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The Woman in the Fifth (Hutchinson, 2007)

© Philippe Matsas - Opale

Douglas Kennedy was born in Manhattan in 1955. In 1974 Douglas went to Trinity College, Dublin as a guest student. On graduating he returned to Dublin and started a co-operative theatre company with a friend. This led him to being hired to run the Abbey Theatre’s second house, The Peacock. It was as this time that he began to write.
At the age of 28 Douglas resigned from his job at the theatre to write full time. He acquired an agent, and was given a small advance to write a travel book, Beyond the Pyramids. Two more non-fiction titles and a novel followed. Then in the late eighties Douglas and his wife moved to London and The Big Picture was published to great acclaim and a career as a bestselling author was secured. Douglas’s books have been translated into sixteen different languages. In 2006 he received the French decoration of Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He lives in London and Paris with his wife and two children.

The author’s website
In french

Bibliography :

Novels :

  • The Woman in the Fifth (Hutchinson, 2007)
  • Temptation (Hutchinson, 2006)
  • State of the Union (Hutchinson, 2005)
  • In God’s Country (Abacus, 2004)
  • A Special Relationship (Hutchinson, 2003)
  • The Pursuit of Happiness (Hutchinson, 2001)
  • The Job (Time Warner Books, 1998)
  • The Big Picture (Wheeler Publishing, 1997)
  • The Dead Heart (Abacus, 1994)

Non-fiction :

  • Beyond the Pyramids : Travel in Egypt (Abacus, 1995)
  • Chasing Mammon : Travels in the Pursuit of Money (HarperCollins, 1992)
  • In God’s Country : Travels in the Bible Belt, USA (Unwin Pbs, 1989)

A summary of The Woman in the Fifth :

Harry Ricks is a man who has lost everything. A romantic mistake at the small American college where he used to teach has cost him his job, his marriage and his relationship with his only child. And when the ensuing scandal threatens to completely destroy him, he votes with his feet and flees... to Paris. He arrives in the French capital in the bleak midwinter, where a series of accidental encounters lands him in a grubby room in a grubby quarter, and a job as a nightwatchman for a sinister operation. Just when Harry begins to think that he has hit rock bottom, romance enters his life. Her name is Margit - an elegant, cultivated Hungarian emigre, long resident in Paris - widowed and, like Harry, alone. But though Harry is soon smitten with her, Margit keeps her distance. She will only see him at her apartment in the fifth arrondissement for a few hours twice a week, and remains guarded about her work, her past, her life. However, Harry’s frustrations with her reticence are soon overshadowed by a ever-growing preoccupation that a dark force is at work in his life - as punishment begins to be meted out to anyone who has recently done him wrong. Before he knows it, he finds himself of increasing interest to the police and waking up in a nightmare from which there is no easy escape.