Choose Your Highsmith: The Patricia Highsmith Recommendation Engine. It's simple enough to navigate, but in case there are any grandmothers among us requiring further instruction vis-a-vis sucking eggs, here's how it works. You click on the "Choose Your Highsmith" button at top left:
Then click through to choose a setting:
Hmm... I believe I'll go for a European locale in this instance, which presents me with these options:
I'm thinking France, which leads me here:
Choices, choices... I think I'd like to read about a shooting:
Um, yes, really...
And there you have it: the recommendation is my favourite Highsmith novel, Ripley's Game, which does indeed feature a shooting in France, towards the end of the book. Although it also features a shooting in Germany, and there doesn't appear to be a "shooting" option if you pick Germany earlier in the process. But no matter: The Patricia Highsmith Recommendation Engine is a diverting development both for Highsmith neophytes and for those of us who are more familiar with her work, and W. W. Norton have also included a short video on the site, which sees the likes of graphic novelist Alison Bechdel and Highsmith's biographer Joan Schenkar extolling the virtues of "the poet of apprehension" (as Graham Greene put it).
I'll have more on Patricia Highsmith in the not-too-distant future, notably a very special first edition of one of her short story collections. But next on Existential Ennui – and indeed on The Violent World of Parker blog – that promised Westlake Score...