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MR. WHITE'S CONFESSION.

Clark, Robert.

ISBN 10: 0312192177 / ISBN 13: 9780312192174
Published by NY: PICADOR U.S.A. 1998, 1998
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From WAVERLEY BOOKS ABAA (Santa Monica, CA, U.S.A.)

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Cloth. First Edition. Fine in dj. An Edgar Award winner. (S). Bookseller Inventory # 18211

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Bibliographic Details

Title: MR. WHITE'S CONFESSION.

Publisher: NY: PICADOR U.S.A. 1998

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: First Edition.

About this title

Synopsis:

In St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1939, Lieutenant Wesley Horner searches for the killer of a beautiful showgirl, a case in which the chief suspect becomes Herbert White, an eccentric recluse and hobby photographer, in a novel that explores the inner worlds of two very different men. 35,000 first printing.

Review:

In Robert Clark's second novel, Mr. White's Confession, two men grope through real and metaphysical mysteries in post-depression Minnesota. A pair of girls, taxi dancers at a local dance hall, have been murdered. It seems obvious to everyone involved that the killer is Herbert White, a quiet eccentric with a taste for glamour photography--particularly after portraits of the dead women are found in his apartment. Yet police Lieutenant Wesley Horner finds himself obsessed with the oddities of the case, starting with the fact that the suspect is afflicted with a faulty memory. Literally unable to recall anything but the distant past (and intermittent patches of the present), White cannot confess to the murders. Did he in fact commit the crime, or is he merely a convenient scapegoat? Agonizing over these questions, Horner also begins to ponder the role that memory plays in understanding the past--and the present.

Part of the narrative consists of Herbert White's journal, and this is the best part of Mr. White's Confession. Here Clark creates a voice that is both innocent and formal and, most of all, blind to its own desires. Recalling a visit by Ruby Fahey, one of the eventual victims, the photographer writes: "She went back to my bedroom to change, and I must say I felt a huge sort of breathlessness at the idea that she was in my room shedding and then donning her garments, rather as if some mystery of great enormity were taking place right here in my humble quarters!" Horner's half of the narrative, alas, is weighted down by tired lyricism, and populated by a hard-boiled cast straight out of Raymond Chandler. The result is a gripping mystery with an anticlimactic ending--less a philosophical resolution than the tail of a shaggy-dog story. --Emily Hall

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