Patricia Highsmith - Mermaids on the Golf Course - Little, Brown Book Group

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Mermaids on the Golf Course

A Virago Modern Classic

By Patricia Highsmith

  • E-Book
  • £P.O.R.

In this collection of stories, Patricia Highsmith reveals the chilling reality behind the idyllic facade of American suburban life.

'One of the exhilarating effects of reading Highsmith's stories . . . is their surehandednes, their amazing breadth and abundance . . . they compel attention and they add significantly to her already formidable presence' Washington Post

The stories collected in Mermaids on the Golf Course, first published in 1985, are among Patricia Highsmith's most mature, psychologically penetrating works. Published in the latter part of her career, these stories reveal Highsmith's mastery of the short story form. Moving between locales as various as France, Mexico, Zurich, and New York, Highsmith transforms the mundane features of everyday life into an eerie backdrop for her penetrating stories of violence, secrecy, and madness. In 'The Stuff of Madness', Christopher Waggoner, increasingly dismayed by his wife's habit of preserving dead pets in their garden, enacts a devious revenge by adding a bizarre new exhibit to their collection; in the title story, a eminent economist's brush with death endows his once-familiar desires with tragic consequences; and in 'A Shot from Nowhere', a young painter who witnesses a gruesome death on a vacant Mexican Street becomes trapped in an unimaginable nightmare. In these piercing stories, Highsmith creates a world all the more frightening because we recognise it as our own.

Biographical Notes

Patricia Highsmith (1921-1995) was born in Fort Worth, Texas. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, was made into a classic film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. The Talented Mr Ripley, published in 1955, introduced the fascinating anti-hero Tom Ripley, and was made into an Oscar-winning film in 1999 by Anthony Minghella. Graham Greene called Patricia Highsmith 'the poet of apprehension', saying that she 'created a world of her own - a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger'. Patricia Highsmith died in Locarno, Switzerland, in February 1995. Her last novel, Small g: A Summer Idyll, was published posthumously, the same year.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9780349004754
  • Publication date: 06 Mar 2014
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Virago
Virago

Strangers on a Train

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

The classic thriller behind the Hitchcock film, and Highsmith's first novel - soon to be remade by David Fincher, director of Gone Girl, with a screenplay by Gillian Flynn.The psychologists would call it folie a deux . . .'Bruno slammed his palms together. "Hey! Cheeses, what an idea! I kill your wife and you kill my father! We meet on a train, see, and nobody knows we know each other! Perfect alibis! Catch?'''From this moment, almost against his conscious will, Guy Haines is trapped in a nightmare of shared guilt and an insidious merging of personalities.'The No.1 Greatest Crime Writer' The Times

Sphere

Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

Named by The Times as the all-time number one crime writer, Patricia Highsmith was an author who broke new ground and defied genre clichés with novels such as The Talented Mr Ripley and Strangers on a Train.In the classic creative writing guide Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction, Highsmith reveals her secrets for producing world-class crime and thrillers, from imaginative tips for generating ideas to useful ways of turning them into stunning stories.

Virago

The Two Faces of January

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

This Sweet Sickness

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

Too much love can be a bad thing.'Highsmith was every bit as deviant and quirky as her mischievous heroes, and didn't seem to mind if everyone knew it' J. G. Ballard, Daily TelegraphDavid Kelsey has an invincible conviction that life is going to work out just as he has planned it - if he can just fix 'the situation'. His one true love, the brilliant, beautiful Annabelle, has married another man. But that doesn't mean they can't still be friends. And even though she is pregnant with her husband Gerald's baby, that surely doesn't mean she won't one day get back together with David. She still loves him, of that he is certain. David is sure she'll take him back, and, under an alias, is setting up a wonderful home for the two of them in a town close by. And everything is just about going to plan until things take a murderous turn, leaving David a desperate man on the run.

Virago

People Who Knock on the Door

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

People Who Knock on the Door, is a tale about blind faith and the slippery notion of justice that lies beneath the peculiarly American veneer of righteousness.'A border zone of the macabre, the disturbing, the not quite accidental . . . Highsmith achieves the effect of the occult without any resources to supernatural machinery' New York Times Book ReviewIn a pitiless story of prying suburban self-righteousness, Patricia Highsmith introduces the Alderman family as they descend into moral crisis. When small-town insurance salesman Richard Alderman becomes a born-again Christian, his once tight-knit family quickly begins to rip apart at the seams. He and his youngest son, Robbie, embrace their newfound faith, while his elder son Arthur rejects it. Caught in the middle of the ensuing web of lies, his wife, Lois, tries to keep the family together, but when the church elders start to interfere in Arthur's love life, events spiral toward violence. In this masterful late work, Highsmith weaves a powerful tale about blind faith and the peculiar ideas of justice that lie underneath the veneer of respectability.

Virago

Small g: A Summer Idyll

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

Completed just months before Patricia Highsmith's death in 1995, Small g explores the labyrinthine intricacies of passion, sexuality, and jealousy in a charming tale of love misdirected.'What is most remarkable in this novel is the empathy . . . with which Highsmith writes about gay men . . . one can imagine the small g existing, a piquant mixture of bohemianism and respectability, exactly as Highsmith describes it' Francis King, SpectatorAt the 'small g', a Zurich bar known for its not exclusively gay clientele, the lives of a small community are played out one summer.Rickie Markwalder is a designer whose lover Petey was brutally murdered. Rickie and his performing dog Lulu are regulars at the bar, as are vindictive Renate, a seamstress, and her teenage apprentice Luisa. Into their lives comes Teddie, impressionable and beautiful, and a catalyst for the series of events that will change everything.Patricia Highsmith's final novel is an intricate exploration of love and sexuality, the depths of spite and the triumph of human kindness. It is a work that, in the tradition of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, shows us how bizarre and unpredictable love can be. Small g, in the words of her biographer Andrew Wilson, is an 'extended fairy tale suggesting that...happiness is precarious and...romance should be embraced.'

