Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Red Right Hand Paperback – March 20, 1997
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
There was a ten-cent store beyond the grocery; and after they had had their provisions stowed away in the car out front, they went into it. There they bought a griddle, a coffeepot, some paper cups and plates and napkins, a can opener, and some wooden spoons. And there, for a dollar and fifteen cents, they bought the red-handled kitchen bread knife, with its twelve-inch serrated blade....
Put me down as a fan of this quirky wartime mystery, narrated in a deliberately meandering and spooky style- about a doctor driving back to New York and a couple driving up to Vermont- and the weird events at Dead Bridegroom's Lake and the Old Swamp Road:
"... A nightmare road. I might have dreamed it, from the time that I had turned off onto it at sunset, with a splitting head. Phantasms and eyeless houses and a red-eyed rattlesnake and a crazy hat of mine; and old Adam MacComerou staring at me through the garden dusk as I appeared, as if he couldn’t believe that I was real; and then a dead man in the ditch whose last breath I had heard. And skittering surrealistic lunatics and a terrified father clutching his children as if I might eat them, and now this damned slavering dog that would tear my throat out if he could. All down the nightmare road. But the road was real. I didn’t dream it. And I knew that I was real. I’ll stick to that...."
Has anyone pointed out Unistaire, the surrealist artist- a minor character, but key in his way, to establishing the tone of this quasi-surrealist book? And as evocative of 1945 as gas coupons and tire rationing:
Unistaire, the refugee Basque artist who lived down the road [...] said, as we stood talking, after Stone and I had arrived down there:
“This is definitely a surrealistic murder. It is the murder of a genius. It has symbolism. You, Lieutenant Rosenblatt and Trooper Stone, are too much the routine policemen, thinking only in terms of m*ronic killers for gain, to understand it. What you both need is to wear a leopard skin, a chiffon nightgown, and a feather duster on your tail, and dance the beautiful dance of the corkscrew and the bottle. You, Dr. Riddle, are too pragmatic and unimaginative to understand it. What you need is to believe with all your soul in phantasms which cannot possibly exist. Even you, Professor MacComerou, have discontinued sending John Flail daily for a quart of warm rich creamy yellow milk from my beautiful Jersey cow with the great liquid eyes, and it is milk alone which nourishes the psychological brain.”
And he laughed mockingly at all of us.
Picked by Donald Westlake as one of his ten favorite mysteries. Very glad I picked it up.
Charlie Thompson's reappearance wove perfectly into what was unfolding. The revelation of who is the Red Right Hand and what he does for the Council was well done! This time the story was set in San Francisco, and Mr. Holm did a terrific job bringing that city to life. I felt like I was right there with Hendricks moving through the streets. I could see the horror of the attack on the Golden Gate Bridge and its aftermath vividly in my head.
I look forward to the next book in this series!
Though the first 30 or 40 pages are a bit slow, it becomes a page turner after that and definitely unputdownable.
The story is told in first person, the narrator being Dr. Henry Riddle, a brain surgeon.
Inis St. Erme and his fiancée Elinor Darrie are heading for Vermont in a car to get married. They pick up a tramp on the way. The tramp apparently kills or wounds St. Erme and tries to kill Elinor but she hides and escapes. The tramp then speeds off in the car on a country road carrying the dead or dying body of St. Erme. It runs over and kills first a dog and then a man.
The car is later found abandoned at the end of a side road. After a search, the dead body is found not very far away in a swamp, with the right hand cut off and missing! There is no sign of the murderer.
After the surprise and stunning revelation towards the end of the book, the reader is likely to go back and reread portions to see how it worked out. On rereading, the reader will note that all the clues are there and it is definitely a fair play mystery.
It is a complex mystery. A factor adding to the complexity is that it is not told linearly in time but jumps back and forth in time. Hence it should be read carefully. It may be necessary to reread it to comprehend it fully and realize its brilliance
It may be regarded as a locked room/impossible crime mystery.There are basically two impossibilities here.
Several witnesses see the speeding car on the main country road with the maniac looking tramp at the wheel and the dead or dying body of St. Erme besides him. The car then comes to a junction with a side road and apparently turns to this side road, since it is later found abandoned at the end of the side road. However, the narrator Henry Riddle is at the junction at that time, stranded with his stalled car. He does not see the car carrying the tramp and St. Erme! This is the main impossibility.
Another impossibility is that while Riddle is stranded at the junction, he sees a man walking away from him on the side road. But later it is found that he is the same person who is run over and killed on the main road by the speeding car!
The book is highly recommended and I have no hesitation in rating it 5 stars.