I went into this already familiar with Hitchcock’s film version of the same story. The opening premise of the film and HighSmith’s novel are the same. Two strangers meet on the train and discuss among other things, people in their lives: a Wife, a Father, who they would be better off without. One of these strangers, Charles Bruno, is an extremely well imagined sociopath, while the other, Guy, is a mild mannered architect whose role in this story I never entirely accept. Bruno murders Guy’s wife,
even though Guy never agreed to this plan. Now he is pressuring Guy to do his part and eliminate Bruno’s Father.
After this setup the film and the book are very different. The book delves into the conscience of Bruno and Guy and takes you into their heads. While at first interesting this became quite tedious.
Then again it could be that I simply preferred Hitchcock’s adaptation.