The Crime Writer, then, works as its own double agent, in a fond nod to Highsmith’s partiality to the identity switch. One reading finds a straightforward suspense story stacked with deliciously unlikeable people and rife with period detail; another offers a fascinating fictive stroll into the mind of a writer who veers off the path of invention on to one of action. After all, as Pat muses, murder isn’t always murder. “Sometimes we dress people up in certain clothes and outfits, soldiers, executioners, abortionists, and say: It’s OK for you to take a life.

‘A novel with the perspicacity of the work that inspired it, The Crime Writer is an homage wholly deserving of a credit all its own.’

– Stephanie Jones New Zealand book review

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