Day 674: In a Lonely Place

Cover for In a Lonely PlaceWhat makes this post-World War II noir crime novel stand out is that it was written by a woman and the crime is solved by two sharp women. Although there are plenty of women mystery writers, it is less common to find women writing noir mysteries at that time. Reminiscent of The Killer Inside Me, In a Lonely Place tells the story of a serial killer of women from the point of view of the killer.

Dix Steele is an ex-pilot being supported by his uncle in Los Angeles while he pretends to write a novel. He is living in a posh apartment of an old Princeton friend, wearing his clothes and driving his car and telling everyone his friend is in Rio. About once a month he picks up a girl at a bus stop or some other lonely place and strangles her.

Dix decides to get in touch with an old friend from the military, Brub Nicholai, but is taken aback to find Brub is now a police detective. Brub has also married, and his wife Sylvia doesn’t like Dix.

Dix meets an attractive redhead, Laurel Gray, who lives in the apartment complex and is divorcing her wealthy husband. Soon they begin a torrid romance.

This novel was convincing in its depiction of a serial killer. Although we see things from Dix’s point of view, we are not drawn into his dilemmas as we are, say, for The Talented Mr. Ripley. We want him to be caught and worry about Laurel or about the next time he is going to find the need to kill.

Related Posts

The Killer Inside Me

The Talented Mr. Ripley


5 thoughts on “Day 674: In a Lonely Place

  1. Naomi March 18, 2015 / 3:26 pm

    This sounds interesting. The cover and title both got my attention. I still haven’t read The Talented Mr. Ripley, but I should.

    • whatmeread March 18, 2015 / 3:27 pm

      I think as far as drama is concerned, Ripley might be better. Still, it’s always nice to discover the work of women writers I haven’t heard of before.

  2. Carolyn O March 23, 2015 / 12:27 am

    Funny, I read the first two paragraphs of your review and thought, “That sounds like Ripley”–but I’ve only seen the movie.

    • whatmeread March 23, 2015 / 7:37 am

      It’s similar, but somehow you get more involved with Ripley.

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