Andrew Wilson, The Lying Tongue - a Death in Venice (2007)
This is the British writer´s first novel, and it is set in Venice.
One of the ways Wilson builds up suspense is creating a creepy atmosphere in the old, Venetian palazzo where much of the story takes place.
"Running down the centre of the large, three-storey, perfectly symmetrical building, like a spine of a long-dead monster, was a series of arched windows, four on each level, the extrados sculpted out of white marble. In one of the rooms on the first floor candles flickered, illuminating patches of the darkened interior and casting strange shadows up onto the ceiling."
The narrator´s description of the old writer Gordon Crace adds to this tone. Here is young Adam Wood´s first impression of his new employer:
"In front of me stood a man who seemed much, much older than I had imagined. He was stooped, nearly bent double, and as he slowly raised his head upwards to look at me I saw that the flesh on his neck had lost all definition. His tiny, grey-green eyes narrowed as he squinted into the sunlight, and instead of moving forwards to greet me he took one step back into the shade."
For two proper - and very fine - reviews of this interesting thriller, you may visit Petrona (Maxine who sent me the book) or "It´s a Crime! (Or a Mystery)". As I have not read much Patricia Highsmith, I can only say it reminded me of Oscar Wilde´s The Picture of Dorian Gray.
I could also mention Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Minister´s Black Veil (1836) which I am reading in my English class this week as it also has certain horror aspects. I´d like to share a fine example of show, don´t tell. The congregation has just seen their veiled minister and "... several little boys clambered upon the seats, and came down again with a terrible racket."