Written five years before The Deceivers, this is another tale of suburban infidelity. It's structured like a thriller and unfolds with a sense of inevitable doom. I liked it but not as much as The Deceivers.
What set this apart was that the focus was split between the husband and the wife, and the events of the book are sparked by the wife's infidelity with a young college male she meets at a house party. There's a great over-the-top drunken party about three-quarters of the way through the book that reminded me of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
One of the frustrations and pleasures of reading JDM (and it is now pretty clear that I'm just going to keep reading all of them till I'm done) is that these books are slipping away into obscurity. It is such an unusual experience these days to read a book, or to experience any work of art, and then to go onto the internet and find absolutely nothing there. No analyses, no reviews, just a few cover shots, and a few copies for sale. Ditto with JDM's life. I've read two beautifully crafted horror stories about marital infidelity by him, and they have a lot of similarities, including a description of a wife who is solid, loving, unimaginative, and a little dull, and then a corresponding picture of the other woman, who is highly sexual, bohemian (for the 1950s), not at all conventional, and little mentally unstable. They seem auto-biographical, and it makes me wonder, but there is nothing there on the web at all about JDM's personal life. I can't even find a picture of his wife. I don't think JDM would be happy to know that his books are slipping unread into the past but I think he'd be very happy that the personal details of his life are disappearing, that his privacy is secure.