Monday, July 21, 2008

Book Review: Charles Williams, Hell Hath No Fury [a.k.a. The Hot Spot] (1953)

With his fourth novel, Charles Williams hits his stride. In Hell Hath No Fury, an Average Joe moves to a small town to work at a used car lot, and he happens to notice how easy it would be to rob the local bank. Women and noir ensue. This is a classic novel of its type, in which a sympathetic protagonist does rather unsympathetic things, but we root for him all the same as events spiral out of his control. In order to enjoy books of this sort, readers must grant writers a bit of latitude in the realm of plausibility; nevertheless, I do wish that Williams had done a little bit more to convince me that this particular Average Joe would jump at the chance to rob a bank. But this is a minor quibble with a classic. Grade: A

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