The Blank Wall, by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding

Noire crime novel set in 40's America: Lucia Holley is a wife looking after her family in while her husband is serving abroad. Her daughter gets mixed up with an unsuitable man, who is accidentally killed. Lucia comes across the body and decides she must hide it, but that turns out to lead to complications.

This was one of a set of books in an article about "forgotten classics", along with The Victorian Chaise-Longue and The Rector's Daughter. It came with a recommendation by Raymond Chandler, so I had high hopes.

The book didn't really deliver though. The atmosphere was good, and the tension did get going when Lucia became an unwitting accomplice to a second murder, and then had the police coming to interview her about the first, so there was definite scope in the plot for this being interesting. But apart from that the pace wasn't really sustained. And the motivations of the characters (not Lucia, but the others) didn't really ring true.

A worthwhile read but nothing like as good as Chandler.

Completed : 19-Mar-2011

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