm not sure really held up when I thought about it. I liked the tone of the book and have more Margaret Millar coming from the library so I will probably give her another shot.
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Margaret Ellis Millar (née Sturm) was an American-Canadian mystery and suspense writer. Born in Kitchener, Ontario, she was educated there and in Toronto. She moved to the United States after marrying Kenneth Millar (better known under the pen name Ross Macdonald). They resided for decades in the city of Santa Barbara, which was often utilized as a locale in her later novels under the pseudonyms o ...more
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