Illustrated by Geoff Grandfield
A superbly illustrated Folio edition of Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train – the benchmark of the thriller genre since publication in 1950.
‘Strangers on a Train is a moral-vertigo thriller: Crime and Punishment for a post-atomic age.’
Patricia Highsmith, author of the highly popular Ripley novels, is among the twentieth century’s greatest thriller writers. Her first venture into noir, Strangers on a Train, was published in 1950 and adapted into a major film by Alfred Hitchcock the following year. Taut, sinister and shocking it still represents the benchmark for its genre.
Ordinary people and the extraordinary depths to which they are capable of sinking define Patricia Highsmith’s murky world, as brilliantly exemplified here in her debut work. Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno are passengers on the same train. High-flying architect Guy is divorcing his unfaithful wife, and is manipulated by the psychopathic Bruno into swapping murders. ‘Some people are better off dead,’ Bruno remarks, ‘like your wife and my father, for instance.’ The chilling sequence of events which ensues demonstrates how, if the conditions are right, anybody is capable of murder.
Strangers on a Train is both a classic crime novel and a supreme psychological thriller. Highsmith’s blending of the events and concerns of everyday life with the nightmarish thoughts and actions of her deranged protagonist make this book so remarkable. It displays the author’s fascination with the evil lurking behind the mundane, giving a foretaste of the tone and characterisation of her later novels featuring the amoral Tom Ripley. Genuinely unsettling and loaded with menace, Highsmith’s masterpiece of the macabre will keep you turning the pages in apprehension.
Much requested by Folio customers, this edition features seven atmospheric full-colour illustrations by the acclaimed Geoff Grandfield (who has also illustrated other Folio favourites by Raymond Chandler and Mary Renault).
Patricia Highsmith was born in 1925 in Fort Worth, Texas. She published her first stories in her school’s magazine, and after graduating from Barnard College in New York she found work writing as a comic-book scriptwriter. Strangers on a Train, her first novel, was published in 1950 to great acclaim, and was quickly adapted for the screen by Alfred Hitchcock and Raymond Chandler. Her other novels include the Ripley series, the first of which, The Talented Mr Ripley (1955), was awarded the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. She died in 1995 in Switzerland.
Geoff Grandfield studied Illustration at Maidstone College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London. Since graduating from the RCA with an MA he has won many awards as an illustrator and has combined his practice with teaching, leading the BA Illustration course at Middlesex University before his current post as Course Director of BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation at Kingston University in London. He has illustrated a number of books for The Folio Society, including Mary Renault’s Alexander and Theseus novels.
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