By the Orange Prize-shortlisted Jill Dawson, a riveting novel that folds a brilliant portrait of Patricia Highsmith into a tale of duplicity, madness and murder.
In 1964, the eccentric American novelist Patricia Highsmith is hiding out in a cottage in Suffolk, to concentrate on her writing and escape her fans. She has another motive too - a secret romance with a married lover based in London.
Unfortunately it soon becomes clear that 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 bent on interviewing her, events take a catastrophic turn. Except, as always in Highsmith's troubled life, matters are not quite as they first appear . . .
Masterfully recreating Highsmith's much exercised fantasies of murder and madness, Jill Dawson probes the darkest reaches of the imagination in this novel - at once a brilliant portrait of a writer and an atmospheric, emotionally charged, riveting tale.
THE CRIME WRITER represents an astonishing act of literary ventriloquism, easily on a par with THE MASTER, Colm Toibin's fine novel about Henry James. - Mail on Sunday
Ventriloquy is Dawson's forte . . . this fascinating, skilfully constructed novel builds a convincing picture of Patricia Highsmith - Spectator
You do not need to be a passionate Highsmith fan to admire this beautifully written and elegant novel, but I think it will particularly appeal to those who have read her books and know something about her life; they should recognise many of the allusions and ideas - Literary Review
An ingenious concept . . . Dawson can be applauded for her passionate immersion in her subject, and for creating a novel as dark and odd as the subject herself. - Guardian
A beautifully crafted and utterly riveting blend of fact and fiction about a fascinating 20th-century figure. - Daily Mail
A dark tale of madness and murder, of obsession and delusion, that's worthy of Highsmith herself - Red magazine
[An] impeccable portrait . . . a hugely compelling read, jam-packed full of tensions and psychological insight, all beautifully observed. - Sunday Express
An assured and visceral page-turner, as convincing as it is bold - Lady
Jill Dawson is the author of the novels Trick of the Light, Magpie, Fred and Edie, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award, Wild Boy, Watch Me Disappear, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize, The Great Lover, Lucky Bunny, The Tell-Tale Heart and The Crime Writer, which won the East Anglian Book of the Year. An award-winning poet, she has also edited several poetry and short story anthologies.
Jill Dawson has held many Fellowships, including the Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia. In 2008 she founded a mentoring scheme for new writers, Gold Dust. She lives in the Cambridgeshire Fens.