The Crime Writer
By Jill Dawson
By the Orange Prize-shortlisted Jill Dawson, a riveting novel that folds a brilliant portrait of Patricia Highsmith into a tale of duplicity, madness and murder.
In 1964, the eccentric American novelist Patricia Highsmith is hiding out in a cottage in Suffolk, to concentrate on her writing and escape her fans. She has another motive too - a secret romance with a married lover based in London.
Unfortunately it soon becomes clear that all her demons have come with her. Prowlers, sexual obsessives, frauds, imposters, suicides and murderers: the tropes of her fictions clamour for her attention, rudely intruding on her peaceful Suffolk retreat. After the arrival of Ginny, an enigmatic young journalist bent on interviewing her, events take a catastrophic turn. Except, as always in Highsmith's troubled life, matters are not quite as they first appear . . .
Masterfully recreating Highsmith's much exercised fantasies of murder and madness, Jill Dawson probes the darkest reaches of the imagination in this novel - at once a brilliant portrait of a writer and an atmospheric, emotionally charged, riveting tale.
Jill Dawson is the author of Trick of the Light, Magpie, Fred and Edie, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award and the Orange Prize, Wild Boy, Watch Me Disappear, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize, The Great Lover, a Richard and Judy Summer Read in 2009, Lucky Bunny and The Tell-Tale Heart. In addition she has edited six anthologies of short stories and poetry.
Born in Durham, Jill Dawson grew up in Yorkshire. She has held many Fellowships, including the Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia, where she taught on the MA in Creative Writing course. In 2006 she received an honorary doctorate in recognition of her work. She lives in the Fens with her husband, two sons and foster daughter.
- Other details
- Publication date:
02 Jun 2016
- Page count:
It's brilliant — Paula Hawkins
THE CRIME WRITER represents an astonishing act of literary ventriloquism, easily on a par with THE MASTER, Colm Tóibín's fine novel about Henry James. — Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday
Ventriloquy is Dawson's forte . . . this fascinating, skilfully constructed novel builds a convincing picture of Patricia Highsmith — Andrew Taylor, Spectator
You do not need to be a passionate Highsmith fan to admire this beautifully written and elegant novel, but I think it will particularly appeal to those who have read her books and know something about her life; they should recognise many of the allusions and ideas — Jessica Mann, Literary Review
An ingenious concept . . . Dawson can be applauded for her passionate immersion in her subject, and for creating a novel as dark and odd as the subject herself. — Joanna Briscoe, Guardian
A beautifully crafted and utterly riveting blend of fact and fiction about a fascinating 20th-century figure. — Carla McKay, Daily Mail
Dawson has drawn a witty, creepy plot as well as a convincing character sketch of a woman all too easy to caricature — Jake Kerridge, Daily Telegraph
Dawson skilfully constructs a dark tale that Highsmith fans will love — Nick Rennison, Sunday Times
A dark tale of madness and murder, of obsession and delusion, that's worthy of Highsmith herself — Sarra Manning, Red
An assured and visceral page-turner, as convincing as it is bold — Stephanie Cross, Lady
An intoxicating, shadowy narrative . . . [Dawson's] imagined version of events will delight Highsmith's fans — Crime Scene magazine
Fantastically moody and appealingly unhinged - a piece of sophisticated literary ventriloquism that achieves a wonderful blurring of the lines between fact and fantasy. — Sarah Waters, Summer Reads, Guardian
[An] impeccable portrait . . . a hugely compelling read, jam-packed full of tensions and psychological insight, all beautifully observed. — Eithne Farry, Sunday Express