Patricia Highsmith discussion

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Intelligent suspense

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message 1: by Kathy-Diane (new)

Kathy-Diane I find it so hard to find intelligent suspense novels out there. That's why I've always loved Patricia Highsmith. The characters have such depth, and the villians are often sympathetic, even anti-heroes. It makes the story so much more interesting that just a straight forward who-done-it. Has anyone read any good intelligent suspense novels lately that meet this standard?

Kathy-Diane
Author of LET THE SHADOWS FALL BEHIND YOU
http://kathy-dianeleveille.com


message 2: by J. (new)

J. | 14 comments Agree about current mysteries. There was really something groundbreaking and original about the Highsmith body of work.... The plot developments feel so natural, but the relationships almost baroque, and the criminal aspects frighteningly modern. How many years before "Identity Theft" came into view had PH pre-visualized it, by writing the elaborate Talented Mr. Ripley ?

In another century, Highsmith would've been Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, author of Dangerous Liasons, the psychological suspense tour de force. Both authors share a certain diabolical insight, unfettered by gender and societal stereotypes.

While there isn't much groundbreaking left these days, for me, the spiritual daughter of Patricia Highsmith is Ruth Rendell, who, unsurprisingly, actually sought to emulate Highsmith in the early going. Rendell isn't setting up new paradigms, but is content to rearrange the elements & reprise the classic setups of the psychological mystery-suspense, each time out a little more excrutiatingly... and very well indeed.

I think you want to go with the non-series-detective ones, just to see the way Rendell designs a complete world in each one without relying on the reader knowing the investigators, the locale, etc from the previous series outings. Heartily recommended :

Talking To Strange Men
Going Wrong
The Bridesmaid
Adam And Eve And Pinch Me
Thirteen Steps Down


Have fun, J.





message 3: by Kathy-Diane (new)

Kathy-Diane Thanks J! That's a great list. I'll tuck it in my bag for the second-hand bookstore.

Kathy-Diane
Author of LET THE SHADOWS FALL BEHIND YOU
http://kathy-dianelevelle.com


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