Highsmith is the undisputed master of the psychological thriller – it’s no surprise this was adapted into a film by Hitchcock. Two men meet on a train and decide that each will kill the other’s nemesis: with no motive, surely no one will suspect them?
Nicholls is a warm, humorous and excellent writer, particularly good on observations about relationships. This contemporary novel centres on a budget family holiday around Europe in the wake of a wife’s declaration that she is going to leave her husband.
First appearing in 1851 as a series of stories for a magazine, Gaskell’s poignant novel is set in a small town in the north of England, its residents afraid of the migrants and breakdown in law and order that they believe the railway from Manchester will bring.