The Listening Walls

The Listening Walls Two women travel together One mysteriously falls to her death from a balcony in a Mexico City hotel The other returns to San Francisco and then disappears

Two women travel together One mysteriously falls to her death from a balcony in a Mexico City hotel The other returns to San Francisco and then disappears.

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    333 Margaret Millar
The Listening Walls

About Author

  1. Margaret Ellis Millar n e Sturm was an American Canadian mystery and suspense writer Born in Kitchener, Ontario, she was educated there and in Toronto She moved to the United States after marrying Kenneth Millar better known under the pen name Ross Macdonald They resided for decades in the city of Santa Barbara, which was often utilized as a locale in her later novels under the pseudonyms of San Felice or Santa Felicia Millar s books are distinguished by sophistication of characterization Often we are shown the rather complex interior lives of the people in her books, with issues of class, insecurity, failed ambitions, loneliness or existential isolation or paranoia often being explored with an almost literary quality that transcends the mystery genre Unusual people, mild societal misfits or people who don t quite fit into their surroundings are given much interior detail In some of the books we are given chilling and fascinating insight into what it feels like to be losing touch with reality and evolving into madness In general, she is a writer of both expressive description and yet admirable economy, often ambitious in the sociological underpinnings of the stories and the quality of the writing.Millar often delivers effective and ingenious surprise endings, but the details that would allow the solution of the surprise have usually been subtly included, in the best genre tradition One of the distinctions of her books, however, is that they would be interesting, even if you knew how they were going to end, because they are every bit as much about subtleties of human interaction and rich psychological detail of individual characters as they are about the plot.Millar was a pioneer in writing intelligently about the psychology of women Even as early as the 40s and 50s, her books have a very mature and matter of fact view of class distinctions, sexual freedom and frustration, and the ambivalence of moral codes depending on a character s economic circumstances Her earliest novels seem unusually frank Read against the backdrop of Production Code era movies of the time, they remind us that life as lived in the 40s and 50s was not as black and white morally as Hollywood would have us believe.While she was not known for any one recurring detective unlike her husband, whose constant gumshoe was Lew Archer , she occasionally used a detective character for than one novel Among her occasional ongoing sleuths were Canadians Dr Paul Prye her first invention, in the earliest books and Inspector Sands a quiet, unassuming Canadian police inspector who might be the most endearing of her recurring inventions In the California years, a few books featured either Joe Quinn, a rather down on his luck private eye, or Tom Aragorn, a young, Hispanic lawyer.Sadly, most of Millar s books are out of print in America, with the exception of the short story collection The Couple Next Door and two novels, An Air That Kills and Do Evil In Return, that have been re issued as classics by Stark House Press in California.In 1956 Millar won the Edgar Allan Poe Awards, Best Novel award for Beast in View In 1965 she was awarded the Woman of the Year Award by the Los Angeles Times In 1983 she was awarded the Grand Master Award by the Mystery Writers of America in recognition of her lifetime achievements.

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The Listening Walls Comment

  1. THE LISTENING WALLS 1959 Margaret MillarThis was one of Ms Millar s last novels, and re enters the world of crime via her usual domestic foundation Once again, we meet and get to know a married couple who are having marital problems To circumvent this, the husband agrees that his wife can take a trip to Mexico for a mini vacation in the company of one of her girlfriends Her girlfriend is a much worldly woman twice divorced and the possessor of sufficient money to enjoy her life While staying in [...]


  2. Margaret Millar was married to another writer, Ken Millar, who wrote mysteries as Ross MacDonald I like his writing a lot, and she was better known in her day than him Serving as president of Mystery Writer s of America, receiving a lifetime Edgar Allen Poe award, writing for Warner Brothers although she is largely unknown now and most of her work is out of print She s apparently known for writing about women, sex, class and her character s complex inner lives The level of character development [...]


  3. Another brilliant novel by Millar It s a long, convoluted story that takes us down various shadowy trails and winds up with a last minute twist that s like a sobering slap in the face.


  4. Another fine Millar outing, though I have to admit the deluge of dialogue in the penultimate chapters explaining the mystery so that we can get to the finale was almost so overblown that I toyed with the idea of docking another star.



  5. Man, Millar can just write I love her quiet, comfortable use of the semi omniscient narrator to undercut the way the characters see themselves, something that s done so masterfully and so pointedly that I was grinning to myself every couple pages The characterizations are also reliably complex, and such a refreshing change from how, for example, women, private detectives, and faithful husbands are sometimes portrayed in much derided genre writing There s a lull toward the end of the book, but th [...]


  6. No s que tiene Margaret Millar, que es casi la nica ahora mismo en novela negra que soy capaz de soportar Ultimamente tengo poco aguante con este g nero, porque no soporto las trampas y las manipulaciones argumentales, pero Margaret Millar es una autora muy honesta, que va al grano y casi sin darte cuenta, con un par de di logos, te ha contado m s sobre un personaje, que otros con varias p ginas de an lisis psicol gicos La adoro porque adem s es capaz de hurgar en ese aparente perfecto estilo de [...]




  7. I m going out on a limb here perhaps but I think The Listening Walls a better novel than Gone Girl or Girl on The Train.Margaret Millar accent on last syllable was married Kenneth Millar, the creator of the great Lew Archer detective series which he wrote under the pen name of Ross Macdonald Margaret just might be a better mystery writer Her books are exciting and suspenseful with great twists The Listening Walls is a wild ride with a shocker of an ending literally the last sentence blew me away [...]


  8. I don t mean to kick this book down the stairs or anything, but the ending really sucks I mean that in a why did you stage it that way That s so unsatisfying kind of way It made me sort of sadly shake my head and think, maybe reading genre fiction isn t for me after all.Which is too bad, because there are parts of this book that I thought were really great there s a sentence in the first paragraph, something about the closet the maid is hiding in being as narrow as the road to heaven, that I wan [...]


  9. This is one of those convoluted missing persons murder mysteries where it takes about nine pages of dialogue at the end to explain what was going on I always feel when an author has to resort to that that they didn t do their job as well as they could have The story is intriguing nearly all the way through, and I kept waiting for the detective to solve the mystery, and I suppose he must have for the book to end the way that it does, but there seemed to be something missing en route from A to B.


  10. Well i am new to Margaret Millar s writing as I have read only the beast in view The first book impressed me as I am not very keen on American writers Her writing was strong with notable plot twists, anxious moments and agony I would descride it as a guilty pleasure because is not your typical crime or murder case is a combination of a mystery novel with touches of romance Even though I was really fond of the book when I read the last pages I felt rather disappointed But in any case is a four st [...]


  11. Another strong mystery by Margaret Millar the ending was goofily satisfying, although the final explain it all scene was a little goofy Millar writes very strong characters with distinct voices, and although I had some ideas, I really wasn t sure how this one would turn out until I got through to the very end


  12. This is so well written and engrossing, you hardly notice that the mystery is maybe unnecessarily convoluted Millar loves her twists, so there is one, but that s not what keeps me reading her books She is just such an efficient writer, making her point without breaking a sweat I love her dark humour and the whiff of misanthropy that permeates all her mysteries.


  13. I really like Margaret Millar books and this one is another great one from her from the beginning to the very last sentence



  14. Author really tried hard to give a surprise twist in the end but the journey just wasn t interesting enough The plot is neither convincing nor entertaining.


  15. Gobbling up one Millar mystery after another, and enjoying them all This one is early in her career, and not quite as polished as her later work, but nevertheless has terrific pacing and suspense.


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