Still creepy after all these years

collectorPublished in 1963,  The Collector,  by John Fowles, gives readers one of the first, and still one of the best, psychological thrillers.  Frederick Clegg is a dull and colorless nobody whose only passion is for the butterflies he captures and mounts. That is, until he sees a beautiful girl. Miranda Grey, an art student, dazzling and full of life, becomes his obsession. With cold-blooded precision, Frederick follows her, stalking every movement until, with chloroform ready, he captures her.  He keeps her locked in a made-over cellar and tells her that he loves her and only wants her to love him. He doesn’t have anything “nasty” in mind, he tells her, but in fact he’s a psychopath and a deviant, hiding under a prudish, upright facade.  Told from Frederick’s point of view, then Miranda’s, it is a claustrophobic, chilling novel. Restrained in tone and execution, it will continue to haunt the reader.  The ending lets the reader know this is just the beginning.

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