Tangled Web UK Review June 2012
File Updated: 04/06/2012

No Sale [Kindle Edition] by Patrick Conrad
pbk out June 12 (Bitter Lemon Press) at 7.63
Patrick Conrad is a Dutch author, and this novel, translated by Jonathan Lynn, makes excellent use of his knowledge of the film world – he has written and directed twenty films over the years. This book won an award for the best crime novel in Dutch in 2007, and I can see why. It is extremely well-crafted and intriguing. After a woman’s body is found in an Antwerp dock, the cops turn their attention to the victim’s husband, Victor Cox, but they are unable to prove that he killed her. The action really takes off when the focus switches from the investigation to the life and misadventures of Victor, a professor of film history, and my only real criticism of the book is that an even greater focus on the intense situation in which Victor finds himself might have made it even more consistently gripping. Victor is soon enmeshed in a nightmarish sequence of events, as a number of women with whom he is connected meet gruesome deaths – and the crimes seem to be patterned on killings which occur in film noir classics. For a film noir buff, this novel is utterly fascinating, but a wider readership will be gripped by the increasing sense of paranoia that Victor experiences, especially when a young woman to whom he is attracted disappears in strange circumstances. The unravelling of the complex plot is very well done, and there are some marvellously atmospheric scenes. A very good example of Eurocrime.

( Martin Edwards - author of the highly acclaimed Harry Devlin Mysteries)
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