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Review: The Blank Wall, by Elizabeth Sanxay Holding

Pages: 231
Original date of publication: 1947
My edition: 2003 (Persephone)
Why I decided to read:
How I acquired my copy: the Persephone shop, September 2011

Lucia Holley is a middle-aged housewife, living somewhere in America during WWII. Her husband is away, and she is raising her two teenaged children on the homefront. After her daughter begins dating an unattractive, married man who then turns up dead, Lucia inadvertently becomes involved in the crime when she attempts to cover it up in order to protect the person she thinks killed the boyfriend.

Holding wrote this novel at around the same time that Patricia Highsmith was writing The Talented Mr. Ripley series; and while The Blank Wall isn’t quite as suspenseful as Highsmith’s books, it belongs to the same school of psychological suspense novels. The plot moves quickly, and Holding doesn’t waste her words in order to convey the tension of the plot. The reader really feels Lucia’s inner struggle as she tries to cover up the crime and carry on as usual. It’s interesting that once people start to notice her odd behavior, the attribute it to the completely wrong reasons—but they make complete sense to the people around Lucia because the truth is so bizarre! In that way, I thought this book was well-written.

I was disappointed, however, with the ending of the book, since things seemed to go on as usual without any kind of consequences. I definitely think the ending could have been improved upon. Also, the story line with the mysterious Donnelly is kind of predictable (but sad). A good book, but not my favorite Persephone.
This is Persephone No. 42.


Hyacinth Marius said…
Loved this mystery which had twists and turns .
The golden age of the detective novel.
Beautifully written .

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