Monday, December 3, 2012

Conrad, Patrick: No Sale

Set in Antwerp which is a first for me, the book is about an elderly professor of film history who is the naib suspect when his alcoholic wife is found drowned.   He is released as there is no firm evidence and he falls in love with a mysterious student who has a strong resemblance to Louise Brooks and Clara Bow.   They have a year long affair during which time other murders occur, all with a firm association with thrillers of the 40s with the method of death and the name of the victim
aping a particular film.   Then the girlfriend disappears but the professor keeps this to himself until a further killing puts him back in the police limelight as all the victims turn out to have been either his
student or have some other connection to him.   The lead investigator believes he is innocent though the professor is beginning to doubt his sanity because of the links.   With the return of the girlfriend
whose disappeance was completely innocent in fact if not in his mind, the killer is unmasked.   What
is so enjoyable about the book is the repeated references to classic films noirs in short chapters with
the references adding to the action and atmosphere even when they stray past film noir into the Dirty
Harry era.   Excellent.

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