A Game for the Living Paperback – Jan 21 1994
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From the Back Cover
Ramn mends furniture. Theodore paints. A devout Catholic, Ramn lives in Mexico City, not far from where he was born into poverty. Theodore, a rich German transplanted to a country where money buys some comfort but no peace, believes in nothing at all. You'd think the two had nothing in common. Except, of course, that both had slept with Lelia. The two were good friends, so neither minded sharing her affections. They did mind, however, when Lelia was found raped, murdered, and horribly mutilated. The two friends, suspects both, twist in a limbo of tension and doubt, each seeking his own form of solace and truth.
"Highsmith in fine form, and if there are terrors in store for readers of A Game for the Living, there are also the rich pleasures of getting to know two men whose affection for each other runs deep enough to survive the possibility that one is a killer."-Janice Harayda, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
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Top Customer Reviews
The two men are vastly different. Teo is a wealthy German, reserved, cool, an artist. Ramon is a poor Mexican workingman, fiery, tempramental, a devout Catholic, a furniture mender. And they happened to share the same woman, who has been brutally murdered.
Told from Teo's point of view, the bulk of the book grapples with Teo's suspicion of Ramon as the killer and his efforts to understand his friend's mental state, which is, at best, somewhat shaky. They travel through Mexico together, trying to chase down suspects of the crime.
But ultimately the book fails to deliver. It never attains the level of tension that Highsmith usually brings to her books with austere prose and the exploration into the psychology of brutally flawed protagonists.
But, still, it's better than 95% of the mysteries out there. It's not a great place to start with Highsmith, but it's a interesting if not enthralling ride on the Patricia-train...
Theodore, the contemplative Protestant is contrasted with Ramón, the fiery Latino Catholic, both lovers of the same woman who is found murdered as the novel begins. I was able to guess who did it fairly early on, although I am not sure why. Highsmith produces some red herrings en route to a neatly packaged conclusion, but plays fair at all times. Note worthy is the easy-going, yet savvy police inspector Sauzas. The tension between the sin-filled Catholic Ramón, and the nearly agnostic Theodore is nicely developed and maintained. The feel of the Mexican hotels and the easy Mexican lifestyle is vividly rendered while the contrast between the well-to-do and the poor is presented in a straightforward manner. Highsmith's plot is well thought out and dove tails nicely with the resolution of the psychology of her characters. It's a little slow-going in the middle but finishes well without any artificiality.
Most recent customer reviews
Patricia ("The Talented Mr. Ripley") Highsmith has written many wonderful psychological thrillers. Read morePublished on April 4 2001 by lazza
Yep -- it's another fine piece of work from Patricia Highsmith, who was, I'm becoming increasingly convinced, one of the 20th century's most accomplished and important writers. Read morePublished on Aug. 17 2000 by Joseph W. Smith III