by Robert Smyth Hichens
I picked this book up from an op (charity) shop quite some time ago. I was surprised it wasn’t available as a kindle, especially as Hitchcock made this book into a film with the same name.
I’m no longer surprised
For one thing, at over 500 pages, this book is very long – & for the first 300 pages, very slow moving. Minute details are repeated endlessly.
Jewishness of some characters was repeated endlessly – I mean what are Jewish shoulders?
Accused poisoner Ingrid Paradine is probably meant to be enigmatic, but for most of the book her character comes across as…well she doesn’t have much character. Or personality. Her barrister, Sir Malcolm Keane’s infatuation can be partly explained by Ingrid’s resemblance to the wife Keane had previously adored (after all many of us go for the same type time after time.) & Keane will sacrifice everything & everyone for this blank doll…
Most people would have given up. I have no idea why I didn’t. But as slow moving as this book was, it was well written, with very vivid descriptions of the different scenes. It certainly reminded me of the old black & white movies I used to watch with my Mum on Sunday afternoons. But the last two hundred pages may have been melodramatic, but they were totally gripping – I had several ideas in my head how it was going to turn out – & they were all wrong!
For the patient reader.