Thursday, June 09, 2011


A Game For the Living, Patricia Highsmith, Harper and Brothers, 1958, 282 pp

Two friends love the same woman. Ramon is a local Mexican, rather poor, devout Catholic. He mends furniture for a living. Theodore is a wealthy German painter, also lives in Mexico and is of no religious belief. They both love Lelia, also a painter, and became friends because of her. In fact they have amiably shared her as a lover for several years. When she is found murdered and mutilated, the friendship sours due to each man's suspicion of the other.

While the mystery of Lelia's death is being solved, Highsmith takes the opportunity to explore friendship, religious belief, and art in a unique story. Some of the interaction between Ramon and Theodore feels strained and often causes the plot to drag but the resolution of who committed the murder and of the friendship makes for some great final scenes.

There is no one quite like Highsmith. She seems to have an unlimited store of tales.

(A Game For the Living is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

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