This book changed my life, really, no kidding.
I read the novel in about 1989 or 1990. I do not remember where the book came from or what caused me to read it. I do remember I started reading it in mid-afternoon and really had trouble putting it down.
I have read reviews of it and most say something like that, "Can't put it down" type stuff. And it is true. I got PO'd when I had to start making dinner or when my then boyfriend tried talking to me. It was a real page turner alright. I was always an avid reader and read pretty quickly, plus it is not a huge novel, I could not put it down to go to sleep, no biggie, I would be a little tired for work the next day, I HAD to keep reading. About 3:30 in the morning I turned the last page, it was only half a page of print, I read it. WHAT? I double checked to make sure I did not accidentally turn two pages, I hadn't and the text had flowed from the previous page to that one so it wasn't missing anything. I THREW THE BOOK ACROSS THE ROOM! And almost killed my rubber tree in the process. It also woke up my boyfriend who yelled at me for throwing a book. "Why the hell did you do that?" he yelled/asked. I told him it because of the ending and I couldn't explain it right then picked up the plant and went to bed.
The next day my boy friend started reading it. I caught him and told him he didn't want to do that. But he was insistent and already hooked. Not to mention he wanted to see what I threw a fit about. Fine. Yeah, he was up all night reading it. And you know what? I was awoken when he threw the book across the room ( not at the plant). I did not yell, I just looked at him. He said, "I see what you mean." And he turned out the light and went to sleep. For all I know that book wound up I the trash even though that seems like sacrilege to me.
It took a bit to process what happened, but this is what I think: The author was churning out one of the best suspense stories of the 20th century and was running a little behind schedule. He needed just another day or two to wrap it all up nice. But he gets a call from his publisher that said "If it is not on my desk by tomorrow you need to pay back the advance we gave you." (Remember this was back before internet or even word processors.) So he quickly jots down a few closing lines and types it up to over-night it to the publishing company. Due to the preview samples no one bothers to read it to the end and they just printed it up and sent it out to the booksellers.
Some reviewer on Amazon calls it a "twist" at the end. I don't see the twist. The same reviewer even mentions the reader knows from the beginning who the murderer is. The only twist is from the investigating officers POV; he wasn't expecting it. He sat down on the step and cried. Okay.
How did this book change my life?
It is about 28 years later and I still cannot buy, or for that matter even read, a book of which I have not read the last page. Although, if I have read more that six books by the same author, or three in the same series, I might skip reading the last page until I am actually ready to read the entire book; I shop used book stores now so one gets what one can when it is available. It bothers me not that I know the ending as long as I don't have to go through the "Tuesday Blade ending syndrome" again.
I might wish it on an enemy, it depends on how much I really hate him or her.
The story was riveting and well written until the end--then it was messed up.
I can't believe it consistently gets great ratings. Does no one know what a good ending is? A "twist" or not the ending should be as well written as the rest.