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‘A border zone of the macabre, the disturbing, the not-quite accidental’ New York Times Book Review

The Black House eerily evokes the warm familiarities of suburban life: the manicured lawns, the white picket fences, and the local pubs, each providing the setting for Highsmith’s chilling portraits.

Some neighbours are playing scrabble one evening when their cat drags into their house not a bird, or some other catch, but human fingers; a guest arrives at a dinner party where he is not welcome, and his hosts conspire to find and attack his Achilles heel; the crew of the Emma C rescue a beautiful girl floating unconscious in the sea and tension explodes between the men on board; a childless thirty-something couple decide to invite two elderly folk to live with them, but have they been too generous?

In this collection of Patricia Highsmith’s wonderfully unsettling short stories, people’s motives are frequently twisted and no occurrence is without a sinister underlying meaning.