Vertigo by Boileau-Narcejac

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Vertigo is fast-paced French mystery-thriller novel, originally titled The Living and The Dead. The whole time I was trying to guess the twist, and honestly, I didn’t figure it out. I read Vertigo in one sitting, I could not stop reading! It’s only a short read so it’s not a big accomplishment or anything –  About a year or two ago I began watching the Alfred Hitchcock movie adaptation of Vertigo, but never finished it. Very late last year I purchased the book in a charity shop and decided to read it! I’m so glad that I finished the book first because now I can’t wait to watch the film!

So, the novel begins with a lawyer called Flavières discussing his relationship with Madeline, the wealthy wife of an old friend. Immediately, the sense of impending doom surrounds the characters, even the setting – which is really nice touch (pre-war Paris) that adds to the constant anxiety and tension not only in society but also in the personal lives of the main characters.

I was worried I would feel dissatisfied by the ending, which is a worry of mine I face when reading mystery-thrillers because I want them to be clever, but often they fall flat. This novel, however, did not. Not only is it a fantastic mystery, but the text explores a new realm of psychology in a mystery novel in my reading. It was so great, without spoiling anything, to see paranormal (almost) aspects explored in a vintage classic.

Although I really loved the book overall, I do have a few issues with it. Sometimes some of the plot twists felt slightly forced. The characters seemed to stick around for the plot – rather than because they have individual motives etc. However, it could be a matter of societal expectations due to the fact that it is a fairly old text (by no means Shakespearean, in fact, 20th century).

Besides that, I didn’t have many huge issues with this book. It’s not the most fantastical book on earth, in my opinion, but it is a really good read. I would highly recommend it if you want to branch out your reading to texts other than English and American books or if you’re big into crime, mystery and thriller and haven’t read many classics besides Agatha Christie or Arthur C. Doyle.

Thank you for reading another of my reviews, please comment your thoughts, it’s always appreciated! 🙂

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Comments

One comment on “Vertigo by Boileau-Narcejac”
  1. Pat Cawthorn says:

    Sounds like a really good read All in one go too..characters in mystery novels have to be carefully portrayed
    or, as you say ,change to fit the plot

    Liked by 1 person

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