I'm in the middle of a wonderful biography of Patricia Highsmith, "Beautiful Shadow" by Andrew Wilson. I have always liked the darkness in Highsmith's writings. My favorite titles are "The Story Teller," "This Sweet Sickness," the Ripley books, and "Strangers on a Train." There are many more interesting novels in her collection, too. What really strikes me about her writing is how much of it is based on a very dark interior life. Anybody who reads it will be rewarded with a glimpse into a writer's inner soul, where plots are based on pure attitude (and sometimes anger or even hatred) from her real self. She didn't hide her feelings, she let them show. Great book. Highly recommended to writers of all genres.

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Comment by Mark Stevens on July 12, 2007 at 11:07am

Just read The Lying Tongue and, alas, didn't really care for it as much as I hoped. I didn't get the motivation for this art history major to be a killer -- wondering if you did. But it was interesting that the book / plot / characters had many Highsmith-ian overtones, including the homo-erotic tension and bashing somebody over the head (with a rock, not a canoe paddle) when the victim least expected it.
Comment by Karen from AustCrime on July 2, 2007 at 10:38am
Excellent - well I'm now even more determined to track down the bio. The Lying Tongue is about a young man who goes to Venice and ends up working for a reclusive elderly English author who wrote one very famous book and then dropped from sight. There's something possibly sinister in the author's past, and the young man (who originally wanted to write his own novel) ends up obsessed with the idea of a biography of the writer - and hence tracking down the truth behind that past. It's just got this overall sense of creepy about it, along with a feeling that everytime you think you have the whole thing sussed - you're not quite right. I'm really enjoying it (but we all know what one person's opinion can sometimes equate with :) :) :) )
Comment by Mark Stevens on July 2, 2007 at 1:48am
Funny....I was doing a book store signing at High Crimes Mystery Book Shop in Boulder last Tuesday night and I was raving about the biography when the owner asked me if I had read his first novel. I was clueless. So, I bought it on the spot (next in cue to read). Is it Highsmith-ish in any way? Apparently quite talented. The biography is well researched and good run-through of Highsmith's work. Yes, that's him.
Comment by Karen from AustCrime on July 1, 2007 at 1:51pm
Mark - would the author the biography be the same Andrew Wilson that wrote "The Lying Tongue". Because if that's the case he certainly knows how to tell a story and I'd be inclined towards the biography simply because of him (if I wasn't already inclined because of Patricia Highsmith).

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