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The Praying Mantises by Hubert Monteilhet
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The Praying Mantises

by Hubert Monteilhet

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Two would-be murderers get much more than they bargained for when their victim turns out to be anything but. This is a wicked, tersely-told story that starts out with the details surrounding a large insurance policy and goes on from there, spanning a period of around 30 years, with most of the events taking place in 1948-1950. The whole story is told through a series of letters, diary entries, tape recordings, newspaper articles, and the like, but we come to know the main characters pretty well. There is not much to admire about any of them, but their machinations do hold interest, and the twists and turns of the plot can't be completely anticipated, so the author has certainly done his job. There is a satisfying nastiness about it all--but it doesn't come close to achieving any sort of true page-turning greatness. ( )
  datrappert | Sep 28, 2011 |
I haven't read this for a long time, but I recall liking it a lot--enough to collect as much work by this author. ( )
  ErstwhileEditor | Jun 1, 2007 |
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