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Blunderer Paperback – Nov 29 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton; Reprint edition (Nov. 29 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393322440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393322446
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14.1 x 1.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #221,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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The man in dark-blue slacks and a forest-green sportshirt waited impatiently in the line. Read the first page
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Format: Paperback
The story starts right at the beginning with a murder, Kimmel kills his wife near a bus stop on the highway. There's a second case of death, the one of Clara, Walter's wife, is very similar to the first one, but it isn't Walter who has killed his wife. The whole story around it causes a lot of tension through the whole investigation of the inspector called Corby. His suspicion and his in parts wrong accusations increase the tension more and more.
Gradually Walter loses nearly all his friends and the permanent inquiries of Corby make them believe that he has killed his wife.
You then hope the clever (but brutal) inspector Corby will find out the truth about Clara's death - but instead of the Kimmel, the second suspect, kills Walter. So the end does not satisfy me.
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By A Customer on June 15 2004
Format: Paperback
The idea with the man imaginary imitating the murderer he reads in the newspaper is quite original. Also his struggle with the police officer who thinks he's guilty is nice. But after a while the book gets a bit boring und predictable. The writer seems to get out of ideas. The end is surprising but not very enlightening and does not grade up the story.
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Format: Paperback
It's so fascinating most of the way through, but the ending is a bit of a blunder.
The book opens with murder; a woman is lured into the woods after dismounting from a bus that is making a brief stop on a long trip. The murderer would appear to be a husband, or lover, arguing with his intended victim right up til the last. Then, the story jumps to sometime later, when the murder depicted has become just an unsolved crime in the "Forgotten" bin. Enter Walter and his hectoring wife, Clara. Their tumultous relationship has reached what looks to be the final stages of bickering, accusing, and total disrespect. But Clara won't let Walter go. No easy divorce here, because when Walter tries to leave, Clara does a moany about-face and acts(?) suicidal to keep Walter from abandoning her. Walter, meanwhile, gets intrigued by Melchior Kimmel, husband of the murder victim at the beginning of the book. Kimmel walks free, but Walter's casual reading of the case convinces him that Melchior might have eliminated his wife and gotten away with it...and it seems that Walter thinks that Melchior just might be onto something.
While his professional life is falling apart, and his friends are avoiding him because they can't abide Clara, Walter does a strange thing and manages to get his life entangled with Melchoir Kimmel, a possible wife-killer who is no longer expecting anyone to come snooping around. Things get weird when Clara has to take a bus-trip out of town, and Walter, after dropping her off at the station, makes an instant decision to follow the bus.
Shortly thereafter, Clara has died out beyond some trees, where the bus stopped off.
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Format: Paperback
This is a superbly crafted novel. It gets under your skin, and like a test for allergies, it makes you aware of sensitivities you never knew you had. I couldn't put it down, I often laughed out loud, and was haunted. She makes an improbable situation most probable. In another writer's hand this could've been dreadful. How did she do it? I am not sure. But that is the magic of Highsmith, and she spins her spell wonderfully in this masterpiece. It has an existential power, a nightmarish texture, and the bite of the best dark comedy.
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Format: Paperback
For Highsmith fans, The Blunderer has just been re-released in a new series put out by Norton press. (Norton is also planning to re-release other Highsmith books for which they have publishing rights.)
My review of the book isn't as positive as those by others who have written before me, but I think this is because I read, just before The Blunderer, The Cry of The Owl, which is similar in plotline but far better written and without the unnecessarily violent ending found in The Blunderer. (Highsmith wrote The Blunderer in 1954 and The Cry of The Owl in 1962; my guess is that in the intervening years Highsmith had time to improve on the plotline.)
Still, The Blunderer is a good read. Highsmith did a great job of showing how two people's lives can suddenly intwine in ways neither individual would ever conceive of if not in the middle of Highsmith's weird, twisted, amoral universe. Highsmith also continues her close-up examination of our inner obsessions that, on occasion, can creep to the surface and wind up completely derailing life as we knew it before.
I recommend The Blunderer for readers who are well familiar with Highsmith's works beyond the well-known Mr. Ripley series. Gain appreciation of Highsmith's "high notes" before taking a look at her earlier works which foreshadow the mystery writer genius of future years.
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