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Helen Clarvoe is 30 years old, an heiress, and a shut-in. She’s all alone, so when she starts getting unnerving phone calls from a stalker, she has no one to turn to—except her family’s attorney, Paul Blackshear. Helen’s relationship with her family itself is strained at best. She hasn’t seen her mother in ages, and her brother, who is gay, married and then left her former best friend.

Margaret Millar’s chilling story touches on themes of class, isolation, and sexual orientation while fleshing out each of its characters—and it ends with a bang. Set in 1950s Los Angeles and published in 1955, Beast in View blazed a trail, sagely predicting and masterfully deploying crime fiction tropes of the new millennium, from an unreliable narrator to its final plot twist. The novel won the 1956 Edgar Award for Best Novel and was adapted for the anthology TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Laura Zornosa

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