01 February 2012

Margaret Millar and the Air Up North

An Air that Kills
Margaret Millar
New York: Random House, 1957
249 pages

This review now appears, revised and rewritten, in my new book:
The Dusty Bookcase:
A Journey Through Canada's
Forgotten, Neglected, and Suppressed Writing
Available at the very best bookstores and through


  1. Love Margaret Millar and she gets mentioned now and then on Fridays. I think some of her books rank with the best books in the genre. And she could write beautiful prose.

  2. Enjoyed the piece. Millar was the Agatha Christie of the "psychological suspense" novel, meaning that she had this impressive capacity to pull the rug out from under her readers. Her books to me fall under that category of "page-turners." One simply has to continue to find out what the twist will be. I am rather amazed most of her books are out of print.

  3. Agreed. The Margaret Millar novels I've read rank very high indeed. As far as I'm concerned, she's the finest mystery writer to come out of Canada. What often impresses is her use of dialogue. Here she sometimes reveals, but in subtle ways. Her conversations are natural, yet so very amusing. As readers we almost feel guilty for eavesdropping on intimate, titillating talk.

  4. Interesting review. I enjoyed this book, though I do prefer Beast in View, How Like an Angel and A Stranger in My Grave. She was a terrific, and very subtle, writer.