Virago

Found in the Street

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

A Dog's Ransom

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

'Highsmith is a giant of the genre. The original, the best, the gloriously twisted Queen of Suspense' Mark Billingham'Dear Sir, I suppose you are pretty pleased with yourself? Superior to everyone, you think. A fancy apartment and a snob dog. You are a disgusting little machine, nothing else. Your days are numbered.'Ed Reynolds, an editor at a prestigious publishing house, has received a number of anonymous poison pen letters. He has no idea who could bear him such a grudge. Returning home one night, he finds a ransom note for his wife's beloved French poodle: 'I have your dog Lisa. She is well and happy . . . I gather the dog is important to you? We'll see!' The criminal has hit the Manhattan couple where it hurts most. And so, with this bizarre event, their nightmare begins. A Dog's Ransom captures the fragility of middle-class life in this riveting, scathing tale.

Virago

A Game for the Living

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

The Boy Who Followed Ripley

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

The continuing adventures of Ripley, played by Matt Damon in The Talented Mr Ripley.When a troubled young runaway arrives on Tom Ripley's French estate, he is drawn into a world he thought he'd left behind: the seedy underworld of Berlin, involving kidnapping plots, lies and deception. Ripley becomes the boy's protector as friendship develops between the young man with a guilty conscience and the older one with no conscience at all.The Boy Who Followed Ripley is followed by Ripley Under Water.

Virago

Deep Water

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

Contains an interview with Gillian Flynn.To everyone around them, Melinda and Vic Van Allen are the perfect couple - young, wealthy and attractive. But when their love sours, their mind games reach a twisted, dangerous climax.'If I really don't like somebody, I kill him . . . You remember Malcolm McRae, don't you?'Melinda Van Allen is beautiful, headstrong and sexy. Unfortunately for Vic Van Allen, she is his wife. Their love has soured, and Melinda takes pleasure in flaunting her many affairs to her husband. When one of her lovers is murdered, Vic hints to her latest conquest that he was responsible. As rumours spread about Vic's vicious streak, fiction and reality start to converge. It's only a matter of time before Vic really does have blood on his hands.

Virago

The Tremor of Forgery

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

A gripping novel that explores the shifting sands of moral values - is murder still murder when committed in a lawless place?'Highsmith is the poet of apprehension rather than fear . . . Highsmith's finest novel to my mind is The Tremor of Forgery, and if I were asked what it is about I would reply, "apprehension"' Graham GreeneHoward Ingham finds it strange that no one has written to him since he arrived in Tunisia - neither the film director that he is supposed to be meeting in Tunis, nor his lover in New York who is, he hopes, missing him. While he waits around at a beach resort, unable to progress on the film script he is there to write, he starts work on a new novel, about a man living an amoral double life. Howard also befriends a fellow American who has a taste for Scotch and a suspicious interest in the Soviet Union, and a Dane who appears to distrust Arabs intensely. When bad news finally arrives from home, Howard thinks he may as well stay and continue writing, despite the tremors in the air of violence, tensions and ambiguous morals.

Virago

The Blunderer

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

Edith's Diary

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

Little Tales of Misogyny

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

A Suspension of Mercy

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

Those Who Walk Away

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

'The setting is Venice, the characterisation brilliant, the syle spare and superb' Daily MailThe honeymoon is over; the bride dead by her own hand. Ray Garrett, the grieving husband, convinces the police in Rome of his innocence, but not his father-in-law, Ed Coleman, who shoots him at point-blank range and leaves him for dead. Ray survives and follows Coleman to Venice, where the two fall into an eerie game of cat-and-mouse - Coleman obsessed with vengeance and Ray determined to save his reputation, and himself. Each is at once the hunter and the hunted in a tense duel that, as each manages to walk away, draws them nearer to death.

Virago

The Glass Cell

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

'The Glass Cell has lost little of its disturbing power . . . Highsmith was a genuine one-off, and her books will haunt you' Daily TelegraphPhilip Carter has spent six years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. On his release his beautiful wife is waiting for him. He has never had any reason to doubt her. Nor their friend, Sullivan. Carter has never been suspicious, or violent. But prison can change a man.In 1961, Patricia Highsmith received a fan letter from a prison inmate. A correspondence ensued and Highsmith became fascinated with the psychological traumas that incarceration can inflict.

Virago

The Animal Lover's Book of Beastly Murder

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith
Virago

Tales of Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes

Patricia Highsmith
Authors:
Patricia Highsmith

'Master storyteller Highsmith offers an eerily up-to-date collection of modern horror tales' Publishers WeeklyPatricia Highsmith, an American who lived most of her life in Europe, was the author of such bestselling crime novels as Strangers on a Train, and The Talented Mr. Ripley. The stories collected here are classic Highsmith - eerie, prescient and chilling, catastrophes caused by human error and dark motives. Whether evoking the White House under siege by the homeless or a 190-year-old woman perpetually near death and dimly glowing, each tale refuses to release you from its tense grip.