And then there is Patricia Highsmith, truly evil stuff, told as if she knew it first-hand.. .
I really do enjoy Patricia Highsmith's work, but her stories never ring true to me. Even her brilliant THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY tests my credibility at the very end. While RIPLEY UNDERGROUND is completely unbelievable from beginning to end. Delightful, but impossible for me to take seriously. The entire plot to A DOG'S RANSOM unravels twenty pages before the book ends. She wrote a fascinating book on how to write thrillers which was basically a study of her own technique and in that she notes the source of this weakness of which I'm speaking. I thought it was interesting that she knew what she so often does wrong.
Ruth Rendell's books, on the other hand, might be fleshed out of psychological studies. THE ROTTWEILER is the weakest of her books I've read. That was mainly because she told us who the killer was two thirds into the story. Still, it was a very creepy tale. But, WOLF TO THE SLAUGHTER, MURDER ONCE DONE, ROAD RAGE, BABES IN THE WOODS, ONE ACROSS TWO DOWN are just about perfect for very disturbing crime stories. This British aristocrat has a unique insight into the minds of sociopaths. Thomas Harris is simply not in her class.
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