Hard to believe this was marketed as ‘crime’ at the time of publication – 1970 – when it is in fact a study in human frailty and psychological breakdown. It might be categorised with Simenon’s non-Maigret novels. It’s a comparison that does the book no favours as it isn’t really good enough to stand with Simenon’s masterpieces. The main issue for me was that I couldn’t see any of the male characters. Despite laborious and repetitive physical descriptions of them, they never became real.
I’d love to see this done as a movie, I believe that a good director would rectify that and make Alec and his nemesis Robbie as arresting as they should be and aren’t in the book.
This is not to say don’t read it, it’s hard to put down and worth a few hours of one’s life.