Reviewed by TONY BAER:


ELISABETH SANXAY HOLDING – The Blank Wall.  Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 1947. Pocket #662, paperback, 1950. Ace Double G412. paperback, ca.1965, published back-to-back with The Girl Who Had to Die. Included in Women Crime Writers: Four Suspense Novels of the 1940s (Library of America #268. hardcover, 2015. Not yet confirmed: Before being published in book form “The Blank Wall” appeared as a short story in Ladies’ Home Journal.
   [Added later, thanks to David Vineyard in Comment #2 and quoting from IMDb: “Her novel The Blank Wall (1947) was so popular in its day that it was made into a movie titled The Reckless Moment in 1949. In 2001 it was made into the movie The Deep End starring Tilda Swinson.”]

   Mom is trying to hold the fort together while Dad is overseas, fighting the big war. Beautiful daughter is coming of age, 17, with the poor judgment prone to youth. She’s ripe for the picking, and a vulture swoops in to pluck.

   Gramps has words with the scoundrel; shoves him into the lake. He thinks. He thinks he shoved him in the lake. The next morning mom goes to the boathouse and finds the scoundrel impaled on an anchor.
What should mom do? To what lengths will mom go to protect her family. There are no bounds.

   The fortitude of this homemaker-cum-obstructionist mastermind shows the silent strength of maternal instincts facing an existential threat to her home.

   Domestic thriller? The hell with nomenclature. It was good.