by Jill Dawson

It’s 1964 and the eccentric American novelist Patricia Highsmith is hiding out in a cottage in Suffolk, England, in order to concentrate on her writing. She has other motives too - a secret romance with a married lover based in London, and her dislike of the fame and attention that has followed her since her first novel (Strangers on a Train) was made into a Hitchcock film, and her fourth, The Talented Mr Ripley was published to such acclaim. Unfortunately, it soon becomes clear that Pat is not alone: 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 who would like to interview her, events begin to turn catastrophically dark, but as always in Pat’s troubled and eventful life, perhaps things are not as they seem…

"You don’t have to know Patricia Highsmith’s work to enjoy my novel (I hope) but fans of Highsmith will enjoy spotting the references to her novels and short stories and echoes of her favorite themes in The Crime Writer as well as some events from her life. I set my novel during Highsmith’s brief period living in the UK, in a Suffolk village between 1964-7, where she was conducting a secret love affair with a married woman who lived in London.  Stalkers are a favorite theme of Highsmith’s, so I had to include one of those, too.  My favorite quote of hers is: ‘Love is a kind of madness’ - something I think she took to heart."

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