Patricia Highsmith, author of Strangers On a Train, The Talented Mr.Ripley, Found In The Street, and many other books, is known as one of the finest suspense novelists. In this book, she analyzes the key elements of suspense fiction, drawing upon her own experience in four decades as a working writer. She talks about, among other topics; how to develop a complete story from an idea; what makes a plot gripping; the use (and abuse) of coincidence; characterization and the "likeable criminal"; going from first draft to final draft; and writing the suspense short story.
Throughout the book, Highsmith illustrates her points with plentiful examples from her own work, and by discussing her own inspirations, false starts, dead ends, successes, and failures, she presents a lively and highly readable picture of the novelist at work.
Anyone who wishes to write crime and suspense fiction, or who enjoys reading it, will find this book an insightful guide to the craft and art of a modern master.
The great mystery/suspense writer Patricia Highsmith published more than two dozen works of fiction, as well as numerous reviews and essays, and was awarded the French Grand Prix de Littérature Policière (1957) and the British Crime Writers Associations's Silver Dagger (1964).
“[This book offers] sensible, good-humored, and practical advice from a distinguished mystery writer. Much of what [Highsmith] says about novels can be applied to short stories.” —Damon Knight
“[Highsmith] is no more a practitioner of the murder mystery genre than are Dostoevsky, Faulkner, and Camus.” —Joan Smith, The Los Angeles Times
“For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there's no one like Patricia Highsmith.” —Time