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On a Caribbean cruise with her older husband, Honey is convinced that the man in the next cabin plans to murder his wife. But why wouldn't anyone believe her? And why has her own husband turned against her?
Paperback, 156 pages
Published May 8th 2013 by Black Curtain Press
(first published March 5th 2013)
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This is a delightful fast read and such a glorious period piece. It seems like every noir writer working in the 40s had to write a twisted thriller set on board a cruise ship, which leads me to believe that they all let themselves get talked into cruising out of New York and down to the tropics in the winter, found themselves bored and in a bit of a constant dark drunk stupor, and invented bizarre murder plots set on cruise ships and tropical islands to keep themselves amused.
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I always enjoy Elizabeth Sanxay Holding's novels, but Lady Killer is one of her best. The title and cover are wildly misleading in this case, though. Rather than being a hardboileld detective novel, this is a slow, quiet, and tense thriller about a young woman, Honey, trying to deal with the restrictions placed upon her by her role in society. There is murder, and there is mystery, but all of it is secondary to Honey's attempt to create an identity for herself. On those terms, it's really excell ...more
Raymond Chandler was right to gush over Holding; wow. She makes it all look so easy. For psychological mystery the choice of narrative voice is primary. Honey Stapleton is perfect. A former chorus girl who’s spent her life so far focused on maximising the power of her surface, she eschews the need to look very deeply at others, though she imagines herself to be a good judge of character. Her new husband — chosen for his ability to provide her stability and a certain cultural cachet, and not for ...more
Feb 27, 2015 Huw rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of pulp fiction
Elisabeth Sanxay Holding’s Lady Killer is a nicely paced piece of pulp fiction. While the murder mystery itself isn’t the most inventive in the world, what’s interesting here is the psychological state of the main character, Honey Stapleton, a socialite who has married into money, but trapped in a loveless relationship with a weak and shallow man. Honey becomes obsessed with the seemingly doomed Alma Lashelle, who exhibits a few nasty traits of her own. There are a few twists in this tale, set o ...more
Loved it to bits. The descriptions are wonderful, the mood is super-noir and suspenseful, and the plot twist at the end isn't obvious from the beginning. The ending is properly ambiguous, and - the best element of noir - the solving of the crime is the least important aspect. My only complaint was that this was a print-on-demand edition, and there were many typos and sometimes lines of dialogue from character A were added onto character B's actions, so you had to do a bit of deductive reasoning ...more
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 ...moreMore about Elisabeth Sanxay Holding...