“Fabulous, in all senses of that word . . . combining the best features of the suspense genre with the best of existential fiction—a thrilled reflection.”—Paul Theroux
Elsie Tyler turns heads wherever she goes. After leaving her hometown upstate for Greenwich Village, the charming young waitress soon finds herself surrounded by admirers, including Jack and Natalia Sutherland, a married couple who invite Elsie into their bohemian inner circle and help her launch a career as a model. Meanwhile, Ralph Linderman, a middle-aged security guard with a dog named God, is nursing his own obsession with Elsie. He sets out to protect her from the “bad company” she attracts, but his uninvited affections are overbearing, possibly even pathological. When Ralph finds Jack’s wallet on a morning stroll through the Village, and returns it, he is entirely unprepared for the complex maze of sexual obsession and disturbing psychological intrigue he is about to be drawn into.
Originally published in 1986, Found in the Street is classic Highsmith—an engrossing, unsettling thriller that explores the bleakest alleyways of human desire, and a kaleidoscopic portrait of 1980s New York City. Patricia Highsmith, author of Strangers on a Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley, has been called “one of the finest crime novelists” by the New York Times and is now considered one of the most original voices in twentieth-century American fiction.
Highsmith is best known for Strangers On a Train, basis for the prizewinning Hitchcock film, one of her 19 eerie novels. The new one pulses with the beat of Greenwich Village where chance brings ill-assorted people together. Ralph Linderman, a middle-aged security guard, finds a wallet and takes it to its owner, artist Jack Sutherland who lives nearby with his wife Natalia and their small daughter. Meeting young Elsie Tyler, a waitress, Jack learns that Ralph harasses her continually, warning her away from "bad company.'' The girl's vivid beauty attracts Jack and bisexual Natalia, who team up with their bohemian friends and create a modeling career for Elsie, practically overnight. Trouble develops both from Ralph and from the girl's lesbian lovers, along with several curiously unrelated incidents that leave the reader vaguely unsatisfied. The story's intoxicating flavor and promise beg for a sounder structure than the ambiguous ending provides.