Patricia Highsmith, whose centenary is celebrated this year, preferred "whydunnits" to the more common "whodunnits", focusing on the psychology of the criminals. In this novel we meet one of her lesser known anti-heroes, Chester MacFarlane, a conman like Tom Ripley (albeit much less talented), and again Highsmith manipulates us into sympathising with him. A love triangle between MacFarlane, his young wife and a morally ambiguous fellow American further complicates a fascinating tale of crime and flight which takes us to gorgeous places like Athens, Crete and Paris. At the end of the course we shall watch the film version with Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst.
Participants are requested to read parts of the text at home as preparation for the discussion in class
(reading chapters 1-3 for the first evening would be useful).