Saturday, 10 November 2007

The Prisoner

Before Patrick McGoohan created his cult 60s tv show ‘The Prisoner’, the same title was used for the English translation of a novel by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac.

I’ve talked about these writers before in this blog. I love their cleverness, the way they play intricate games with the mystery of identity, and their fascination with stunning twists of fate. The Prisoner is the best of their books that I’ve found so far, even better than the book which gave rise to Hitchcock’s classic ‘Vertigo’.

My review of the book will be found in a future ssue of CADS. For now, suffice to say that I found it gripping. Gervais escapes from a war-time prison camp, and borrows the identity of a friend and fellow prisoner who is killed after the escape. But the strange household Gervais joins becomes a different kind of prison.

It may be trite to say ‘I could not put this book down.’ But for me, it was absolutely true of The Prisoner.


Ed Gorman said...

You made a sale last night with Green for Danger. Now I'll have to order The Prisoner too.

Xavier said...

I am not familiar with this book; what is the original title?

Narcejac, before writing crime stories of his own, learned his craft by doing pastiches of famous mystery writers. His take on George Simenon is available here.

wordsmith_for_hire said...

Totally off topic but I recently read The Coffin Trail and loved it. Now planning to read all your other novels. And I do mean all.

Martin Edwards said...

Xavier, I'm not sure of the original title, but will try and find out.Thanks for the pastiche. I've recently bought Narcejac's book 'The Art of Simenon', but have only read the introduction so far.

Wordsmith, good to hear from you. Of course, I hope you like the other books as well. The Coffin Trail was, at the time of writing it, an experiment in moving in a fresh direction. Since the experiment went well, the fourth Lakes book is now at the planning stage....