It’s as if the lead character of a madcap Hunter S Thompson novel has stumbled into a Graham Greene thriller – that’s the best way I can hope to set the scene for Rafael Bernal’s 1969 cult classic The Mongolian Conspiracy.
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.