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The Resource Imperfect strangers, Stuart Woods

Imperfect strangers, Stuart Woods

Label
Imperfect strangers
Title
Imperfect strangers
Statement of responsibility
Stuart Woods
Creator
Subject
Language
eng
Storyline
Tone
Review
  • Woods is a book-a-year man, a pace that has improved rather than eroded his skills. His thirteenth novel is a neat piece of work that combines a takeoff on "Strangers on a Train" with an homage to Patricia Highsmith and Alfred Hitchcock. Woods' "imperfect" strangers meet on an airplane. Sandy Kinsolving is an attractive, well-dressed man of means. He's flying from London to New York because his father-in-law, who's bankrolled his lucrative wine-selling business, has just had a stroke. Sandy and his wife are far from close, and he's concerned that his father-in-law's death will have unpleasant financial consequences. His seatmate, Peter Martindale, also a well-dressed man of means, is a gallery owner based in San Francisco. It seems that he and his wife are also on the outs, and he, too, stands to lose his livelihood. The two men drink scotch and watch, yes, you guessed it, "Strangers on a Train". They have the sort of heart-to-heart strangers indulge in, and Peter proposes that they murder each other's wives. The trick here is to complicate matters, and Woods succeeds admirably. He also gives us the vicarious pleasure of reading about the very rich, who never have to wait for anything, even death. ((Reviewed December 1, 1994)) -- Donna Seaman
  • Though Woods's (Heat) latest caper provides all the credibility of a soap opera, the novel also offers some of the guilty pleasures attendant to that TV format. When wine merchant Sandy Kinsolving meets art dealer Peter Martindale on a flight from London to NYC (the novel's primary locations), they are inspired by watching Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train to hatch their own version of that classic plot-in which two strangers each agree to commit murder for the other. It seems that both men have "troublesome" wives, so why doesn't Sandy kill Peter's spouse and Peter return the favor? After one lady is duly offed, however, events careen out of control. In fact, so many subsequent episodes occur (many of them preposterous and too tidily handled) that the murder pact gets lost. As often happens in the world of soaps, a glossy veneer lends an air of sophistication-a corner suite at London's Connaught Hotel, a cashier's check for $28 million-and, also, of unreality. (Even the dialogue begins to smack of Noel Coward.) Enjoyable for a time, the tony tinsel is overtaken by a blandness that ultimately undercuts the novel's would-be dramatic and psychological aspects. BOMC, QPB alternates; Harper Audio. (Jan.)
  • A retake of the Alfred Hitchcock movie Strangers on a Train (1951), this would-be thriller by the author of Dead Eyes (HarperCollins, 1994) begins when Sandy Kinsolving and Peter Martindale make a bargain to kill their wives. Before Kinsolving can pull out, his wife is murdered; must he follow through as well? Unfortunately, the author blunts the suspense by allowing his wealthy characters to solve their problems with money rather than wits. Worse, he leaves major plot details unexplained (e.g., Who killed the woman in the gallery, and why? Why did Cara get into the limousine? What happened to the old doorman?) and falls back on a struggle-for-the-gun climax instead of resolution. The fun part of the story involves all the trappings of great wealth: limousines, caviar, chartered jets for cross-country flights, and stays in fancy hotels. For large collections only. [BOMC and Quality Paperback selections; previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/94.]-Elsa Pendleton, Boeing Information Svcs., Ridgecrest, Cal.
  • Plot-starved novelists could do worse than raid old Hitchcock films for stories, but they had better pilfer with greater skill than Woods (Heat, 1994, etc.) does in his craftless new thriller. Dapper, epicurean, and adulterous international wine merchant Sandy Kinsolving wants his insufferable wife, Joan, dead. Peter Martindale, a dissolute art dealer and psychotic Sandy meets on a transatlantic flight from London, is willing to lend a hand -- provided Sandy repays the favor and bumps off Peter's insufferable wife. After watching -- yup -- Strangers on a Train (the in-flight movie), Sandy and Peter decide to imitate the film's circle of complicity. Sandy, however, experiences a moral epiphany and aborts the hit on Joan, but Peter kills her anyway. With Joan on a slab, and with the appearance of a new will drafted by her recently deceased father (also Sandy's boss), Sandy suddenly finds himself a multimillionaire, in possession of both his late wife's inheritance and the wine division of the family liquor business, which he had thought Joan was conspiring to "steal" from him (his original reason for agreeing to Peter's plan). He promptly focuses his energy on purchasing a Napa Valley vineyard and on courting Cara Mason, a leggy stranger he meets while getting off a plane. Unfortunately, he also keeps receiving calls from Peter, who insists that Sandy follow through on their deal. Trapped between the devil and the thin blue line -- the latter in the form of a curiously ineffective (although intriguing) Haitian NYPD detective named Alain Duvivier -- Sandy acquires the winery, tries to spin the tables on Peter, and remarries, all of which leads to a final showdown on Alcatraz that plays like a foggy version of the final scene from Vertigo. Wooden dialogue, thinly inked characters, and a telegraphed central twist only inflict more pain. Perfectly crummy. (Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 1994)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
007873
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Woods, Stuart
Dewey number
813/.54
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Psychopaths
  • Rich people
  • Murderers
  • Faustian bargains
  • Husband and wife
  • Murder
  • Marital conflict
  • Sons-in-law
  • Inheritance and succession
  • Married men
  • Americans in London, England
  • London, England
  • New York City
Label
Imperfect strangers, Stuart Woods
Instantiates
Publication
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
271 p.
Isbn
9780060177751
Lccn
94034506
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780060177751
  • (OCoLC)30970461
Label
Imperfect strangers, Stuart Woods
Publication
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
271 p.
Isbn
9780060177751
Lccn
94034506
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780060177751
  • (OCoLC)30970461

Library Locations

    • A. Mitchell Powell Jr. BranchBorrow it
      25 Hospital Road, Newnan, GA, 30263, US
      33.387732 -84.816797

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