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on October 3, 2000
A Trap for Cinderella is a masterpiece of fiction. It is the story of a young woman who has lost her identity and continues to lose it as she finds herself deeper and deeper in a morass of passion, greed, bitterness, and sexuality. Each way she turns, she finds a new persona for herself, and new victims. Each shadowy profile she sees of herself is obliterated: she is beautiful, but hated; she is loved, and despised; she is rich, but poor. And she is a gentle human being who may also be a murderer.
In the end, the relief comes not from finding out who is murdered and who has committed the crime, but from the simple act of knowing the truth, however shocking and ugly it may be.
This is a short book, but spare and beautiful. I recommend it.
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on July 12, 1999
It's an excellent novel that transgresses the limitations of the detective genre. Unfortunately, the translation is not very good. It inexplicably removes the opening part of the story, and this reduces the book's charm.
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on August 20, 2013
She wakes in a hospital bed, her face and hands badly burned and covered with bandages. She doesn't know what's happened to her. She doesn't know where she is. She doesn't know who she is. She only knows that somebody tried to murder her. Or maybe--just maybe--she tried to murder somebody. She isn't really sure...

This is the situation on Page One of this short, sweet novel of suspense, and it only gets better from there. First published in France in 1962, TRAP FOR CINDERELLA was an immediate hit, winning several awards and being made into a popular French film in 1965. It was translated into English, and England and America embraced its young author, Sebastien Japrisot, as a new star in the world of crime and mystery fiction. I read it as a teen back in the 1970s, and I was amazed at how he could take a tired old premise (amnesia) and use it as a springboard for one of the most clever stories I've ever read.

Japrisot went on to write quite a few of my favorite suspense novels, and this is one of his best. He died in 2003, but his books live on. TRAP FOR CINDERELLA has just been made into a British film (2012), so I found a copy on Amazon and reread it before seeing the film. It is every bit as exciting and mind-bending as I remember--and I can't say that about many old favorites, can you? If you can find a copy, try it. Then find his other suspense novels, especially my favorite, The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun. If you're a suspense fan like me, you won't regret it. Enjoy!
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on June 14, 2003
Japrisot takes the mystery/thriller genre to another dimension. There aren't just plot twists, reading one of his stories is like taking a roller coaster ride with hairpin bends. You're never really sure what the answer is, and yet if you pay attention, maybe you are. When you think you've found an answer, it opens up more questions, revealing levels of complexity most writers never approach. What I particularly like is, he doesnt use exotic and high-flying settings like english manor houses, international espionage, the world of high finance, etc. Like that American genius Rod Serling, Japrisot's plots happen to ordinary people, a salesperson, a bank teller, a truck driver, a farmer. If his books dont hold your attention nothing will. Also the translations have been dynamite and lose nothing. When I run out of his books that have been put into English, I already am stacking up the ones only available in French. Everyone of the four I have read have been masterpieces.
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on August 1, 2000
read this years ago and am thrilled to find it again. i remember that the translation from the french was horribly mangled, but the story was so good, it overcame. would make an excellent movie. (talented mr. ripley is kinda similar concept). i even think that a better translation would take away from some of its charm :)
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on February 14, 2012
This is a slender book of tremendous suspense. However, the story is fundamentally about whether the main character can know the truth about those around her and, more importantly, about herself. I appreciated the simplicity of the prose, the unique structure (which allows a reader to see the world as the main character might), and the terrific final few sentences. This is a work not to be missed!
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VINE VOICEon December 29, 2008
I found an old, dogeared copy of Trap for Cinderella when I was killing time in a used bookstore. Though I had no intention of buying anything, Trap's premise was so clever that I could not bear to leave the book behind. I am glad that I purchased the book, because it is an intelligent mystery that entertains the reader while also causing him or her to think.

Trap's plot centers on a young woman who is found badly burned and suffering from amnesia after a fire. (If I had to be criticial of Trap, I would note that amnesia has appeared in too many mystery stories). Since another woman died in the same fire, no one can be certain of the survivor's identity. As the novel progresses, it becomes apparent that the fire might have been the result of foul play. So, is the survivor the victim or the killer? That clever twist, well-drawn characters, and a vivid French setting all make Trap a winner.

If you like mysteries, but find too many mystery novels to be dull and predictable, Trap just might be the book for you.
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on October 11, 2015
I first read Trap for Cinderella many years ago but it still remains one of my all-time favorites. The style is minimalist (it was reportedly written in a couple of weeks) but both the concept and execution are brilliant. Japrisot took the amnesia trope and turned it on its head, making it into something fresh and unique. Each new twist makes the heroine and the reader question the previously made assumptions. The ending is a master touch that most authors never attain.
The only qualm is that the English version inexplicably omits the fairy-tale style prologue that sets the mood for the story and introduces the Cinderella theme.
The book was adapted for the screen twice. Andre Cayatte's 1965 version is no longer available, the rights reportedly being blocked by Japrisot's estate. Iain Softley's wrong-headed 2012 adaptation  eliminated (among many other things) the main clue that gave the book its title.
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VINE VOICEon March 8, 2000
I first read Sebastien Japrisot because Amazon so frequently included his name under "also bought". This time I was well rewarded. Japriscot's work, like most authors, varies in quality - this book falling close to the middle of his quality. A Trap for Cinderella is interesting because of the intrigue upon intrigue as to the identity of the burn victim. The final answer is neither self-evident nor surprising. Rather the reader is led through a narrowing maze of possibility until finally the final answer is disclosed - an answer that is satisfying because it has been threaded throughout the story as one possible outcome.
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on December 24, 2015
Read it many years ago and wanted to see if it was as good as I remembered. It was.
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