Author(s): Jill Dawson
In 1964, the eccentric American novelist Patricia Highsmith is hiding out in a cottage in Suffolk in order to concentrate on her writing. She has other motives too - a secret romance with a married woman based in London and her dislike of the fame and attention that has followed her since her first novel was made into a Hitchcock film and her fourth, The Talented Mr Ripley, was published to such acclaim. Unfortunately it soon becomes clear that Pat is not alone: all her demons have come with her. Prowlers, sexual obsessives, frauds, imposters, suicides and murderers: the tropes of her fictions clamour for her attention, rudely intruding on her peaceful Suffolk retreat. After the arrival of Ginny, an enigmatic young journalist who would like to interview her, events begin to turn catastrophically dark, ending in a fatal accident. Except, as always in Pat's troubled and eventful life, perhaps things are not as they seem...Jill Dawson is renowned for her novels revisiting known stories and famous figures, such as the wildboy of Aveyron, the poet Rupert Brooke or, in her Orange Prize-shorlisted novel Fred and Edie, the hanged murderess Edith Thompson. Here she fuses biographical facts about Highsmith's life with audacious recreations of Highsmith's much exercised fantasies of murder, madness and revenge. The result is a sexy, dazzling tale that touches the darkest reaches of the human imagination.
Jill Dawson is the author of Trick of the Light, Magpie, Fred and Edie, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award and the Orange Prize, Wild Boy, Watch Me Disappear, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize, The Great Lover, a Richard and Judy Summer Read in 2009, Lucky Bunny and The Tell-Tale Heart. In addition she has edited six anthologies of short stories and poetry. Born in Durham, Jill Dawson grew up in Yorkshire. She has held many Fellowships, including the Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of East Anglia, where she taught on the MA in Creative Writing course. In 2006 she received an honorary doctorate in recognition of her work. She lives in the Fens with her husband, two sons and foster daughter.