I do like the occasional thriller from time to time, especially for holiday reading, and as I had an exotic holiday lined up in March with lots of airplane time, and then I was hoping for lots of down time and relaxation, I picked up The Woman in the Window. I'd seen lots of gushing reviews about the place recently, a rather glowing author profile (The Man Who Was Born to Write Crime Fiction), and I liked the sound of the rather Hitchcockian Rear Window vibe.
Child psychiatrist Doctor Anna Fox lives alone in Harlem, in a house that she once shared with her husband and daughter. She had it all, the successful practice, the happy home, and then it all changed, and she hasn't been able to leave her house since. Shut in, she is drinking way too much, and taking her prescription medications in a rather haphazard manner.
Anna spends much of her time in an online chat room for those similarly afflicted, she plays chess and watches old black and white movies. She also spends a lot of time spying on her neighbours. She knows so much about their lives with a little added online stalking- LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages, and plain old googling.
In late October a new family move in across the street at 207. Anna takes in their arrival and continues watching. One night she sees something in a house across the street. She believes she's seen it, but no-one else believes her story. Anna's psychiatric problems, her drinking and drug use make her the ultimate unreliable narrator.
I turn to the windows and cast a long look across the park. That house. A theatre for my unquiet mind.I started reading on my first flight, and the first chapter is a cracker, but then it changed tone, and I never quite got into Anna's voice in the same way. I really thought I would totally love The Woman In the Window. I didn't sadly. I did like it on the whole, but I never found it completely consuming, I was never caught up in it as I thought I would be, I got a bit annoyed by all the constant old movie references, and then I worked out the ending from about half way through. That's always disappointing... I was hoping I'd be wrong.
I took three books away with me, but only managed to finish this one.
Yep, that does sound like Rear Window. And of course, Agatha Christie was doing it, sort of, in The 4.50 From Paddington, in which a woman on the train sees someone being murdered on another train passing hers. Nobody believes her except Miss Marple, who knows that her friend doesn’t have the imagination to make this up!
Pity this one was a disappointment!
I've long meant to read some Agatha Christie. I know I read some as a teenager- but that was quite some time ago, and I don't remember anything much of them. The 4.50 from Paddington sounds a good one- a bit Girl from the Train perhaps?
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