I haven't read any of Highsmith's other work, but the best I can say about this book is that it was entertaining enough to finish. Mostly, I loved to hate the really horrible villain.
The problems with this book? First, the characters are almost never portrayed with any emotional depth (and most of that depth is towards the end). They are a bit cliche. When the characters have serious problems, if they aren't part of the central plot, they are glossed over.
Also, I felt like the book didn't know what type of story it was telling. It starts out as a murder mystery, but the mystery slides into equal footing with a "slice of life" story, and in the end disappears like soap bubbles.
I might have put up with these problems, if it weren't for the contrived resolutions to several problems, and the ending wrapping up too easily for the characters. There were all sorts of potential conflicts set up that never happened.
Originally posted on mmarques.vox.com