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Good Literature for Children & Adults

Strangers on a Train By Patricia Highsmith

strangers-on-a-train-by-patricia-highsmithIf you want to read a very creepy psychological murder mystery, this book is for you. Patricia Highsmith is the queen of this genre. Strangers on a Train is, as the title says, about two strangers who meet on a train–Charles Bruno, a definite psychopath, and Guy Haines, an ordinary man who becomes drawn into the very dark world of the other. Charles Bruno, the psychopath, is as terrifying a character as you ever what to read about. The suspense is created as we see Guy become more and more helpless when confronted with the absolute evil of Bruno. Bruno is a very nasty man indeed. He stalks Guy in an effort to convince him that he must do his part of the deal, and murder Bruno’s father.

This novel was filmed by master filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, and is one of his best–a black and white classic. As creepy as the film is it is nothing compared to the novel. Raymond Chandler, who adapted the novel to a screenplay, has made the character of Guy Haines, who is manipulated into the plan to murder, a much more moral character than he is in the novel.

In the film, Bruno is just as horrifying a character as Anthony Hopkins was in another Hitchcock classic, Psycho. Anyone who has ever seen Psycho will remember that character forever, and some of you, like me, will never again be comfortable in a bathroom with the shower curtain drawn. Patricia Highsmith wrote many novels, some of the most wellknown are the Ripley series, featuring another psychopath, Tom Ripley, also made into another very creepy film, The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Parry Sound Books and the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts will present the film, Strangers on a Train, on the big screen at the Stockey Centre on June 16 at 7:30 p.m. Mystery writer Lyn Hamilton will introduce the film and talk about why this particular film, based on a book by a woman mystery writer, was our choice.

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