What I love about Margaret Millar is that you know she’s playing with you but she only lets you get close enough to see the shadows of her deception.
Dard is brilliant at describing the unspoken tones of noir – the creeping dread, the red-blooded lust and the vein-bulging tell-tale signs of sin’s smothering aftermaths.
And when the narrative stops on a dime after an ice-cold 97 pages, you’re left wanting more.
The case is open and shut. But when the incarcerated murderer hires a disreputable lawyer to investigate the possibility that it was someone else, the case inverts into a claustrophobic entanglement of red tape, sin and checkered pasts.
Themes of security, honour, obligation and voyeurism converge into something enticing and engaging under Togawa’s pen.
Lies fill rooms like smoke, choking and confusing the inhabitants while the truth slips out unnoticed, its remnants pushed into tall corners by the spreading fumes until nothing is distinguishable from the dark.