RARA-AVIS: An Air that Kills by Margaret Millar

From: Ed Lynskey ( e_lynskey@yahoo.com)
Date: 14 Aug 2007

Thanks to Bill Crider's email announcing Stark House reprints, I read my first Margaret Millar title, AN AIR THAT KILLS (1957).

AIR concerns a pill salesman named Harry Beam and his wife Thelma who discovers she is pregnant. She names Ron Galloway, a married friend, as the father which causes much consternation in 1950s Toronto society. Before long, Ron is found dead in his convertible, presumably a suicide over his anguish. Thelma emerges as a schemer with big plans in mind for her child.

The narrative takes several original twists. Ms. Millar's writing remains first-rate, including her stark metaphors (as nifty as Ross's) and seamless dialogue.

Though some of the attitudes come off as quaintby today's standards, the story is chilly and affecting.

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