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Dogs Ransom Paperback – Aug 27 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton; Reprint edition (Aug. 27 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393323366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393323368
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.2 x 2.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #922,373 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Patricia Highsmith is the author of such classics as Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. She died in 1995 in Locarno, Switzerland.

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Greta showed Ed the letter as soon as he came in the door. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
This book tricks you into thinking it's the story of a grouchy old man who cruely kidnaps and murders a grieving Manhattan couple's poodle and the couple's efforts to get help from an apathetic police department following the loss of their dog. Early on but completely out of nowhere the book shifts it's focus to a dedicated and heroic young cop, Clarence, who decides to help the couple out of pure kindness, a kindness that leads to Clarence's destruction.
I loved the portrayal of Clarence as an obsessive do gooder who's fear of doing the wrong thing causes him to commit evil acts in the name of justice. The villain, Rowajinski, is one of her most hateful since the lawyer in A Suspension Of Mercy or David Pritchard in Ripley Under Water.
I reccomend this book highly to anyone who loves a good read and a story where the characters don't always act rational but the story stays true to life. This book shows there truly is no such thing as good or evil, it's just a matter of perception.
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Format: Paperback
The Sunday Times said of Highsmith, "She makes books that you really can't put down." This is one of them. After 25 or 30 pages, I defy any crime & suspense fan to stop reading.
All the usual Highsmith elements are here -- smooth, accomplished writing, an absorbing plot, eerily believable characters, and an authentic feeling for locale (in this case, 1970s Manhattan); on the whole, however, the book isn't nearly as successful as many other Highsmith works. The ending is something of a shock, and leaves one wondering just what she was trying to say and accomplish; the thematic material also -- though never overt in Highsmith -- is especially hard to assemble, and creates a suspicion that, in this book, there wasn't any.
Though it's well worth reading for the page-turning suspense, I wouldn't pay too much for some rare copy -- esp. as there are plenty of other Highsmiths that are very exciting and work quite well on other levels too ("Cry of the Owl," which is still in print; "This Sweet Sickness," which isn't; and "Strangers on a Train," which has been out of print for years but will be re-issued by Norton in August 2001).
Not bad, but if you're not a Highsmith fan, trying something else first.
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Format: Paperback
Familiar to most readers via her Ripley books and Strangers on a Train, Patricia Highsmith specialized in creepy portraits of sociopaths as their paths crossed and destroyed the lives of ordinary folk. This less well known little gem starts out innocently enough with a wealthy Manhattan couple and their missing dog, but gets ugly fast as the dognapper proves to be obsessed with teaching them a lesson and the young cop investigating the case turns out to be equally obsessed with protecting the couple and imposing justice.
With the kooks on both sides of the law this time there's an even more claustrophobic effect, as she shows just how frightening the people around us may be and how dangerous every day life is, but it's all offset by a dark sense of humor. It's not as good as her best, but it's worth seeking out.
GRADE : B
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
should have used a leash... Dec 13 2001
By lazza - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A Dog's Ransom is classic Patricia Highsmith - that is, it is a study of how feelings of apprehension and fear overwhelm the guilty (or persons suspected of guilt). Despite its title, the book has little to do with dogs or ransom really ... although this is where the story begins.
In this novel we have a middle-aged couple in Manhatten whose little poodle is kidnapped by a mentally disturbed loner. Having reported the crime, the police are unattentive with the exception of a "do gooder" rookie. However soon this rookie, due to incompetence and personal weaknesses, gets over his head ... and soon finds himself in big trouble. Despite its slow (and somewhat contrived) beginning, the tension builds very nicely. And the ending is rather ... upsetting.
Bottom line: amongst Highsmith's better works despite a relatively low "wow!" factor. Strongly recommended for Highsmith fans. Highsmith neophytes are advised to first read her more famous works (The Talented Mr Ripley, Strangers on a Train, ..).
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Not just Highsmith's best, it's the best novel period. Nov. 30 2003
By Jeffrey T. Kane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book tricks you into thinking it's the story of a grouchy old man who cruely kidnaps and murders a grieving Manhattan couple's poodle and the couple's efforts to get help from an apathetic police department following the loss of their dog. Early on but completely out of nowhere the book shifts it's focus to a dedicated and heroic young cop, Clarence, who decides to help the couple out of pure kindness, a kindness that leads to Clarence's destruction.
I loved the portrayal of Clarence as an obsessive do gooder who's fear of doing the wrong thing causes him to commit evil acts in the name of justice. The villain, Rowajinski, is one of her most hateful since the lawyer in A Suspension Of Mercy or David Pritchard in Ripley Under Water.
I reccomend this book highly to anyone who loves a good read and a story where the characters don't always act rational but the story stays true to life. This book shows there truly is no such thing as good or evil, it's just a matter of perception.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Clear your schedule! Jan. 20 2001
By Joseph W. Smith III - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Sunday Times said of Highsmith, "She makes books that you really can't put down." This is one of them. After 25 or 30 pages, I defy any crime & suspense fan to stop reading.
All the usual Highsmith elements are here -- smooth, accomplished writing, an absorbing plot, eerily believable characters, and an authentic feeling for locale (in this case, 1970s Manhattan); on the whole, however, the book isn't nearly as successful as many other Highsmith works. The ending is something of a shock, and leaves one wondering just what she was trying to say and accomplish; the thematic material also -- though never overt in Highsmith -- is especially hard to assemble, and creates a suspicion that, in this book, there wasn't any.
Though it's well worth reading for the page-turning suspense, I wouldn't pay too much for some rare copy -- esp. as there are plenty of other Highsmiths that are very exciting and work quite well on other levels too ("Cry of the Owl," which is still in print; "This Sweet Sickness," which isn't; and "Strangers on a Train," which has been out of print for years but will be re-issued by Norton in August 2001).
Not bad, but if you're not a Highsmith fan, trying something else first.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
New York story. Aug. 31 2006
By Michael G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It's not so much the plot of A Dog's Ransom that makes it a worthwhile read. Rather it's the detailed psychological profiles of the four main characters that make this novel stand out. The four main characters are:

-Ed and Greta Reynolds, well-to-do Manhattanites who, through no fault of their own, become the target of a petty extortionist.

-Kenneth Rowajinski, the aforementioned extortionist. A poor, lonely wretch of a man whose only joy in life derives from writing threatening letters to strangers.

-Clarence Duhamell, a young patrolman with the NYPD. Sensitive and well intentioned. Clarence tries to help Ed and Greta after Rowajinski demands ransom for the return of their beloved pet poodle.

Of the four, the character Highsmith spends the most time developing in detail is Clarence Duhamell. Clarence is rather ambivalent about being a cop and his ambivalence is abundantly apparent to his colleagues. For that reason he has never been accepted as "one of the boys" within the law enforcement brotherhood. When Clarence goes above and beyond the call of duty to help Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, his efforts become inexplicably ham-handed, resulting in a disasterous cascade of events leading to his own undoing.

A Dog's Ransom is a well written New York novel noteworthy for it's exquisite character development. A 4 star effort.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Highsmith, a master of psychological suspense! Feb. 1 2011
By H.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
On the surface this book deals with two men at opposite ends of society, the criminal and the police office. Beneath the surface both men are misfits and loners, the criminal obviously so, the police officer, not so apparent. Both men are drawn into a vortex, helpless to resist their own compulsions. In many ways this book is reminisent of "Strangers On A Train".

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