Strangers On A Train Summary

Patricia Highsmith

Strangers On A Train

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Strangers On A Train Summary

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Strangers on a Train (1950) is a psychological thriller by Patricia Highsmith, and tells the story of two men who trade murders. The novel has been adapted several times, including a 1951 film version directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Patricia Highsmith’s works are known for showing how regular people get forced by circumstances to commit crimes.

Guy Haines is a successful architect. He is married to Miriam, who has been unfaithful to him. He wants to get divorced. Guy now loves Anne Faulkner and wants to marry her.

Guy is reading his book while taking the train home to Metcalf to meet Miriam. He is also thinking of his lover, Anne. On the train, he meets and has dinner with Charles Anthony Bruno. Charles is a wealthy young man. He is also a psychopath and a playboy.

Over dinner, Charles gets drunk. Charles wishes his father was dead because he refuses to give him money. He convinces Guy that if Miriam were dead his problems would be solved. Charles tricks Guy into swapping murders. Charles will murder Miriam if Guy will murder Charles’ father. Both of the murders will be difficult to solve because there will be no apparent motive for the crimes. It will be a perfect crime.

Guy does not think that Charles is serious about his offer. Guy hopes he will never see the man again. Charles, however, is dead serious. He follows through on the plan. While Guy is traveling in Mexico, Charles murders Miriam. Charles managed to find Miriam at an amusement park in Metcalf and strangles her. This will lead to terrible consequences for both men.

Guy learns of Miriam’s murder in a phone call from his mother. Guy fears that Charles may be guilty. His fears are confirmed when Charles gets in touch with Guy through phone calls, letters, and cards. Not only did Charles commit murder, but he also threatens Guy. If Guy does not kill his father, Charles will go to the police. Charles will tell the police that Guy paid him to kill Miriam.

Guy does not know what to do. He feels trapped. There is no way out. If he turns Charles over to the police, Guy could still be considered an accomplice to murder. But if Guy does nothing, Charles will accuse him.

As the months pass, Guy does not turn Charles in. He also does not murder Charles’ father. He asks Anne to marry him. He tries to live a normal life.

Charles regularly appears in Guy’s life demanding that he fulfill his end of the bargain. Charles sends Guy a plan for the murder, a weapon and even a map of his father’s house. Charles threatens Guy by writing anonymous letters to Guy’s colleagues and friends.

Guy collapses under the pressure of his guilt and fear. He eventually fulfills his end of the bargain and murders Charles’ father. But his crime is not perfect. He leaves some of his torn gloves behind on a tree branch. He is also seen from a distance by one of the servants. His face and hands get scratched.

Guy now feels doubly guilty for two different murders. He is consumed by guilt. He despises Charles but is connected to him by a terrible bond. The psychopathic Charles, on the other hand, acts as if nothing has happened. He tries to spend time with Guy and causes a scene at Guy’s wedding to Anne by showing up uninvited.

During this time, the two murders are being investigated. Arthur Gerard, a private detective, believes that Charles is in some way guilty of his father’s murder. Detective Gerard discovers that Charles and Guy met on the train. After learning of their connection, the detective comes up with the theory that Charles murdered Miriam.

Guy moves to Canada with Anne. Anne becomes pregnant. Charles reappears in Guy’s life in Canada and the three of them go sailing. Charles had become a friend of Anne’s. As often happens, Charles gets drunk. In an accident, the drunk man falls overboard. Even though he hates him, Guy risks his own life and tries to rescue Charles. Despite the rescue attempt, Charles drowns.

The detective’s murder investigation dies along with Charles.

But life does not get better for Guy. He misses Charles. He is still racked by guilt over the murders.

Guy meets Miriam’s former lover, Owen. The meeting takes place in Guy’s hotel room. Guy confesses his involvement in the two murders. Miriam’s lover absolves Guy of the guilt. He feels that murder is an appropriate retribution for Miriam’s unfaithfulness. Without him knowing, Detective Gerard overhears Guy’s confession of guilt through a telephone that is off the hook under the bed. When Gerard confronts him, Guy turns himself in for the crimes.