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The Blank Wall

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 213 pages
  • Publisher: New York: Pocket Books # 662 1st Printing 1950; . edition (1950)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000CBVBSW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,285,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
'The Blank Wall' reads brilliantly as a suspense novel, but I was as much captured by Elizabeth Sanxay Holding's deft characterisation as by the twists and turns of the plot.

Lucia Holley, separated from her husband by WWII and running her family home alone, is horrified when her daughter Bee becomes romantically involved with an unsavoury young man. However, when she attempts to part the couple, events quickly begin to spiral out of her control.

Murder and blackmail aside, 'The Blank Wall' also operates as a convincing portrait of the relationship between mother and daughter.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Why isn't E Sanxay Holding as celebrated as Chandler or Highsmith?!?! She's *that* good.
That itchy, 'Something isn't quite right here,' feeling starts with the first sentence and doesn't let you go until the dark end....

Someone please get all her books on Kindle. NOW!!!!
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Format: Kindle Edition
Elisabeth Holding's "The Blank Wall" (1947) is the fourth novel published in a new Library of America volume, "Women Crime Writers: Four Suspense Novels of the 1940s" selected and edited by Sarah Wineman, a scholar of women's suspense writing. A companion LOA volume includes four additional crime novels of the 1950's written by women. The LOA has provided me with a review copy of both books, and I am enjoying working through the series, learning about writers I didn't know. "The Blank Wall" is available in the kindle edition I am reviewing here and in some collections of suspense fiction. Still, it is a rare title.

Holding's book is a suspense novel but it explores issues broader than who-done-it. The book is set in the suburbs of New York City during the WW II years and examines life on the domestic front. The primary character, Lucia Holley, has taken a home in a quiet, prosperous community on a lake while her husband is away at war. She lives with her two teenage children, Bee, 17, and David. 15, her elderly father, and an African American maid, Sybil. Lucia leads a seemingly dull life taking care of her family and writing commonplace letters to her husband. She has a yearn for more challenge and activity.

When a sleazy pornographer shows interest in her daughter, Lucia unwittingly becomes involved in covering-up the man's unintended death. Her act draws her into a web of blackmail, murder, and love. Lucia goes about her life as a housewife and mother during the days of WW II all the while becoming more involved in criminal activity which she tries to conceal from her family and neighbors. A man sent to blackmail Lucia falls in love with her, but his companions in crime are not nearly as sentimental.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
...and makes for a rich and wonderful story. A mother tries to protect her family and home from a seedy element that enters their lives in an unexpected way. The manner in which the story unfolds is mesmerizing. I felt horrible for the main character as she watched her life and the lives of her family unravel, and rejoiced each time she pulled herself together. The relationship between her and her father is touching to read, and the relationship between her and her maid brings an entirely other issue into the story.

My favorite line(s) in the book: "This is my life, going on just the same....And all that had happened to her would be, must be, pushed down, out of sight; the details of daily living would come like falling leaves to cover it."

I've only recently discovered Persephone books and I adore them. I was so pleased to find a few available on my Kindle. Can we please have more???
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Totally unsentimental, nerve-wracking, thriller (?), in a conventional 1940's suburban setting, accurately - but very gently - drawn. An unlikely heroine, but one who utterly compels sympathy.
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